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Type: Theses
Title: Cloud village: a novel
Author: Binder, Leila
Issue Date: 2014
School/Discipline: School of Humanities
Abstract: This thesis examines the moments in which the differences between cultures create new systems of meaning, the moments in which people reinvent themselves and their values, and in which a new language or expression is created. James Clifford calls these moments “Ethnographic Surrealism”, particularly when ethnography provides a critical distance from one’s own culture in order to subvert its assumptions. The creative part of this thesis may be seen as a work of ethnographic surrealism, because it places its main characters, a North American family, on a commune in an isolated mountain in Colombia where their cultural assumptions are denaturalised. Their endeavour is what Mary Louise Pratt called an “anti-conquest”. Instead of wishing to convert others, they wish to be converted by the local tribe. The family is unaware that they survey others with “imperial eyes”. This exegesis focuses specifically on the New World Baroque, an exuberant and inclusive style appropriate to a mestizo culture. It first discusses the Latin American neo-baroque, later expanding the category to certain North American works. Then it looks at the genre of magical realism as a subcategory of the neo-baroque. It uses Clifford’s conception of Ethnographic Surrealism’s juncture between cultures and the notion of a magical realist clash of paradigms to examine fiction about the Other, in particular The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier (the story of an anti-conquest) and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez. It examines moments of ethnographically surrealist collage in which images of the culturally familiar and the strange are juxtaposed. Then it discusses North American works which contain an inclusive baroque spirit: the work of Henry Miller and the invented worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin. Ethnographic surrealism shares with the neo-baroque a sense of inclusiveness, proliferation, expansiveness and syncretism.
Advisor: Castro, Brian
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2014.
Keywords: creative writing
Ethnographic Surrealism
New World Baroque
ethno graphic novel
magical realism
utopian fiction
Garcia Marquez
Henry Miller
Alejo Carpentier
Ursula K. Le Guin
Provenance: Electronic and print copy currently under embargo
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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