Assembling Global (Non)Belongings: Settler Colonial Memoryscapes and the Rhetorical Frontiers of Whiteness in the US Southwest, Christians United for Israel, and FEMEN

Chair: Daniel Brouwer
Committee: Karen J. Leong, Aaron Hess, Thomas Nakayama


Scholars of rhetoric, critical intercultural communication, and gender studies have offered productive analyses of how discourses of terror and national security are rooted in racialized juxtapositions between “East” against “West, or “us” and “them.” Less frequently examined are the ways that the contemporary marking of terrorist bodies as “savage” Others to whiteness and western modernity are rooted in settler colonial histories and expansions of US and Anglo-European democracy. Informed by the rhetorical study of publics and public memory, critical race/whiteness studies, and transnational and Indigenous feminisms, this dissertation examines how memoryscapes of civilization and its Others circulate to shape geopolitical belongings in three cases: (1) public memory places in the US Southwest; (2) pro-Israel rhetorics enacted by the US organization Christians United for Israel; and (3) the embodied and mediated protests of European feminist organization FEMEN. In bringing these seemingly unrelated cases together as elements of a larger assemblage, I draw attention to their symbolic and material connectivities, examining the racialized, gendered, national, and imperial logics that move between these sites to shore up the frontiers of whiteness. Specifically, I argue for conceptualizing whiteness as a global assemblage that territorializes through settler colonial memoryscapes that construct “modern” national and global citizen-subjects as those deemed worthy of rights, protection, land, and life against the threatening bodies of Otherness seen to exist outside of the shared times and places of normative democratic citizenship. In doing so, I also examine, more broadly, how assemblage theory extends current approaches to studying rhetoric, public memory, and intercultural communication in global, trans/national, and (post)colonial contexts.

Still want to know more? Read the introductory chapter here: Chevrette_Dissertation Chapter 1_Global (Non)Belongings

IMG_4110And this is a baby photo of River dog, who came home with me on the same day the dissertation was submitted!