Reimagining Herstory: A Transnational Study of Women’s Writings

  • Author / Creator
    Mansoureh Modarres
  •    Reimagining Herstory: A Transnational Study of Women’s WritingsbyMansoureh Modarres        A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree ofDoctor of Philosophyin

Comparative LiteratureDepartment of Modern Languages and Cultural StudiesUniversity of Alberta   © Mansoureh Modarres, 2018AbstractMy doctoral research offers a comparative study of the function of storytelling in a selection of fictional works by women writers from around the world including novels and short stories by the Persian writer, Simin Daneshvar (1912—2012), Canadian writer, Alice Munro (1930 –), and British writer, Iris Murdoch (1919—1999).  I examine these texts to trace depictions of female characters who are depicted as marginalized by their communities’ hegemonizing narratives yet tend to challenge the dominant narratives of their textual communities.  I argue that the women writers in this study, from their various locations around the world, create lifelike communities and characters in their fiction who can redefine their identities through their counter narratives challenging and/or change their predefined social positions. As part of my comparative study, I have developed a reading strategy for examining these texts, their depictions of characters, and characters’ interactions with their textual communities, in order to identify the ways in which they can redefine their identities in the face of hegemonizing male-oriented social structures. In each chapter, I offer comparative case studies to highlight the ways these the female characters are positioned in these textual communities, and how they reimagine their identities through their acts of storytelling. Through the characters they create and the power of storytelling, therefore, these authors criticize and write back to their patriarchal social structures. The ways these authors use storytelling to reimagine herstory are comparable across different languages and cultures, as represented in their depictions of characters, communities and social institutions.

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  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
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