Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Leland de la Durantaye

Reader 2

John Farrell

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Rights Information

2019 Christopher Raguz


The following five essays are connected by their reference to a scene – imagined by the author Thomas Pynchon. The disappearance of historical cause, the subject, and the human constitute this epistemological scene. Each essay can be read without logically building off of any other – yet they form a wider assemblage of interpretative theory. These are fragments capable of recombination in any order. They shun systematization but welcome kinship. Pynchon's fiction is the substrate underlying each. Abstract machines of theorists thinking on similar wavelengths are used as catalysts in an effort to force a reaction – an attempt to transmute the stories of paranoid schlemihls into yet more paranoid epistemologies.

How do we understand the degree to which we are organized by whatever systematizes? How do we relate to whatever organizes our knowledge, our identities? What, exactly, is playing us? These are the anxieties these essays share with Pynchon's characters and formulate the questions driving their theory. Call it the Post-Modern, the Post-Human, or any other Post, Pynchon anticipated its event horizon half a century before its more obvious implications made themselves clear. If we have passed fully over this horizon, figuring out where we are and what's going on has become a question of survival, and Pynchon's anticipation of our contemporary scene have become increasingly salient. These essays offer paranoid epistemologies for the age of disappearance.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.