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The Nomad and the Postcolonial Limits of A Thousand Plateaus

Barker, Sadie

This paper traces the aesthetics of the nomad—their fetishization within the poststructuralist cartographies of A Thousand Plateaus,
and their fetishes (to open, wild land, particularly)— through, what is argued, a (paradoxical) situatedness in settler-colonial imaginaries. The nomad’s destabilizing relation to the signifier, heralded in A Thousand Plateaus and enveloped into poststructuralist theory more broadly, this paper argues, bears a provocatively unexamined dy-namic of colonial signification. Routing through figures such as Chris McCandless and Jack Kerouac, and motifs such as the map and the road, this paper traces the nomad’s signifying relation-ship to the frontier towards a broader exploration of the relations between freedom and dispossession undergirding our “postcolonial” moment.

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