Presentation Title

Stages of Belonging: J.D. Vance, Richard Rodriguez, and Performative Belonging in the American Middle-Class

Faculty Mentor

Georgina Guzman

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 3:15 PM

Location

BSC-Ursa Minor 132

Session

Poster 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

interdisciplinary

Abstract

This work begins by looking at two memoirs, Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory (1982) and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy (2016). Although coming from vastly different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, Vance and Rodriguez’s books tell very similar stories; ones of great changes throughout their lives, expressing the opportunities of social mobility in the U.S.--in short, they are works of the American Dream. And yet, within this American Dream, both authors recount processes of loss and trauma. My work here interrogates these processes further; first asking what drives these changes, what fuels this dream? My works locates this within a drive of belonging, using terms of citizenship and its intersection with the white, American middle-class to define this belonging. Beyond that, my work questions the process of social mobility itself, examining how Rodriguez and Vance, as signified cultural outsiders, enact a sense of belonging within dominant social orders. What is given up and what is gained by these actions?

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Nov 18th, 2:15 PM Nov 18th, 3:15 PM

Stages of Belonging: J.D. Vance, Richard Rodriguez, and Performative Belonging in the American Middle-Class

BSC-Ursa Minor 132

This work begins by looking at two memoirs, Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory (1982) and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy (2016). Although coming from vastly different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, Vance and Rodriguez’s books tell very similar stories; ones of great changes throughout their lives, expressing the opportunities of social mobility in the U.S.--in short, they are works of the American Dream. And yet, within this American Dream, both authors recount processes of loss and trauma. My work here interrogates these processes further; first asking what drives these changes, what fuels this dream? My works locates this within a drive of belonging, using terms of citizenship and its intersection with the white, American middle-class to define this belonging. Beyond that, my work questions the process of social mobility itself, examining how Rodriguez and Vance, as signified cultural outsiders, enact a sense of belonging within dominant social orders. What is given up and what is gained by these actions?