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Blood Legacies: Pathology and Power in Works by Sherman Alexie and A. A. Carr

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Abstract

In a consensus reached by bands, tribes, and colonizers alike, the sovereignties indigenous people exercise today in the Anglo-European sphere of control have been largely defined as blood sovereignties. As a result, the representation of blood in contemporary literary works has also emerged as a site of contestation, between the promise of consanguinity sustaining indigenous continuity in recognizably sovereign forms on the one hand, as well as the threat of tainted blood, including the corruption of sovereign traditions, coming from exogamous outsiders on the other. A biological commonplace as well as the “proof” of cultural authenticity, blood is a doubled figure within the colonial imaginary. It confers the power of an indigenous people and its proprietary traditions equally, alongside the potential menace of alienation apart from those same traditions. However blood subjectivity has come to be defined, its representations are intimately associated with the problems and potentials of plural sovereignties.

Keywords

Mental Illness Indigenous People Indigenous Community Indigenous Culture Psychotic Experience 
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Notes

  1. 2.
    Reading Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari alongside Eye Killers makes the return of the capitalist vampire seem the culminating fragmentation of a “primitive” totality: “Primitive societies are not outside history; rather, it is capitalism that is at the end of history…. It cannot be said that the previous formations did not foresee this Thing that only came from without by rising from within, and that at all costs had to be prevented from rising.” See Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1983), 153.Google Scholar
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    Sherman Alexie, Indian Killer (New York: Warner, 1996), 220. Subsequent references to the text will be made parenthetically by page number.Google Scholar
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    John Purdy, “Crossroads: A Conversation with Sherman Alexie,” Studies in American Indian Literatures 9.4 (Winter 1997): 9.Google Scholar
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    That genres, too, impose signatures of purity and uniformity on otherwise heterodox texts provokes Jacques Derrida’s scorn and irony: “Genres are not to be mixed. I will not mix genres. I repeat: genres are not to be mixed. I will not mix them.” See Jacques Derrida, “The Law of Genre,” in Acts of Literature, ed. Derek Attridge (New York: Routledge, 1992), 223. Thanks to Ian Fong for this reference.Google Scholar
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    See Stephen Arata, “The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonisation,” in Dracula, ed. Glennis Byron (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999), 119–44. Applying Arata’s framework to Eye Killers, Falke represents the threat of indigenous miscegenation visiting not the metropolitan center (i.e., Bram Stoker’s London in the late Victorian era) but a traditionally indigenous center already penetrated by capital formations.Google Scholar
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    Catherine Rainwater, “Who May Speak for the Animals? Deep Ecology in Linda Hogan’s Power and A. A. Carr’s Eye Killers,” Figuring Animals: Essays on Animal Images in Art, Literature, Philosophy, and Popular Culture, ed. Mary Sanders Pollock and Catherine Rainwater (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005), 270.Google Scholar
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© Stuart Christie 2009

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