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dc.contributor.advisor Pinn, Anthony
dc.creatorBakker, Justine Monique
dc.date.accessioned 2020-04-27T20:51:57Z
dc.date.available 2021-05-01T05:01:15Z
dc.date.created 2020-05
dc.date.issued 2020-04-24
dc.date.submitted May 2020
dc.identifier.citation Bakker, Justine Monique. "'The Vibrations Are Different Here:' Parareligious Stories in the African Diaspora." (2020) Diss., Rice University. https://hdl.handle.net/1911/108414.
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/108414
dc.description.abstract This dissertation draws upon the work of Sylvia Wynter to interrogate the ways in which (para)religion and (para)religious stories generate conceptualizations of being human. “Religion,” per Wynter, assumes, produces, and reinforces supposedly fixed, eternal, transcendental, or natural binaries. In the “modern West,” these binaries form(ed) the foundation of a dominant iteration of humanity—“Man”—which excludes racialized minorities but “overrepresents” itself as the human. This dissertation looks at Afrodiasporic poetry, literature, and visual art—specifically, M. NourbeSe Philip’s poem Zong! (2008), Fred D’Aguiar’s novel Feeding the Ghosts (1997), and select artworks by contemporary visual artist Ellen Gallagher, all of which are set in the Middle Passage—in which the binaries that ground “Man” are destabilized and challenged. From these works I develop the theory and concept of parareligion and make a case for the significance of parareligious stories, where the prefix para- names a perversion of binary thinking in and through “religion.” In wrestling with ontological and existential questions in a non-dichotomous manner, the works I study produce alternative formations of being human. Whereas “Man” is idealized as a rational, self-possessed, autonomous, and coherent subject, the works I look at speculate about ontological entanglements between human beings, nonhuman animals, and the more-than-human environment, thereby imagining being human as vulnerable and relational. I name the fictional formations within their works parahuman—a term I borrow from Monique Allewaert, although operationalize differently—with the explicit note that, in my project, parahuman does not name a category of being, but rather signals a moment of perversion and critique of “Man.” The works I study also generate a critique of the lack of engagement with race in certain posthumanisms, because they force us to ask what is at stake in moving “beyond the human” by turning towards nonhuman animals and matter when certain human beings remain excluded from “the human”/“Man.” Lastly, taking seriously that the works of Philip, D’Aguiar, and Gallagher utilize the symbolic and material qualities of the ocean, this dissertation argues that this unfixed, fluid, mobile and more-than-human locale forms a particularly fruitful terrain to stage interventions into “religion” and “the human.”
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subjectreligion/religious studies
black studies/black critical theory
posthumanism
blue humanities
Middle Passage
Sylvia Wynter
dc.title 'The Vibrations Are Different Here:' Parareligious Stories in the African Diaspora
dc.type Thesis
dc.date.updated 2020-04-27T20:51:57Z
dc.type.material Text
thesis.degree.department Religious Studies
thesis.degree.discipline Humanities
thesis.degree.grantor Rice University
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy
dc.embargo.terms 2021-05-01


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