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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52818
Doc. No:TL22772
Call number:‭3320847‬
Main Entry:Dolace McLean
Title & Author:Postcolonial possessions: Place, space and the discourse of property in Caribbean literatureDolace McLean
College:New York University
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:298
Abstract:This dissertation investigates the creation of identity in Caribbean literature as that creation is shaped by property law principles. The strict legal construction of property is that it is "a bundle of rights" (right to use, possess, dispose, alienate, etc) and I examine how it is that various characters in Caribbean literary texts acquire that bundle in whole or in part. The dissertation argues that Caribbean characters acquire property rights in self and land through specific legal methods such as purchase, emancipation, adverse possession, inheritance, occupancy or cultural property claims (i.e., through historio-cultural connections to a specific Caribbean space). The dissertation's successive chapters examine different kinds of property law to determine how property rights shape characters' relationships to land, space and place. Examining V.S. Naipaul's A House For Mr. Biswas , Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea , Simone Schwarz-Bart's Bridge of Beyond , Esmeralda Santiago's When I Was Puerto Rican , Paul Marshall's Chosen Place, Timeless People and Pablo Medina's The Return of Felix Nogara , this dissertation demonstrates how characters acquire property rights and are liberated and empowered to act in personally and culturally meaningful ways. This liberation and empowerment operate as a postcolonial revision of property law because, ultimately, having property rights in Caribbean land/space contributes to a sense of agency in formulating Caribbean identity tied to the geography of the region and, perhaps, beyond. As I analyze these six Caribbean literary texts in English, I utilize an interdisciplinary approach that includes postcolonial theory and property law, with occasional references to feminism and critical race theory. I argue that property is one way to assert colonial authority by manipulating power over land/space through rules of law. While colonial powers used European laws of property to legitimate claims of title to Caribbean lands, Caribbean people used their communal values to subvert those claims and usurp colonial legal authority. It is against such an interplay of cultural forces that the property claims in these texts provide an imaginative freedom where the legal language of property is reconfigured as the literary recovery of place for those whose identity is tied to the Caribbean.
Subject:Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Caribbean literature; Property law; Postcolonial studies; Postcolonial; Place; Caribbean; Law; 0398:Law; 0360:Caribbean literature
Added Entry:T. J. Reiss
Added Entry:New York University