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Locating Hybridity

Creole, Identities and Body Politics in the Novels of Ananda Devi


Ashwiny O. Kistnareddy

Despite its inherent negative implications as a purveyor of essentialism, the concept of hybridity holds a great deal of critical purchase in the postcolonial world. Hybridity allows identities and cultures to be conceptualized as different and manifold, allowing for the undermining of the binaries of self and other, centre and periphery, colonizer and colonized. In Mauritius, a country where numerous civilizations (African, European, Indian, Chinese) coexist and have constructed a new society, linguistic practices, culture and the body are all intrinsically linked to the concept of identity. The author of this study provides a timely discussion of hybridity in the novels of Ananda Devi, perhaps the most famous name in the Mauritian literary landscape. The book analyses various linguistic practices through the lens of linguistic criticism and theory. It then shifts its attention to psychological dislocations suffered by postcolonial subjects having a hybrid identity, as extolled by theorists such as Glissant and Bhabha, and offers an alternative interpretation of identity. Finally, the physical repercussions of hybridity are discussed in order to gauge its relevance in a society such as Mauritius.

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