Masters Degrees (English)

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    Thinking through postcolonial climate justice with Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Joubert, Isabelle Elena; Jones, Megan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood is a much-studied, pioneering work of climate fiction. It is celebrated for its exploration of the place of the human within the web of life, its critique of neoliberal capitalism, and its navigation of horrific climate disasters. However, in all the work produced around the trilogy, there is little that considers the implications of the series for the postcolony.
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    Contested identities : Belhar, Elsies River and Mitchell’s Plain community ideas of queer ‘Colouredness’
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Lunde, Kerenza; Sanger, Nadia; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY : While queer studies in Africa have risen in contemporary projects of identity, the homogenising of queerness has resulted in the failure to capture the multiplicity of subjective experiences of queer-identifying persons of colour. The consolidation of persons of colour through the utilisation of the term ‘black’ to refer to the various non-white communities of South Africa has become a popular topic of investigation by queer studies scholarship in Africa. The issues that have risen from this homogenising approach to the queer experiences of persons of colour neglect to honour the multi-cultural and particular realities of the various black communities through consolidating the communities under the broad identifier ‘black’. The term ‘queer’ has been reduced to an alternate reference for persons who practice same-sex sexualities. This research project aims to foreground a subjective portrayal of queer South Africans through a case study of coloured persons who reside in Belhar, Elsies River, and Mitchell’s Plain in the Western Cape, South Africa. This is done to emphasise the lived realities of queer-coloured persons and to highlight how coloured communities’ perceptions are influenced by their historic socio-economic positioning. This thesis queries coloured as a racial identity and broadens the connotation of queer beyond gender and sexuality. This is executed by embarking on an exploration into queer experiences in coloured communities and has been accomplished through the braiding of personal narratives provided by a primary text, which is a transcript of a focus group discussion conducted with six queer-and-coloured identifying participants, and the secondary literary memoirs, Kelly-Eve Koopman’s Because I Couldn’t kill you (2019) and Yusuf Daniels’ Living Coloured (Because Black and White Were Already Taken) (2019). These personal narratives highlight that specific coloured communities hold an uneven tolerance towards sexualities which contradicts their heteronormative standard. The communal practice of codes of silence, and verbal and emotional abuse of queer persons, exemplify the dehumanising projects that promote coloured communities’ negative perceptions of queer persons.
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    From Solastalgia to Soliphilia : reimagining home in the Anthropocene in Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, Paul Schrader’s First Reformed and Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Vosloo, Robert Roux; Green, Louise; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this thesis, I aim to study the relationship between home environments and solastalgia during the Anthropocene. I shall argue that it is fruitful to interpret this relationship through the medium of cinema, and through the lens of eco-film criticism in particular. I have selected three significant films to work with for the sake of my argument. These are Darren Aronofsky’s 2017 film mother!, Paul Schrader’s 2017 film First Reformed and Wanuri Kahiu’s 2009 short film Pumzi. One consequence of the Anthropocene is the increasing rate of climate change, which poses a direct threat to Earth as a home environment. “Solastalgia” is a term coined by Glenn Albrecht, Professor of Sustainability at Murdoch University in Australia, and retired Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. Solastalgia refers to the psychic condition a person suffers from when their home environment is under immediate threat. The Anthropocene, in this case, refers to the idea of a geological epoch in which humanity controls, moves and converts resources more than any other group or force on Earth. The scale of this resource manipulation can be comprehended when considering the fact that the human-made materials on Earth now weigh more than the matter untouched by humanity. I argue that each film achieves a unique effect via its use of filmic techniques. In mother!, this technique relates to the aesthetics of disaster and desolation, as well as to Cara Nine’s reading of home in her article “The Wrong of Displacement: The Home as Extended Mind.” In the chapter on First Reformed , I examine Schrader’s use of transcendental style and the way it links to the powerlessness that solastalgia leads to for different characters. In the chapter on Pumzi, the director’s depiction of action-based approaches and its relation to Albrecht’s concept of soliphilia (love for the maintenance and reparation of home spaces) will be addressed. This will be done in relation to Kenyan environmental activist, Wangari Maathai’s ideas surrounding the “Green Belt Movement.” All of this will be done to envision possible ways of exiting the Anthropocene and entering a new era, referred to by Albrecht as the “Symbiocene” – an age that emphasizes the interconnectedness of nature and culture.
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    On words and wounds : intergenerational trauma and identity in selected Shoah and apartheid memoirs
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Alhadeff, Lara; Van der Rede, Lauren; Steiner, Tina; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Following the trauma of the Shoah, many survivors took to writing their experiences in memoir. The trauma memoir, a term defined in the body of this thesis, became a significant space to share real world experiences of a genocide that shocked the world. Trauma is continuous, it lives on through the repetitive behaviours of the survivor, a concept that Sigmund Freud conceptualizes as the “compulsion to repeat” (XVII 1920–1922 19). These enduring expressions of trauma made space for a new kind of Shoah memoir; the memoir written by the child of the survivor. These memoirs opened a space to unpack the symptoms of intergenerational trauma. Samuel Juni explains, in his discussion of intergenerational trauma, that following the Shoah, many survivors “adopted various coping strategies” “to maintain a functional life” (99). However, given the severity of their experiences, many of these strategies “engendered significant negative repercussions in the children they raised,” labelling these children as survivors in their own right (99). Following the dismantling of apartheid South Africa, just 28 years ago, the effects of intergenerational trauma are still unfolding. This thesis argues that the severity of violence, economic and social devastation and exclusion, and the persecution of Black people under the apartheid government, constitutes an intersection with Raphael Lemkin’s nuanced definition of genocide, in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation – Analysis of Government – Proposals for Redress. By drawing on four selected memoirs from these two historical events, this thesis aims to analyse how these works narrate the complexities of intergenerational trauma through idiosyncratic and personal experiences. On Words and Wounds: Intergenerational Trauma and Identity in Selected Shoah and Apartheid Memoirs considers the intersection of literature and psychoanalysis in the trauma memoir. This thesis considers the representation of intergenerational trauma and its effects on identity in the following four memoirs: Art Spiegelman’s The Complete Maus, Mark Kurzem’s The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father’s Nazi Boyhood, Lukhanyo and Abigail Calata’s My Father Died for This, and Kelly-Eve Koopman’s Because I Couldn’t Kill You. The narratives utilise language to emulate the affective dimensions of trauma through the representations of the traumatised psyche. As Roger J. Kurtz suggests, in Trauma and Transformation in African Literature, “literature shares a language with trauma in a way that other discourses do not” (7). Accordingly, literary devices, such as a fragmented narrative structure, metaphor, and narrative voice, can be used to symbolize the traumatised psyche. This thesis aims to add to the ongoing conversations concerned with the theoretical frameworks pertaining to literary trauma theory and intergenerational trauma, and the four selected memoirs.
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    Origins, endings and the posthuman imperative in Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic fiction
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-03) Kershaw, Andre James Daniel; De Villiers, Dawid; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this thesis, I undertake an analysis of five primary texts in the post-apocalyptic and dystopian genres, namely: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Drawing chiefly upon Frank Kermode’s work in The Sense of an Ending, in which he argues that imaginings of origin and end are crucial for conferring intelligibility upon being “in the middest” (8), I show how the confrontation of a particular kind of end point characterised by the proleptic spectre of the posthuman, invoked by texts within the post-apocalyptic and dystopian genres, generates what I call a posthuman imperative to reinterpretation. This imperative is implicitly invoked by a text insofar as it raises or gestures towards the possibility of the posthuman and demands that the reader reorientate themselves, in the middest, in relation to this horizon. The process of reinterpretation of being-in-themiddest which occurs in response to the posthuman imperative, drawing upon narratives of origin and end, is primarily mediated through language and story. This process has implications for frameworks of meaning, value, ethics, truth, the self, and relation to the transcendent as well as to time and history. My analysis draws out a number of generative paradoxes which arise when attempting to write and read the possibility of the posthuman. To do so depends upon language, and yet language is brought into confrontation with its own limits as the limits of the human are approached. Further, while the posthuman imperative to reinterpretation is only generated in the face of the end, and an end in some sense is an essential precondition for the narrative concord of existence to which this process of reinterpretation is directed, the end is ultimately also that which threatens to undermine the possibility of narrative as such.