Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-9-2019


This dissertation examines representations of refugees in legal and aesthetic texts. Using the notion of chronotope as a conceptual framework, it studies the use of time and space in various refugee narratives to argue that aesthetic texts about refugees foreground the concept of spatiality to materialize and historicize the refugee condition. These texts, I contend, provide a necessary counternarrative to the depersonalized, dehistoricized representations of refugees encountered in legal texts and media discourses. Comparative analysis of legal and literary texts shows that adventure-time, which dominates legal asylum narratives, contributes to produce coherent, linear, singularized legal asylum stories. Such a narration also serves as a screening test for host nations to grant refugee status only to those claimants who prove their victimhood and helplessness. Contemporary refugee narratives’ emphasis on space visibilizes the social production of space and the invisible power relations lurking underneath socio-spatial inequalities which lead to forced displacement.


Refugees, asylum, narration, chronotope, spatiality

Document Type




Degree Name

French Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Pamela Cheek

Second Committee Member

Dr. Pim Higginson

Third Committee Member

Dr. Stephen Bishop

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Chris Duvall