Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Deats, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gaëtan Brulotte, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Silvio Gaggi, Ph.D.


deconstruction, trace, différance, drama, textuality


I intend to showcase Suzan-Lori Parks's repetitious, supplemental virtuosity, which is a testament to the fluid, indeterminate condition of her concepts. I seek to demonstrate that in textualizing the quality of absence in the written dialogue, Parks's The America Play becomes uniquely deconstructive. For indeed, through the absent "presence" of an historically mythified president and a gravedigger's skewed identity, the play becomes a stage for splinters of historicized, differentiating, repeating signifiers that supplement, even as they redefine, their referential signified. Performing deconstructive thinking, Parks's textuality is accommodated by a content through which she calls attention to the structures of metaphysics in our discourse, stressing our inability to erase them, and our need to question them through continual self-reflexive thinking. I hope to show that Parks's genius is apparent in her unique mastery of language. This kind of mastery is revealed through her drama's connection to conceptual possibilities, which are hypostatize, staged through the materiality of her drama's textual configuration. In consciously imbuing her pages with representational temporal spaces akin to Derrida's différance, Parks shows how the supplemental perpetuity of metaphysical signification phenomenally attests to the conceptual, idealized absence it supplements. I speak here of idealization that underlies the structural signified, always already a supplemented absent, which carries metaphoric trappings of phenomenological substance in a form of the signifier, returning through a morphemic ideality in the assuredness of its infinite return. I read Park's intent in The America Play as inherently deconstructive because Parks dramatizes the enigma of the trace; that is, the enigma of its impossible, yet, relentless repetition. In examining the trace and its historical "genesis" through the Idea in the Kantian sense, I will show how Parks's Rep & Rev, repetitions and revision, textually performs its impossible repetition, which is always metaphysical. In self-reflexively showing the impossibility of metaphysical presences, Parks establishes a need for a persistent practice of deconstructive interrogation, questioning self-assured, metaphysical, dogmatic thinking.