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The 2010 Haitian Earthquake: Disaster and the Limits of Narrative

Mika, Katarzyna Maria (2015) The 2010 Haitian Earthquake: Disaster and the Limits of Narrative. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis examines narrative responses to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Analysing a selection of fictional and non-fictional texts written in both French and English, it demonstrates the ways in which literary representations of the earthquake interrogate current definitions of ‘disaster’, ‘reconstruction’, and ‘recovery’ while attempting to create narrative forms that approximate the experience of the event. These representations work towards a vision of Haiti that goes beyond standard portrayals of the country as a place of misery; but they also show the limitations of narrative form to capture the complexity of the 2010 earthquake and other disastrous events. The thesis situates the primary texts at the crossroads of postcolonial disaster studies, Haitian studies, and narrative theory, giving equal attention to the texts’ formal qualities as well as the historical contexts in which they intervene and the contemporary debates in which they partake. The structure of the thesis reflects this mixed methodology. Following a discussion of temporality that brings out the untimely character of the 2010 earthquake (Chapter One), the thesis focuses on histories of space and place, challenging the binary construction of Haiti as rural idyll/urban disaster zone (Chapter Two). It then shifts attention to notions of self and subjectivity, examining some of the meanings that post-disaster reconstruction takes in the context of personal transformation (Chapter Three). Together, these insights demonstrate the relevance of interdisciplinary analysis to our understanding of the social and political as well as geophysical histories behind ‘natural’ disasters, and of the long-term reverberations they cause.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: 2010 Haiti earthquake, Narrative responses to the earthquake, literary representations of natural disasters, postcolonial disaster studies, Haitian studies, postcolonial trauma theory, Lionel-Édouard Martin,Dany Laferrière, Rodney Saint-Éloi, Sandra Marquez Stathis, Dan Woolley, Nick Lake
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Depositing User: Miss K M Mika
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 12:49
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2016 12:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11898

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