Contesting the Theo-ethical Rhetoric of Home: Feminist and Postcolonial Politics of Space
May, Stephanie Louise
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CitationMay, Stephanie Louise. 2012. Contesting the Theo-ethical Rhetoric of Home: Feminist and Postcolonial Politics of Space. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Divinity School.
AbstractAlthough the rhetoric of home is broadly used and may seem banal, it is a notion that has been significantly contested in recent decades. This dissertation critically analyzes the politics of space within the rhetoric of home by locating "home" within socio-economic constellations of power. To underscore the linkages between the domestic family home and the political homeland, I place critiques of home in feminist Christian discourses into critical dialogue with postcolonial critiques of home.
After beginning with a contextual discussion of the rhetoric of home in U.S. history, I thematically address the rhetoric of home in feminist and postcolonial discourses. Firstly, I examine the rhetoric of violence and the home. By engaging both feminist and postcolonial texts, I show how home is not only a site of violence, but also functions as a tool of violence. Secondly, I explore the rhetoric of work and home in feminist Christian discourses. Critically analyzing differing articulations of the relationship between work and home reveals alternative spatial models of the socio-economic dynamics that construct the social and material landscape. Finally, I show how the rhetoric of home and heaven in Christian discourses express utopian visions for dwelling together. Examining these discourses raises important questions about how the rhetoric of home functions to create ethical and cultural norms.
In conclusion, the dissertation surveys the range of strategies feminist and postcolonial discourses have used to intervene in the politics of space in the rhetoric of home. To these strategies, I add an argument for engaging the alternative rhetoric of "dwelling together." The rhetoric of home and homeland has a problematic legacy of violence and exclusion that masks critical intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, marital status, and national identity. A feminist, postcolonial Christian rhetoric of dwelling together seeks to create a theo-ethical framework that more adequately addresses the ethics of spatio-socio-economic interrelations.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367447