Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type




This dissertation undertakes a reexamination of cosmopolitanism through an ethical and phenomenological lens. It explores the convergence of ethics, philosophy, and literature in the reinterpretation of the shared space of cosmopolitanism by employing the phenomenological concept of the il y a (there is) as a representation of the anonymity of existence. This theory of cosmopolitanism is examined in the context of, and in the conversation between, the French philosophical texts of Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot, Jean-Luc Nancy and the Persian Mystic figure Rumi, modern Persian writers Sadegh Hedayat and Reza Ghasemi, French novelist Patrick Modiano, and American writer Paul Auster. The notion of anonymity is depicted as a rupture in communication between the self and the world during moments when an event takes place and it is inscribed in the writing space, transforming it into a space of exilic memory. It demonstrates how memory and exile, as post-event phenomena, situate individuals within the cosmopolitan space. Memory serves as an attempt to reclaim the past, leading to an ungrounding of consciousness and a disruption of temporal unity. Exile, on the other hand, emerges as an endeavor to reclaim a sense of home, entwined with the experience of rupture. Exile embodies a fundamental emptiness or surplus that illustrates our inability to reintegrate with our conceptualized notion of home, thus engendering spatial anonymity. Furthermore, this cosmopolitan perspective encompasses a novel reevaluation of minor literatures and their relationship to canonical texts of World Literature, in terms of anonymity as the cosmopolitan space.



Committee Chair

Raffoul, Francois

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