Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Ghosts Here and There: Spectral Resistance and Dialogue in Postcolonial Literature

The ethics of ghosts, spectres, and mediums in postcolonial literature


Concerning the relationship between ghost/specter and trendy issues like time, space and language, my proposed research focuses on the concept of spectrality and the role of medium in the reimagining of a dialogic society in postcolonial literature. By way of comparative study I aim to explore how spectrality, especially referring to the metaphor of ghost, acts as resistance to the constructed discourses and ideology in different contexts. Compared to the discussion of how people create ghosts through repression, prejudice and self-alienation, this project mainly concerns the alternative concept embedded in spectrality.

Drawing on theories of postmodernism, postcolonialism, psychoanalysis and feminist criticism, I will discuss what spectral time, space and language are and how they are presented as subversive potentials against the dominant ideology and oppressed society. In addition, I will carefully inquire the role of a medium in the interaction with different forms of spectrality. The aim of this thesis is to figure out some literary and figurative strategies for establishing a dialogic society where the prevailing stereotypes of the self and other, the concept of unity and order, are destabilized through reconsideration of the critical potential of ghost and medium.

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