Date of Award

Summer 7-9-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Jillian Heydt-Stevenson

Second Advisor

Paul Gordon

Third Advisor

Julio Baena

Abstract

Turkish German novelist Aras Ören’s Bitte Nix Polizei is a novel that discusses the “Critical Race” problems of immigration and clandestine labor, but does so in a way that standard Postcolonial Theory models of the colonialist gaze and “mimicry” fail to fully explain. I argue that because Ören openly identified himself as a Marxist, a return to the technical and often misrepresented details of Kant and German Idealism is necessary to understand why in the novel material conditions are always a disruptive source of revolutionary potential, rather than inert and static conditions of production. To argue in favor of the revolutionary potential of material conditions is also to salvage the protagonist Ali’s subjectivity, which critics have often dismissed as a mere metaphorical motif for the “real modes of production.” I shall ultimately argue that Badiou’s theory of sets rigorously demonstrates the shortcomings of any attempt to organize ethnic groups according to some common feature or property. Whereas Frege’s propositional calculus emphasizes the extensions of ideal concepts, Badiou shows that membership as such is irreducible to any predicate, species, or substance. Political structuration is therefore nothing more than a contingent act, a decision by an entity in power to assert its control, a thesis already reached in Hegel’s Logic.

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