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After The Last Ship

A Post-colonial Reconstruction of Diaspora

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Audrey Fernandes-Satar

After the Last Ship illustrates the author’s own history, as well as its connection to the history of other women and children who left India and made the journey across the Kala Pani, the Indian Ocean, and lived as migrants in other countries. In this book the author brings greater understanding of how subjectivities are shaped through embodied experiences of ‘mixed race’. She bears witness to the oppressive policies of the fascist government in Portugal in the 1960’s and 1970’s and the effects of displacement and exile, by reconstructing her own passage from India to Mozambique and finally to Australia. Further, the author shows the devastation that labels such as ‘half-caste’, ‘canecos’ and ‘monhe’ can cause, when they eat at your flesh, your being, and your body. She sheds light on how identity and culture can serve as vehicles of empowerment, how experiences of belonging can germinate and take root post-diaspora.

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Introduction 9

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9Introduction After the last ship embodies the critical incident that illustrates my own history, as well as its connection to the history of other women who, like myself, made the journey across the Kala Pani, the Indian Ocean, and lived as migrants in other lands. In this book I aim to bring greater understanding of how subjectivities are shaped through embodied experiences of diaspora and the diasporising of home (Brah 1996). I have explored my own passage from India to Mozambique and finally to Australia, to testify how diaspora may be lived, em- bodied and experienced in the flesh. Moreover, I bear witness to the oppressive policies of the fascist government in Portugal and the effects of displacement and exile. I bear witness to the devastation that labels such as ‘half-caste’ can cause, when they eat at your flesh, your being, your body. I bear witness to how identity and culture can serve as vehicles of empow- erment, how experiences of belonging can germinate and take root, post-diaspora. Finally this project is about illuminating and making sense of the act of diaspora and the journey that is diaspora. It is also about representation, about me as a body, as a racialised and gendered body living this journey, this trajectory. My diasporic space is pulled apart and reconstructed within a feminist, postcolonial framework, with the vision that this scrutiny will shed light on how I come to visualise myself inhabiting Homi Bhabha’s Third Space (1988), a space of movement and enunciation....

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