South Asian Diasporic Writing from 1990 to the Present
The book argues that two key dynamics have developed from this shift: on the one hand, London, once the destination of choice for migrants, becomes a «transit zone» for onward movement to New York; on the other, different cities are perceived to coexist and come together in one single location. To investigate these new webs of interactions and power relations, this monograph employs Bakhtin’s model of the chronotope. Serving as a magnifying lens, the chronotope inserts different spatial and temporal segments within wider narratives of urban space. This book promotes a new understanding of the cities of the South Asian diaspora as subversive sites for defining processes of cultural signification.
Chapter 1: Introduction
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This book explores literary representations and imaginings of Bombay, London and New York in South Asian diasporic texts from the 1990s to the present. It traces an evolutionary path of analysis that foregrounds the way in which socio-economic shifts have shaped the re-imagining of these cities. By looking at South Asian diasporic texts and Bollywood films chronologically, this book investigates how travel between cities influences the process of identity construction both in the home and host countries. It posits an alternative to familiar journeys between India and Britain and charts the transition from London-centric studies on postcolonial city spaces to the new axis of Bombay, London and New York. This theoretical and literary shift points to the centrality of two key and often overlooked issues: on the one hand, London, once the destination of choice for migrants, becomes a ‘transit zone’ for onward movement to New York; on the other, different cities are perceived to coexist and come together in one single location. As one of Rushdie’s characters puts it in The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999), ‘a kind of India happens everywhere’: in London, New York and even in Bombay.1 As a symbol of the country’s economic modernisation, Bombay establishes translocal relationships of interdependence with London and New York.2 Representing the real and imaginary ← 1 | 2 → ‘movement of objects, people and ideas’,3 Bombay, London and New York become symbolic points of reference to investigate the intersections of the colonial...
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