American Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-15-2019


Discourses that construct the “self” as something to be fixed, or made whole, chart a retreat from relational ecosystems back to the individual, reinforcing colonial politics rooted in bounded individualism. This project animates an ontological, relational framework that, in detaching from liberal humanist discourses of healing and “self,” makes affective links from autopoietic frameworks for healing and survival to de-colonial, sympoieitic concerns for expanded kinship. New meanings and attachments are forged within queasy border zones of incommensurability, toggling between the particular and the universal, between desires for solidarity and recognition that colonial violences continue to be unequally distributed and borne. Inhabiting these spaces as a scholar, not disentangling from the thickness of grief, means deploying methods and methodologies that can accommodate ontological disturbance and refusal as they grate against colonial logic. By recording pressure points of friction as they emerge in ordinary life, narratives, terms, and practices emerge to illuminate what it might mean to liberate “healing” from the terms of neoliberal, settler citizenship. The goal is not to resolve paradox, but to confront it by writing within and between the limits of scholarship and conventions that assume bounded self-hood. Aspiring beyond social solutions based in liberal humanist frameworks means subverting all forms of scholarly practices and categories based in Western hegemonies and hierarchies of being. What could a future look like in which co-poietic, sympoietic terms prevail; where the terms of speaking, writing, being, touching, and imagining do not hold allegiance to liberal humanist lineages of colonial selfhood?




decoloniality, ecologies, sympoiesis, affect, hapticality, resurgent knowledges, alternative medicine

Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

David Correia

Second Committee Member

Kathleen Stewart

Third Committee Member

Michael L. Trujillo

Fourth Committee Member

Irene Vásquez