Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Cultural Studies, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Eve Oishi

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Joshua Goode

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Pagel

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2020 Surana K Singh


Art, Contemporary, Dialogic, Diaspora, Historiography, Los Angeles

Subject Categories

American Studies | Art Practice


This dissertation examines contemporary Los Angeles-based artists whose identity and work engages with issues of diaspora. I combine visual analysis of the artwork with interviews with the artists to look at the ways in which they utilize several visual and theoretical concepts of diaspora, arguing, that as diasporans they adopt a dialogic gaze that disallows monologic readings of their work, while denying easy binaryisms, to transgress multiple borders – temporal, cultural, stylistic, and geographic – simultaneously. In doing so, I argue that their work performs a revisionist historiography – they contribute to a project that decenters dominant discourses, by shifting absent or marginal narratives to the center, modeling a process of writing history that goes beyond merely inserting peoples of diverse backgrounds into the history of art, but revisions history from a more equitable perspective. Furthermore, drawing on a broad field of diaspora studies, I utilize a theory of diaspora that moves beyond a single ethnic or national identity to a global intersectional framework, which allows me to compare work that might not be otherwise read together. Therefore, I argue that applying a diaspora analysis to this diverse work contributes to a revisionist historiography by producing new narratives and analytical frameworks to an art historical discourse, one that centers questions of gender, culture, migration, sexuality, transnationalism, and global power structures.