The retina blues : invisibility and cultural visibility

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dc.contributor.advisor White, Patricia S. en_US Allen, Joseph J. en_US
dc.coverage.spatial n-us--- en_US 2011-06-03T19:22:28Z 2011-06-03T19:22:28Z 1995 en_US 1995
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 1995 .A4 en_US
dc.description.abstract My text formulates a theory of postmodern invisibility while examining the condition of cultural invisibility. As I track strategies of position and space in contemporary American literature and music, I propose a tactic for attaining cultural visibility that draws from Jean Baudrillard's notion of the-more-visible-than-the-visible, postmodern aesthetics and the cultural metaphor of the optics of the vision system.In our technoculture, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and his narrator's choice of an invisible identity, though wonderfully evocative, is no longer a viable solution to the dilemma of cultural invisibility. Later contemporary American fiction, especially Don DeLillo's White Noise, offers a strategy that oscillates between invisibility and visibility and is ineffective in curing cultural invisibility. My project centers on Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony and her representation of a storytelling ceremony that can cure the problem of cultural invisibility. Silko proposes a narrative mode capable of representing and accomplishing cultural work by reversing the flow of culture. Nathaniel Mackey's jazz-inspired fiction, Dibot Baghostus's Run (1993), expands Silko's magical blueprint by employing a culturally dense, hyper-visible narrative mode.Like Silko and Mackey, cultural theorist Trinh Minh-ha, anthropologist Michael Taussig, and sociologist Stephen Pfohl employ the more-visible-than-the-visible composition strategy of collage. Their writings, as well as the aesthetic of hiphop, serve as a model for my text because in collage, there is room for disorientation, noise, local elements, plurality, recomposition, hyper-visibility, and the sampling of crosscultural artifacts and debris. Experiencing a montage can shock sensory perceptions into novel paradigms of representation and, as Silko and Mackey hope, bring about a meaningful cultural visibility.For Minh-ha, Silko, and Mackey, stories and other cultural artifacts circulate freely like gifts. The pleasure is in transmitting, circulating, and retransmitting the story: the pleasure of making the story more-than-visible. Then the story functions, as Minh-ha states, "as a cure and a protection [that] is at once musical, historical, poetical, ethical, educational, magical." While my text strives to represent several of these elements, my theory of postmodern invisibility reflects and transmits a narrative mode that is capable of curing the problem of cultural invisibility. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of English
dc.format.extent iii, 321 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Vision in literature. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Identity (Psychology) in literature. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Popular music -- United States -- 1991-2000. en_US
dc.title The retina blues : invisibility and cultural visibility en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3120]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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