Technology and the Archive: Framing Identity in American Literature, 1880-1914 Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Current, Cynthia A.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Through the works of William Wells Brown, Mark Twain, and Pauline E. Hopkins, this dissertation explores how the ways that the self is understood and lived changes in relation to the reception of Darwinian thought, to the introduction of new technologies for determining identity and for organizing information, and to new modes of categorization in the United States in the last twenty-five years of the nineteenth century. From genre development to fingerprinting to genetic engineering, it is the ability to control information concerning identity over time that comes to matter to the authors I work with in this project. Because these issues have an obvious relevance to today's information age and to current-day genomics, I consider those connections in my final chapter through an analysis of Octavia Butler's 1987 novel Dawn. In this final chapter, I further explore how individuals and groups are positioned relative to the acquisition, control, ownership, and reproduction of knowledge, and how such organizations of knowledge become emergently instrumentalized and affect race, gender, and identity. The term I use to describe these associations, in relation to the work of Butler and how it reflects back upon the other works discussed in this project, is technicity.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • McGowan, John
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2011

This work has no parents.