Browsing Senior Theses by Author "Abujbara, Amira"
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- ItemTheatres of Threat: Modern Feeling and Post-9/11 Consciousness in McEwan's Saturday(2017) Abujbara, Amira; Mohan, RajeswariThis paper explores Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday using affect theory and a postcognitivist lens. The novel follows a neurosurgeon named Henry Perowne carrying out weekend activities around London against the backdrop of the city’s protest against U.S. invasion into Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11. This paper locates the novel’s aesthetics – especially its depictions of consciousness – in the modernist tradition, but explores how the novel departs from modernist aesthetics by breaking down the Cartesian duality between inside mind and outside world to instead offer what David Herman calls “the mind as distributed” across bodies, environments, other minds, and political discourses. We can understand its depiction of a post-9/11 consciousness as consisting and consisted by quotidian environments and experiences as well as political discourses around interventionism and counterterrorism and feelings of political anxiety, threat, precarity, and interventionism. Drawing from Alan Palmer’s Fictional Minds, the paper uses the novel to explore how affect is a fundamental part of consciousness as well as a silent but seething register for personal and political negotiation. In this sense, the novel is located in a postmodern moment by undermining the autonomous, liberal subject itself through its postcognitivist depiction of consciousness. This explorations helps understand how literary works lean into predominant epistemologies – in this case liberalism, secularism, and what Immanuel Wallerstein calls European universalism – in order to critique these epistemologies from within, especially when no imagination for an alternative worldview is available.