Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The Fooding of Narrative in Contemporary Women’s Transnational Fiction examines how foodstuffs are strategically deployed in recent fiction about migration to the United States. The novels examined, all set in the period following the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, depict the experience of resettlement from a diverse set of postcolonial sites: Haiti, Cuba, Vietnam, and India. The Fooding of Narrative argues that food is deployed as a structuring trope and acquires narrative significance in articulating the profound sense of identity crisis that frequently accompanies the immigration experience. By focusing on food’s narrative significance in a broad sense, rather than solely emphasize what characters consume, this dissertation also attends to the how, when, where, and why of characters’ interactions with foodstuffs. In chapters that traces food’s movements—from food production in the sugarcane fields of Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory to consumerism in the suburban grocery store of Anita Desai’s Fasting, Feasting—this dissertation explores how the movement and circulation of food not only crosses borders, but it also metonymically helps to express an array of immigrant experiences. These experiences range from political exile to studying abroad. Ultimately, Fooding offers an innovative reading of food—a reading that goes beyond merely aesthetic and physical nourishment—in order to examine the pervasive language of food used to narrate transnational migration at the turn of the millennium.



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Committee Chair

Rastogi, Pallavi



Available for download on Sunday, February 23, 2025