Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The study provides a reformulation of culture as space. Building on Michel Certeau's theory of space and place, this study incorporates Karla Holloway's theory of historicity, memory, and metaphor - specifically, how these elements are formed and behave - W.E.B. Dubois's theory of double consciousness, Homi Bhabha's theory of the beyond and interstices, John Fiske's culture of everyday life, Bourdieu's idea of the habitus, Brett Williams' theory of texturing, and Edward Said's travel theory. These critical ideas are woven together to construct an operating construct of space, which allows for that culture to be a dynamic, fluid construction, represented in two genres of literature: English Renaissance Drama and Post Civil War African American fiction. Specifically, Ben Jonson's Volpone, William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Charles Chesnutt's The Conjure Woman, and Zora Neale Hurston's The Complete Stories are analyzed to show how the study's construct of culture as space is a powerful lens for reading the effects of literature on shaping social conscience, regardless of social and historical time. Additionally, the study demonstrates the universality of its critical frame by reading these African diasporic texts: Christine Craig's Mint Tea, Toni Morrison's Beloved, Bessie Head's Serowe, Ntozake Shange's Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo, and Ama Ato Aidoo's The Dilemma of a Ghost and Anowa. Finally, analysis of Chester Himes' If He Hollers Let Him Go gives insight into the dialogue between Bakhtin's carnival with the study's construct of space. These readings reveal the necessity in literary studies for new ways of engaging in cross-cultural literary analysis and illustrates through these authors' use of ancestry, myth, humor, and folklore, that human conditions and themes manifest themselves in all cultures.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Angeletta Gourdine