The spectral being of whiteness : exploring the presence of under-examined whiteness through the work of Clarice Lispector

Swanepoel, Zane (2020-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The lack of critical examination of whiteness and white racial identity in the work of Clarice Lispector (1920 – 1977) is reflective of a larger social and scholarly issue in Brazil and in English scholarship globally, in which whiteness is maintained as hegemony through maintaining the invisibility of whiteness. The presence of under-examined whiteness in Lispector’s work is most notably highlighted in Lucia Villares’ 2011 book entitled Examining Whiteness: Reading Clarice Lispector through the Work of Bessie Head and Toni Morrison, and is a key text in the development of this thesis. The universalisation of Lispector as a writer for [white] humanity is a conflation of the tendency of whiteness to maintain its unracialized social category through universalizing techniques found in religion, in writing and narrative authority, and through consumer capitalism. Brazil’s racial democracy enforced a silence on race and racism that allowed for the entrenchment of institutionalized racism through the negation of race, a negation that is dualistically intertwined in the ‘hyperconsciousness of race’ (Vargas, 2004). This thesis seeks to investigate some of these moments of under-examined whiteness in Lispector’s work, and in so doing, will attempt to highlight the mechanisms (namely through religion, narrative power, and capitalism) which allow for the maintenance of the hegemony of whiteness and its reach of power.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die gebrek aan kritiese ondersoek na witheid en wit rasse-identiteit in die werk van Clarice Lispector (1920 - 1977) weerspieël 'n groter sosiale en wetenskaplike vraagstuk in Brasilië en in die Engelse wetenskap wêreldwyd, waarin witheid as hegemonie gehandhaaf word deur die onsigbaarheid van witheid te handhaaf. Die beperkte aanwesigheid van ondersoekde witheid in Lispector se werk word veral beklemtoon in Lucia Villares se boek uit 2011 getiteld Examining Whiteness: Reading Clarice Lispector through the Work of Bessie Head and Toni Morrison, en is 'n sleutelteks in die ontwikkeling van hierdie proefskrif. Die veralgemening van Lispector as 'n skrywer vir die [blanke] mensdom is 'n samevoeging van die neiging van witheid om sy onge-rassialiseerde sosiale kategorie te handhaaf deur middel van veralgemeningstegnieke wat gevind word in godsdiens, skriftelike en narratiewe gesag ,en deur verbruikerskapitalisme. Brasilië se rassedemokrasie het 'n stilte oor ras en rassisme afgedwing wat die verskansing van geïnstitusionaliseerde rassisme moontlik gemaak het deur die ontkenning van ras, 'n ontkenning wat dualisties verweef is in die 'oorbewustheid van ras' (Vargas, 2004). Hierdie tesis poog om enkele van hierdie oomblikke van beperkte aanwesigheid van ondersoekde witheid in Lispector se werk te ondersoek, en sal sodoende probeer om die meganismes (naamlik deur godsdiens, verhalende mag en kapitalisme) uit te lig wat die handhawing van die hegemonie van witheid moontlik maak en sy reikwydte van mag.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109154
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