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Relentless Geography": Yamashita, DeLillo, and the Space of Globalization


Relentless Geography": Yamashita, DeLillo, and the Space of Globalization

Obedkoff, Aaron (2023) Relentless Geography": Yamashita, DeLillo, and the Space of Globalization. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Throughout the 1990s, the phenomenon of globalization emerged as a dominant framework for assessing the post-Cold War order of international relations. Amidst the proliferation of globalization discourse, a group of prominent political and economic commentators made the case that advancements in communication and transportation technology had effectively brought about the “end of geography.” In this thesis, I analyze how two American novels–Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange (1997) and Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis (2003)–take up, and ultimately reject, these claims about the “end of geography.” Beginning with Tropic of Orange, I argue that Yamashita’s rendering of the Tropic of Cancer latitudinal line as a mobile and materialized thread serves to underscore the novel’s structure as a global network and to assert that the lines of connection linking the globalized world are not just virtual but material. Turning to Cosmopolis, I focus on the novel’s protagonist, a twenty-eight-year-old multi-billionaire currency trader named Eric Michael Packer who possesses a desire to become unmoored from the realities of geography. As I argue, DeLillo stages Packer’s failed bodily transcendence in order to reject the notion that digital finance has presently, or will someday, become untethered from physical reality. Concluding with a brief analysis of DeLillo’s Falling Man (2007)¬¬–his first novel written following the events of 9/11¬–I contend that the depiction of space in this novel is indicative of a broader discursive shift away from triumphalist claims about globalization which occurred after the attacks on that date and the ensuing “War on Terror.” Ultimately, I demonstrate that these three novels offer nuanced and illuminating accounts of the hyperbolic–and indeed problematic–claims made by proponents of the “end of geography” discourse.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Obedkoff, Aaron
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:3 March 2023
Thesis Supervisor(s):Esteve, Mary and Brown, Nathan
Keywords:American Literature, Geography, Globalization
ID Code:991840
Deposited By: Aaron Obedkoff
Deposited On:21 Jun 2023 14:24
Last Modified:21 Jun 2023 14:24
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