Pariahs, Tricksters, and the Subversion of Modernity: The Decolonial Borderland Narratives of Cormac McCarthy and Eduardo Antonio Parra.
Mexica, Cuauhtémoc Thelonious
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This dissertation analyzes how decolonial borderland narratives unveil the rhetoric and promises of modernity. In particular, how they reject Western ideals of progress, development, and civilization, while also conveying their own ways of being and independent thought in acts of epistemic disobedience and delinking. The escalating violence and ecological contamination along the US-Mexican borderlands requires urgent attention from scholars, including literary critics, especially from a transnational perspective. While an important body of literary criticism has emerged from each side of the national divide, very few critics have attempted comparative studies bridging the two languages, cultures, and worldviews. My literary and cinematic research on the U.S.-Mexican borderlands seeks to understand violence, social instability and environmental crises across the region, in relation to imaginings of the nation, modernity and identity. By studying texts written by Mexican, Latina/o and U.S. Anglo writers, we can understand the--often-creative--antagonisms between these social actors (Anglo/Spanish/Indigenous, U.S./Mexican, Latina/o s, etc.), in response to the historical legacy of conquest and cycles of colonization. I examine these contested narratives through my developing idea of decolonial borderland narratives, which draws from Walter Mignolo's decolonial theories that critique the logic of coloniality and the rhetoric of modernity. The chapters of my dissertation move from questions of theory and methodology in borderland narratives, specifically the works of Cormac McCarthy and Eduardo Antonio Parra, to diverse readings of migration, violence and criminality, in relation to epistemic disobedience, gender, and ecology.