Department (Manual Entry)
Gender and Women's Studies Program
The subject of my paper is Carol Edgarian's recent novel, Rise the Euphrates, which I believe can tell us much about the current condition of Armenian-American women... In keeping with literary and cultural theory of the past twenty years, I favor a more complex model, in which the text and the culture in which it is written are part of a larger system of knowledge called a "discourse." I am using a Michel Foucault's widely known definition of discourse here: a set of rules, conventions, and practices which both enable and set limits upon knowledge and which permeate a wide array of cultural institutions. For instance, when we talk about the female body we might talk about such topics as the differences between femaleness and maleness, the relationship between the body and the mind, or the similarities and differences between the human body and machines. The conventions of the discourse guide us toward these topics and away from others. In other words, the discourse makes some things visible and others things invisible. The most basic premise underlying this interpretive strategy is that all forms of identity are culturally constructed, rather than innate, and that they are always being produced and reproduced by cultural institutions, art forms, relations of power, and language.
Merguerian, B. J., Jafferian, D. D., & Armenian International Women's Association. (1995). Armenian women in a changing world: Papers presented at the first international conference of the Armenian International Women's Association, September 19-21, 1994, Church House Conference Center, London, England. Belmont, Mass: Armenian International Women's Association.
"Armenian American Women Inhabiting Our Bodies: Gendered and Embodied Ethnicity in Carol Edgarian's Rise the Euphrates." Ed. Barbara Merguerian and Doris Jafferian. Armenian Women in a Changing World: Papers presented at the First International Conference of the Armenian International Women's Association. Belmont, MA: AIWA Press, 1995. 184-193. Print.