Nostalgia in the book of Psalms : a postcolonial reading of “I” through Korean resistance poetry.


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Challenging the western notion of autonomous subjectivity and the de-politicized imagination of social position in Psalms scholarship, this dissertation provides an alternative understanding of the subjugated subject through a transdisciplinary study of nostalgia. Examining nostalgia as an affective and political motif that intersects the individual and collective yearnings for a sense of home in defiance of colonial power, I connect insights from disparate disciplines, such as political literary theory, psychoanalysis, and nostalgia studies under the framework of postcolonialism. To illustrate this combined recognition, I employ Korean resistance poetry as an intercultural vantage point for the multifaceted interiority of the nostalgic self under oppression. In light of the multidisciplinary and intercultural analysis of nostalgia, I identify three manifestations of nostalgia in Psalms under the cultural hegemony of Persian colonial rule: an allegorical individualization of ancient Israel’s national enemies, a paradoxical simultaneity of Israel’s mourning and unmourning over collective losses, and a dialectical reconstruction of a new home through the retrieval and critique of indigenous cultural memories of God. Engaging comparative non-western literature in an interdisciplinary approach to Psalms not only challenges the western epistemological grounds for subjectivity but also sheds light on the multilayered yearnings for home ingrained in the ancient discourse of Psalms.