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“Are We What We Eat?” Negotiating Identities Through Cuisine and Consumption: A Thing Theory Approach to Alison Wong’s As The Earth Turns Silver
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

Culinary narratives are frequently employed to portray migrant identities and societies in Asian diaspora literature This thesis examines cuisine and consumption in Alison Wong’s As The Earth Turns Silver by highlighting the socio-political linkages between material culture and ethnic identity formation of Chinese migrants in New Zealand. Using Brown’s thing theory, food is reframed as site of meaningful discourse to interrogate the role of cuisine and consumption in mediating the migrant experience. It demonstrates the material and cultural importance of food in facilitating ethnic and political identification, transcultural exchange, and independence for frequently oppressed migrant individuals in diaspora literature.  Conversely, food functions as vectors of aggression in racialising the ethnic other by communicating artificial notions of morality, national identity, and purity to reinforce the hegemony. Additionally, culinary objects facilitate how characters articulate their dislocation and fragmentation as hybrid individuals. Finally, I undertake a craft analysis of Wong’s novel by drawing connections between Wong’s hybridity and her narrative design. I use thing theory to demonstrate how characters use culinary objects to negotiate hybridity while the application of transference technique reveals the way material objects are embedded with abstract emotions to communicate writer and character ethnic subjectivity. Findings from the critical analysis are applied to my short story collection Raw. Thing theory provides the theoretical framework for the practical application of transference in my creative thesis, demonstrating its efficacy in improving craft. The creative thesis demonstrates the applicability of theory in creative practice. Finally, it offers an analytical framework for contextualising food as a site of discourse for hybridized identity politics in diaspora literary criticism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 38
Keywords [en]
Thing Theory; Materiality; Food; Objects; Cuisine; Consumption; Culinary Narrative; Diaspora; Transcultural; Hybridity; Intersectionality; Transference; Craft; Creative Writing
National Category
Literary Composition
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157507OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-157507DiVA, id: diva2:1221778
Presentation
2018-05-29, E890, 8th Floor E House, Södra Husen, Stockholm University, S-106 91, Stockholm, 14:57 (English)
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Examiners
Available from: 2018-09-11 Created: 2018-06-20 Last updated: 2018-09-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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