Sarmista Das

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Donald C. Goellnicht




This study considers how South Asian North American female writers aliiculate identity formation. While subjectivity has been a discursively explosive topic in postcolonial alld feminist studies, the intersections of gender, race, and sexuality as it relates to South Asian women of the North American diaspora remains overlooked as a subject of sustained query. Addressing the ways in which European colonialism enforced the construction of a European 'Self and a non-white 'Other,' my study explores how South Asian North American women negotiate issues of racial privilege and oppression within their interracial relationships, and considers how these relationships inform their identities. Chapter 1 ("Normalcy, Desire, and Orientalism in Heteronormative Interracial Relationships") investigates how racism and colonialism affect the politics of desire and identification in the heteronormative relationships depicted by Sharmeen Khan alld Tanuja Desai Hidier. Chapter 2 ("Normalcy, Desire, and Orientalism in Same-Sex Interracial Relationships") explores how Shani Mootoo's Cereus Blooms at Night, Almie Dijkstra's "Colombo to Haputale," and Suniti Namjoshi and Gillian Hanscombe's Flesh and Paper articulate desire and subjectivity in same-sex interracial relationships. Concerned with issues of the body, subjectivity, and space, Chapter 3 ("The Simultaneity of Geography, The Confines of the Body, and Forging a Space of Possibility") considers how the aforementioned writers attempt to create alternative subjectivities and spaces that oppose Orientalism.

McMaster University Library

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