Objects of Vision: Text, Colour, Gesture
By Dr Yu-Kuan Chen
Abstract PhD Thesis Dr Yu-Kuan Chen
Congratulations to CIRCL PhD student Yu-Kuan Chen for passing her viva on 21-01-2013 with her thesis on ‘Objects of Vision: Text, Colour, Gesture’. External Examiner: Professor Sara Thornton of the University of Paris 7 and Internal Examiner Dr Neil Cocks, supervisor Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein.
Abstract of thesis
Grounded on the theoretical works of Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Jacqueline Rose and Shoshana Felman, this thesis considers the implications of their analyses of perspective in relation to the philosophy of vision and to the ‘object-ness’ of vision. The thesis’s formulation as a series of very close analyses (but not historical surveys) of texts engages at every turn with its own inevitable, inescapable, implicated-ness in language and vision conceived of in this sense.
Opening with an analysis of David Michael Levin’s claims in his edited volume Sites of Vision (1999), this thesis argues that a central problem in many considerations of vision in a range of fields is that they do not consider that their own readings can be read as visions of vision. This problem is then discussed specifically through sections of close evaluation of Rose’s account of Alan Garner’s The Stone Book (1999) in The Case of Peter Pan (1984) in line with her critiques of the construction of ‘the child’/‘the childhood’ in children’s literature. Next, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Colour (1977 [1950-51]) is also read at length to demonstrate that both the relative lack of attention to this part of Wittgenstein’s corpus and the nature of the commentary on it that does exist — such as that of Marie McGinn (1991)— are determined and shaped by underlying assumptions on the part of the commentators about the nature of language, vision, and reality, and the relation of colour to them. These readings worked out in this thesis therefore argue, by offering a further close reading of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s reading/description of Jacob Lawrence’s painting Blind Beggars (1938) in Staring: How We Look (2009) in the concluding chapter, what is at stake in the investment of these assumptions in relation to the construction of vision and of Disability as an identity.
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