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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

Shooting Blanks: The Decline of the British Empire, The Remains of the Day, and (un)Reproductive Futurity

This paper is one of a pair that focuses on the interplay between nationality, imperialism, and sexual politics. Using recent post-colonial and queer theory as a jumping off point, the paper examines late twentieth century British post-modern texts (in particular Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day) to inquire into who constitutes the role of colonizer; how contemporary rhetorics of reproduction define and complicate the identity of the colonizer; and what the real world implications of these definitions might entail. The paper also addresses how the historical events surrounding the novel (in this case, the Suez crisis of 1956) play crucial roles in determining these national and political boundaries. Using Lee Edelman’s theory of Reproductive Futurity as a critical approach, the paper attempts to determine whether Reproductive Futurity is obtained or denied in Ishiguro’s work.

Presenter: Mary Vanderzell (Graduate Student)
Topic: English
Location: 33 Hartwell
Time: 1:15 pm (Session III)