After briefly reviewing how Shakespeare’s Caliban and Daniel Defoe’s Friday operate narratively, I demonstrate that Coetzee’s Friday in Foe (1986), in contradistinction to his literary predecessors, refuses normative protocols attached to language, music, dance, religion and, finally, sex. That is, by disavowing all forms of intercourse with white heteropatriarchy, Coetzee’s Friday averts his own erasure precisely by espousing a politics of castration. This castration, or refusal to be made intelligible and thereby appropriable to European interlocutors during the time of slavery, directs readerly scrutiny to the imperialist self-regard exemplified in Shakespeare’s Prospero and Defoe’s Crusoe. Distinct from the seeming critical consensus that dismisses Coetzee’s Friday as “the castrated mute,” I thus show that his castration produces a political alternative that commands recognition of the inconvenient, unsanitized history of the Atlantic slave trade.
12-1pm in 339 O'Shaughnessy
Robin, a PhD Candidate in the Department of English, is currently at work on a dissertation titled, "Castration Desire: Less as More in Global Anglophone Literature." His writing has appeared in Irish Studies Review, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies.
In order to advance the program’s commitment to inter-disciplinary research and inquiry into the subject of gender, the Gender Studies Program is pleased to announce an upcoming series of research workshops. The events will include presentations by advanced undergraduates majoring in Gender Studies as well as graduate students and faculty members from a variety of departments who work in the area of gender and sexuality. The workshop will begin with the week’s presenter giving a brief lecture on his or her current research in the field, followed by a seminar-style discussion.