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Constructions of home and nation in the literature of the Indian diaspora, with particular reference to selected works of Bharati Mukherjee, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Rohinton Mistry\ud

By Sharmani Patricia Gabriel


This thesis is an attempt to grapple with the meaning of home and belonging, nation and identity, from the perspective of diaspora narratives. Recent theories of diaspora have produced profound epistemological shifts in the theoretical frameworks and modes of analysis informing intellectual and cultural production. It is within the context of these rearticulated notions of diaspora that I locate my own theoretical perspective in this thesis. My particular objective is to foreground the productive tensions of diaspora which can challenge the reductive processes of homogenization at work in the formation and consolidation of national and cultural identities. What lends particular urgency to my project is the frequency, and violence, with which 'Third World' ideologies of authenticity and cultural hegemony are now being articulated\ud through the rhetoric of nationalism.\ud \ud To this end, I will examine and analyse representations of national and cultural identity in a selection of literary texts by writers of the Indian diaspora. Positioned\ud at the 'in-between' spaces of nations and identities, the product of several interconnecting histories and cultures, writers in diaspora, such as Bharati Mukherjee, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Rohinton Mistry reject all appeals to an originary narrative of cultural identity in their attempt to dismantle and reconfigure the dominant narrative of the nation/state. In these texts, home and nation are renarrated, not in terms of a monolithic space, but as a historically constituted terrain, changing and contested, and cultural and national identity as a narrative-in- struggle, and therefore also always 'in process'.\ud \ud For all four novelists under study, diaspora exposes deep fissures in the imagined unity of the nation

Publisher: School of English (Leeds)
Year: 1999
OAI identifier:

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