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“Sometimes a real one!’: Mock Marriage, Liberal Politics, and the Performative in Antebellum City Mysteries”, Professor Patrick McDonald (Auburn University, Department of English)
The Department of American Culture and Literature welcomes all Bilkent students and faculty to a talk by Professor Patrick McDonald (Auburn University, Department of English), titled “‘Sometimes a real one!’: Mock Marriage, Liberal Politics, and the Performative in Antebellum City Mysteries.”
Date: Tuesday 27 October 2020
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Meeting ID: 924 5082 1368
This presentation examines mock marriage, a pervasive yet understudied antebellum trope, in two city mysteries works: George Foster’s New York by Gaslight and H.M. Rulison’s The Mock Marriage. While 1850s jurists attempt to fix marriage as a constative fact and shore up its political efficacy, Foster and Rulison narrate mock marriages to insist on the institution’s performativity and highlight the liberal state’s reliance on unstable and malleable performative conventions. As such, each text identifies an instability at the core of liberal political and legal theory and eschews the performative as the basis of political cohesion. New York by Gas-Light delivers this critique. The Mock Marriage echoes it and proposes political theology to supersede the performative’s vicissitudes.