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The Invisibility of “Second Sight”: Double Consciousness in American Literature and Popular Culture
Dabbs, Ashlie C.

2011, Master of Arts (MA), Bowling Green State University, English/Literature.
In this text I examine the metaphor, “second sight,” as a signifier of the concept of double consciousness, described in William Edward Burghardt Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903). I observe how the metaphor operates to express various perceptions of double consciousness as intrinsic to the African-American. As such, I provide a close reading of second sight in Pauline Hopkins’s Of One Blood (1902-3), noting the ways in which her portrayal of second sight as a biological inheritance transforms the metaphor from a signifier of double-consciousness to a signifier of blackness. I subsequently move eighty years beyond Du Bois and Hopkins to scrutinize the depiction of second sight in Gene Rodenberry’s popular television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994). In doing so I illuminate the ways in which Du Bois’s metaphor continued to be relevant in popular culture at the end of the twentieth century. I argue that the three texts depict second sight as a racialized knowledge and reveal a concurrence that race is corporeal and fixed. However, while Hopkins’s text asserts that the African-American will, by way of race, inevitably develop “second sight,” Du Bois and Rodenberry articulate that it is not race, but culture that leads to the successful development of such skills. In examining second sight as a racialized and coded signifier relevant beyond its inception, I open doors for the continued exploration of the signifier in the American literature and popular culture of both the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Jolie Sheffer, PhD (Committee Chair)
Kimberly Coates, PhD (Committee Member)
63 p.

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Dabbs, A. (2011). The Invisibility of “Second Sight”: Double Consciousness in American Literature and Popular Culture. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Dabbs, Ashlie. "The Invisibility of “Second Sight”: Double Consciousness in American Literature and Popular Culture." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Bowling Green State University, 2011. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 23 Mar 2017.

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Dabbs, Ashlie "The Invisibility of “Second Sight”: Double Consciousness in American Literature and Popular Culture." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Bowling Green State University, 2011. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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