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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] My dissertation "Hao" examines the relationship between maternal subjectivity and language. The pictogram in the title, a linguistic sign from the 12th century BCE Oracle Bone Script, depicts a kneeling woman holding a child. As the image of "kneeling woman" suggests, the mother figures portrayed in the book are often from marginalized groups ignored in dominant discourses, and therefore, cannot use such discourses to effectively define their experiences. These maternal figures include mothers who lost their children when shoddy school buildings collapsed during the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, an immigrant struggling with her debilitating anxiety of English deficiency, and an illiterate teen in mid-20th century China trying to invent a language for herself through drawing. While many literary texts addressing maternity focus on mother-child relationships or the dichotomy of empowerment and oppressiveness of motherhood, I complicate the conversation by looking at maternity in relation to language. My work investigates the various forms of silencing that mothers are subject to and the ways in which they attempt to find their own language to cope with, resist, and/or challenge the politics of domination.
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