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Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Supervisor

H. Strauss

Language

English

Abstract

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This thesis examines interracial community and masculinity in South African literature, film and mass media. It argues that masculinity is intimately tied to histories of racialization and, as such, represents a significant site for the deconstruction of racially segregatory practice and ideology. Beginning with the post-apartheid nation's multicultural self-advertisement as the "Rainbow Nation," which effaces racial difference, this project argues for a conception of community (national and localized) that acknowledges difference and allows for moments of racial tension within the national narrative. My introduction draws on texts from queer theory and critical race theory and my subsequent chapters look at the ways that men construct and reconstruct community in light of the nation's segregatory apartheid history.

My first chapter examines queer masculinity in John Greyson's film Proteus. I suggest that queer narratives have been excluded from the national narrative and that Greyson's film carves out a space for queerness in the nation where it had previously been effaced. My second chapter outlines the ways that white men structure interracial community and their motivations for doing so. I examine the fiction of Damon Galgut and argue that his texts reveal the extent to which "Rainbow Nation" discourse and multiculturalism proceed from the economic and social interests of white men. My final chapter looks primarily at exclusions within the national narrative and questions how we might envision "others" outside community in more ethical ways. I examine K. Sello Duiker's The Quiet Violence of Dreams and interrogate his text for its exclusion of nonnormative masculine bodies and women from its conception of interracial community. In my conclusion, I turn to the recent resurgence of "Rainbow Nation" discourse in the 2010 FIFA World Cup to emphasize the need for a continued interrogation of the way that multicultural discourse excludes bodies from the national narrative.

McMaster University Library

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