Volume XII


Dr. Abigail Alexander, Kennesaw State University

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Frontières et survie en Indochine française : une lecture queer de L’amant de Marguerite Duras

Emily Jackson, Texas Christian University

This paper focuses on a critical reading of Marguerite Duras’s L’Amant (The Lover) that centers around female agency and sexuality to provide a queering, feminist rereading of the autofictional work through the lenses of queer, postcolonial, and gender studies. The crux of the paper centers on the way that the protagonist, Marguerite Donnadieu, uses her queer sexuality as a form of resilience to survive and regain agency in a society that marginalizes her. It also interrogates the interwoven identities of race, gender, and socioeconomic class in colonial French Indochina that Marguerite must navigate as a poor, white, female adolescent in a sexual relationship with a wealthy Asian man. This analysis is realized via a theoretical framework that itself becomes intersectional through its unique, cross-disciplinary application of and engagement with supplementary analyses of colonial racial and gender dynamics, homosociality, and feminist visual theory.

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Existencia y legitimización en “Jornada de la soltera” de Rosario Castellanos

Andrej Gregus, University of Edinburgh

I undertake a close reading of Rosario Castellanos’s poem “Jornada de la soltera” in which I highlight the positive performative contribution the poem makes towards legitimizing the existence of its socially-discounted subject. The poem captures the painful quotidian reality of an unmarried woman (soltera) living in a patriarchal society, a woman who defies the entrenched social expectations of marriage and childbirth. I inspect the nuances of her situation both as they are portrayed by Castellanos as well as through the lens of classical and contemporary feminist and psychoanalytic theory (alongside Freud, de Beauvoir, and Kristeva). Despite the direness of the soltera’s predicament, I ultimately argue that there is a glimmer of hope latent in the poem. By registering the soltera — by taking note of her situation and her person — Castellanos bestows recognition, visibility, and dignity on the soltera, validating the status of someone whose existence had been overlooked and nullified for far too long.

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Les femmes noires sur la terre : Simone Schwarz-Bart et la Négritude

Rose Poku, Smith College

This essay explores a trope that compares Black women to nature as utilized by male authors during the Négritude movement. Known chiefly for its literary impact, Négritude was a Francophone movement that began in the 1930s and worked to promote Black pride throughout the African diaspora. Though Négritude authors, such as Senegalese poet and politician Léopold Sédar Senghor, often employed this metaphor with the intention of exalting Black women, this essay argues that comparing Black women to the land is instead reductive and dehumanizing. Particularly in an African or Caribbean context where land is violated by colonizers, comparing Black women to land renders them passive and dependent on others for protection. Likening Black women to land can also position Black women as wholly responsible for the representation and guardianship of a community. Though different from viewing Black women as helpless and inanimate, this burden of representation is similarly dehumanizing since being regarded as more than human can be a form of dehumanization. This essay subsequently situates the novel Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle, written by Guadeloupean author Simone Schwarz-Bart in 1972, as a literary reclamation of Black womanhood in Francophone literature. In her novel, Schwarz-Bart subverts the Négritude trope of woman as land by demonstrating that although Black women can cultivate land, they cannot be reduced to the passive, non-human land itself. Through its complex and powerful Black women characters, Schwarz-Bart’s text expands notions of Négritude by including Black women’s agency and autonomy, thereby demonstrating Black women’s inherent humanity. 

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Il canto a tenore e l’invenzione della “nazione” sarda

Kristina Lazdauskas, Fordham University

Canto a tenore, a genre of multipart song for four male voices characterized by a unique, guttural timbre, represents a treasured musical tradition of the Italian region of Sardinia. Yet, the tradition has been fragmented across Sardinian villages, and it has no true standard form save for general musical characteristics. As a result, the identification of canto a tenore as emblematic of the so-called “nazione sarda” (Sardinian nation) has been called into question. While its shared traits have united the region against common political and cultural threats, musical and linguistic differences distinguish one village’s canto a tenore tradition from the next. There emerges a divide between canto a tenore’s power to bolster regional nationalism, which unites the island as a whole, and local nationalism, which unites the members of individual villages. This study of canto a tenore will explore how the tradition has fostered nationalism at both levels and examine how this balance unsettles the notion that canto a tenore represents the supposed nazione sarda.

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Ling O’Donoghue, St. Olaf College

This essay attempts to discuss the causes and effects of left-behind children in Chinese society. Throughout the essay, I argue that the reasons leading to left-behind children are the following: the wealth gap, China’s unique household registration or hùkǒu system that divides rural and urban areas, and the traditional conceptualization of the traditional parental impulse to better their children’s lives. China’s urbanization further exacerbates the wealth gap between the poor and rich. Differences in educational opportunities illuminate the distinction between access to resources available to rural and urban. The matriculation rates of Chinese urban high school graduates attending university are far higher than they are for their rural high school counterparts. Moreover, China’s hùkǒu system not only serves to worsen the wealth gap, but it also restricts population’s mobility. Despite these restrictions, rural parents frequently believe working in the city will help aid their children’s futures. Their sense of parental responsibility motivates them to move to the city in hopes of earning enough money to provide a better life for their children. Their dream is to allow their children to one day attend a city school to earn a better education.

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La latinidad y la identidad brasileña: Lo brasileño, lo latino, y la disparidad entre los mundos de español y portugués en los Estados Unidos

Stephanie Holden, Tulane University

When speaking of Latinidad and panethnicity in the United States, the concept of Latinx always involves the Spanish language. The word "Latino," however, refers to all the people who live in Latin America, including Brazilians who speak Portuguese. In everyday life and on administrative forms, however, the words "Latino" and "Hispanic" are used interchangeably; the U.S. Census defines both terms “as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin” (“2020 Census Results”). Because Brazilians in the U.S. are largely Portuguese-speaking South American immigrants, Brazilian-Americans find themselves at a crossroads of historical, cultural, and linguistic parallels and incongruities from the existing Latino population. In an academic context, Latin American Studies is often separated into Hispanic Studies and Lusophone or Brazilian Studies. However, in terms of administrative representation, Brazilians must identify either as “Hispanic or Latino” or “not Hispanic or Latino”. This paper will investigate whether Brazilian identities align with how Latino identities are conceptualized in the U.S. with recourse to examples based on economic contribution, religion, and sense of community.

To explore this issue of the Latino identity of Brazilians in the United States, this study will compare the experiences and values ​​of Hispanics with those of Brazilians in the United States. The population it will focus on is in Massachusetts, where there is both a very large Brazilian community and a large variety of Latinos of other origins. It will evaluate the similarities and differences between cultural values, language, and socioeconomic and racial identities of the two groups. The isolation of Brazilian-Americans from the rest of the Latino community in the United States will help to examine a story that seeks a balance between unity and distinction.

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Comment le motif de la dévotion dans le récit « Un cœur simple » conduit-il à la disparition et la sainteté de Félicité ?

Malaena Caldwell, Oakland University

In Gustave Flaubert’s « Un cœur simple » the significance of the parrot Loulou sparks great scholar interest. The parrot’s purpose can be seen as dependent upon the other characters that surround him. Many argue that the parrot symbolizes the Holy Spirit that leads to Félicité’s transcendence following her loss of Théodore and Victor, who represent the Father and the Son, respectively. But Flaubert’s irony and vivid imagery prepare the reader for Loulou to represent more than the traditional understanding of the Holy Spirit. To this end, this paper focuses on how Félicité is able to distinguish Loulou from the Holy Spirit by highlighting how complete devotion is a common theme in all of her relationships. The impact of her other relationships before the introduction of Loulou in the story leads to consideration of Loulou’s function in the story. Félicité’s ascendance occurs because of her complete devotion to the bird, not because Loulou signifies a religious allegory. This paper argues that Loulou is a separate entity and completes his own cycle of devotion, thereby embodying the ironic tone towards religion which is present throughout Flaubert’s novels. Working backwards, analyzing each relationship as it is presented in the story, this paper demonstrates how the motif of piousness that Félicité displays in every relationship not only pushes her to her death, but also to her own holiness in the end. 

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Le Sacre : Évolution diachronique et diastratique

Marie-Pierre Houle, University of Calgary

This paper proposes an overview of the use of sacres, québécois swear words, from the first studies to recent theses on the matter. First, the origins of the linguistic phenomenon as well as semantic considerations surrounding the use of the term sacre are detailed in an introductory passage. Drawing from experts’ theories on the many elements of this linguistic phenomenon, the second portion of this paper argues that sacres are used by native speakers not only to convey emphasis and intensity but also as a marker of shared and evolving linguistic identities. 

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