Samantha McCulloch: Of Writing and Possession: White Writing and its Illegitimate Inheritance


Advisor/tutor: Ghalya Saadawi

Arnhem, June 2020


This thesis explores the relations between whiteness, writing and place. I use literary criticism, and elements of fiction and memoir to elaborate on these relations. I focus on writing from South Africa, where language and literature remain contested forms. I elucidate the ways in which colonial property is established through writing. I establish whiteness and property as mutually produced. Within this framework, I consider and demonstrate tropes of selfrepresentation in white writing. I reflect on ways in which this legacy might be reckoned with, tracked and challenged. In particular, I illuminate ways in which whiteness notices itself through the literary tropes of absence and retreat to private property. These tropes in white writing risk restoring the order of a white private world. How then, can whiteness notice itself without reinscribing itself onto the world? S.M.