Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Jaffe, Aaron

Author's Keywords

Noir; Los Angeles; Badiou; Alain; Ontology; Chinatown (film); Himes; Chester


Sociology, Urban--California--Los Angeles; Urbanization--California--Los Angeles; Ontology--Social aspects; Social epistemology


Noir Ontology: Existing in the Fragmented Urban Spaces of Los Angeles explores the role of decentered urban geography within the body of noir texts set within Los Angeles. By focusing on the development of the idea of Los Angeles in early to mid-Twentieth century literature and film, this essay argues that Alain Badiou's system of ontology provides a critical apparatus for investigating the many ways in which the Los Angeles sunshine myth organizes the relations between individuals within particular urban spaces. Through an analysis of the city's early cultural history, Roman Polanski and Robert Towne's film Chinatown, and Chester Himes's novel If He Hollers Let Him Go, this project develops the concept of an LA noir ontology that expresses a suspicion towards post-industrial urban development and the modifications that it makes to everyday life while echoing Badiou's contemporary critique of the role capitalism in contemporary globalized society.