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Race, gender and empire: transnational and transracial feminism in the first novels of Pauline Hopkins and Olive Schreiner

Includes bibliography.

White South African author Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) and African American author Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins (1859-1930) are well-known and celebrated literary figures in their own right, but are seldom read side by side. Furthermore, these authors and their works are traditionally placed on different spectrums of feminist literary genealogies despite writing during a similar time-frame and sharing converging feminist agendas. This thesis analyses The Story of an African Farm (1883), Schreiner?s first completed novel, alongside Hopkins? first full-length novel, the romance Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South (1900). Individually, these novels and their authors do radical work in liberating their female characters from the patriarchal and racial oppression prevalent in each context. This thesis argues that reading the two in tandem offers unique insight into a specifically transnational and transracial feminist consciousness emerging at the turn of the nineteenth century. Identifying multiple links between the novels? feminist concerns and their intersecting negotiations with race and empire, this comparative literary study establishes temporal, spatial and conceptual links between the two works, arguing that these links transcend both the space and race of their novels? local contexts in order to suggest a definitive transnational and transracial feminist awareness. Such a reading moreover disrupts traditional genealogies of western feminism, urging scholars to look beyond the narrow scope of feminist ?waves? and schools in order to detect nuances, convergences and relationships between texts which such genealogies disregard.
CreatorsBarends, Heidi
ContributorsCollis-Buthelezi, Victoria J
PublisherUniversity of Cape Town, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English Language & Literature
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeThesis, Masters, MA

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