My dissertation focuses on the persistence of national consciousness in postcolonial and contemporary British literatures. Theories of globalization after 1945 represent
nationalism and culture as mutually exclusive and absolute terms. These theories project a heterogeneous, decentered global culture that transcends insular national boundaries. In contrast, I
argue that contemporary literatures reconfigure nationalism as an ongoing negotiation between politics and culture, and emphasize the mutually constitutive relationship between transnational
flows and national formations instead of their binary opposition. My first chapter provides a theoretical framework using classical European theories of nationalism, postcolonial theory, and the
cultural criticism of Raymond Williams and the Frankfurt School. I argue that the older opposition of national identity against imperialism has shifted to a configuration of residual nationalism
(as political consciousness and cultural critique) against globalization. Chapter Two shows how Kazuo Ishiguro's novels The Remains of the Day and The Unconsoled reshape literary conventions of
Britishness, such as the "condition-of-England" narrative and the romance of the archive, by pushing these tropes of identity to their limit. Ishiguro illustrates how Britishness is commodified
and consumed by official multiculturalism and the burgeoning heritage industry. In Chapter Three I argue that Derek Walcott's poetry and essays challenge the dominant perspective of the
Caribbean as a postnational hybrid culture that exemplifies our globalized world. Through his representations of Caribbean and European figures who complement nationalism with culture in "The
Schooner Flight" and "The Fortunate Traveller," Walcott shows us how diasporic subjectivities are produced in conjunction with national consciousness rather than by opposing nationalism to
diaspora. In Chapter Four, I argue that the writing of Shirley Geok-lin Lim, who is regarded as both an Asian American and a Southeast Asian writer, interrogates state-sponsored national
allegories of globalization and multiculturalism by reconfiguring dominant concepts of race and nation. Lim focuses on the sensuality and particularity of women and literature to imagine an
alternative community of women that challenges and rethinks the nation without transcending it.
"Residual Nationalism and Postcolonial Anglophone Literatures"
English Theses and Dissertations.
Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.