New Directions in Diaspora Studies: Cultural and Literary Approaches 1786605163, 9781786605160

This collection brings together new critical approaches to diaspora studies, branching out to areas such as literary stu

182 88 11MB

English Pages 240 [199] Year 2018

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

New Directions in Diaspora Studies: Cultural and Literary Approaches
 1786605163, 9781786605160

Table of contents :
Contents
Acknowledgments
List of Figures
Preface
Introduction
Part I: Performance
1 Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts
2 Performing Street Art
Part II: Speculative Diasporas
3 Mythology of the Space Frontier
4 Speculative Diasporas
Part III: City Spaces
5 Diasporic Ways of Knowing
6 Emotional Geographies of London
7 Everyday Emotions and Migration
Part IV: Precarious and Silent Diasporas
8 British New Slaveries in Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand and Caryl Phillips’s In the Falling Snow
9 Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives
Bibliography
Index
About the Editors and Contributors

Citation preview

DRAFT

New Directions in Diaspora Studies

DRAFT

DRAFT

New Directions in Diaspora Studies Cultural and Literary Approaches Edited by Sarah Ilott, Ana Cristina Mendes, and Lucinda Newns

London • New York

DRAFT

Published by Rowman & Littlefield International, Ltd. Unit A, Whitacre Mews, 26-34 Stannary Street, London SE11 4AB www.rowmaninternational.com Rowman & Littlefield International, Ltd. is an affiliate of Rowman & Littlefield 4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706, USA With additional offices in Boulder, New York, Toronto (Canada), and London (UK) www.rowman.com Selection and editorial matter © Sarah Ilott, Ana Cristina Mendes, and Lucinda Newns, 2018 Copyright in individual chapters is held by the respective chapter authors. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote passages in a review. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN: HB 978-1-78660-516-0 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data [TO COME] TM The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992.

Printed in the United States of America

DRAFT

Dedication To the members of the Postcolonial Studies Association

DRAFT

DRAFT

Contents

Acknowledgments

ix

List of Figures

xi

Preface John McLeod

xiii

Introduction: New Directions, New Approaches Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

xix

Part I: Performance 1 Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts: Spectating Otherness at Home and Abroad Miki Flockemann 2 Performing Street Art: CityLeaks, Affiliation, and Transcultural Diaspora Cathy Covell Waegner Part II: Speculative Diasporas 3 Mythology of the Space Frontier: Diaspora, Liminality, and the Practices of Remembrance in Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber Agnieszka Podruczna 4 Speculative Diasporas: Hari Kunzru’s Historical Consciousness, the Rhetoric of Interplanetary Colonization, and the LocusColonial Novel Rachel Rochester

3

19

41

55

DRAFT

Contents

Part III: City Spaces 5 Diasporic Ways of Knowing: Teju Cole’s Open City Christiane Steckenbiller 6 Emotional Geographies of London: Doris Lessing’s Diasporic Vision Ágnes Györke 7 Everyday Emotions and Migration: Affect in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane Sibyl Adam Part IV: Precarious and Silent Diasporas 8 British New Slaveries in Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand and Caryl Phillips’s In the Falling Snow: Diachronic and Synchronic Reflections Pietro Deandrea 9 Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives Karen D’Souza

71

87

99

115 131

Bibliography

147

Index

159

About the Editors and Contributors

163

DRAFT

Acknowledgments

[B02.0]

[B02.1]

[B02.2]

We would like to thank all of the contributors for their enthusiasm and cooperation in bringing this collection together. We are grateful to Leicester University for hosting the Postcolonial Studies Association’s (PSA) 2015 convention—at which this collection was conceived—and to the delegates who attended and facilitated lively discussion around the topic of diaspora. Thanks also go to the sponsors that made this event possible: the Leverhulme Trust, the Postcolonial Studies Association, the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Leicester University’s School of English, the British Sociological Association, and the Leicester Migration Network. We owe particular thanks to Anshuman Mondal and Alberto Fernández Carbajal, who led the organization of the convention and have been supportive of this collection from the outset, and to John McLeod, who generously agreed to write the preface to the collection gathered here. Our gratitude extends to the anonymous reviewer of the original proposal for their constructive comments and to Natalie Linh Bolderston and her team at Rowman & Littlefield. Sarah Ilott would like to acknowledge the support of her former and current colleagues at Teesside University and Manchester Metropolitan University, respectively. She is very grateful to her two wonderful coeditors, Lucinda Newns and Ana Cristina Mendes, for their enthusiasm, organization, and determination in seeing this project to completion and for allowing her some time away from the project during her maternity leave. Her family, friends, husband John, and son Ezra are owed the biggest debt of thanks for their love and support throughout. This collection has received the support and encouragement of many people and the intellectual influence of countless others. Ana Cristina Mendes especially acknowledges Professors Isabel Fernandes and Teresa Cid, for the past decade the driving forces of the University of Lisbon Centre

Acknowledgments

for English Studies (ULICES-CEAUL), who generously gave her the opportunity of contact with different theoretical perspectives and shared her research with others. Lastly (and as always), her greatest debt is to Rui and Rafael. Lucinda Newns would like to thank the co-organizers of the PSA convention who formed the basis of this collection, as well as the PSA chair, Anshuman Mondal, for his ongoing support for the project. She is also very lucky to have had such great coeditors in Sarah Ilott and Ana Cristina Mendes, whose collective hard work and dedication have brought this book to its completion. Thanks also go to a number of colleagues at Queen Mary University of London for their general support and encouragement for her research. Finally, she is deeply grateful for the continued love and support from her partner, Doug.

DRAFT

[B02.3]

DRAFT

List of Figures

Fig. 2.1 Fig. 2.2

Fig. 2.3

Fig. 2.4

Fig. 2.5

Fig. 2.6 Fig. 2.7 Fig. 2.8

No Fun without Water, mural by Art4Water, Barinton Pub, Grüner Weg, Cologne-Ehrenfeld.

25

Sink Big, mural at Bürgerzentrum (community center) in Cologne-Ehrenfeld by Captain Borderline and Colorrevolution.

26

Prominently visible paste-up of Hitler with an Afro, found in numerous venues in Cologne— here in the Belgian Quarter and responded to graphically by pedestrians.

27

Boris Hoppek’s ostensibly stereotypical mural (with video installation in store window), Cologne-Belgian Quarter, Brüsseler Straße.

28

Aya Tarek’s refashioning of David Bowie as an “ethnic” dreamer, Follerstraße, Cologne inner city, overlooking a schoolyard.

30

TIKA’s Queen of the Night in Cologne-Belgian Quarter, Brüsseler Straße.

31

The umber hand of TIKA’s Queen of the Night holding symbols of Cologne.

32

On this industrial garage door, the paste-up of an Indian guru has been placed over numerous earlier messages.

34

DRAFT

Preface John McLeod

[B04.0]

“The whole world,” says Richard, the cynical smug businessman at the dinner party that forms the centerpiece of Ali Smith’s novel There but for the (2011), “It’s, well, a more or less borderless world. And that’s as it should be” (2011, 146). But he is soon forced to revise his position when a young black British girl, Brooke, recalls an incident at an airport when her family was singled out at passport control and detained without explanation, no doubt on the grounds of race: “[E]verywhere [‘Richard anxiously continues,’] needs some defence against people just coming in and overrunning the place with their terrorisms or their deficiencies, eh, sweetheart. . . . Humankind has needed fortifications since the start of humankind started” (2011, 146). As a figure who approves of the workings of transnational capitalism, Richard’s inelegant chauvinistic bluster stakes out succinctly the contradictory tendencies that have increasingly come to circumscribe and structure human movement today. On the one hand, there are the webbed circuits, concrete as well as virtual, that more or less smooth the passage across boundaries of geography and nation, through which goods, finance, persons, cultural products, and ideas are permitted to move with little discernible friction, often to profit the privileged. On the other hand, there are the prohibitive barriers, checkpoints, prejudices, politics, and points of view that striate and constrain motion and transport and propel humans precariously in transit toward suspect, securitized selfhoods: racialized others, refugees, sans papiers, “illegal” immigrants. As Sudesh Mishra summarizes, today’s global economic system “encourage[s] certain transnational flows of people (legal, ephemeral or otherwise) . . . but also discourages such movements by systematically closing down options for peripheral populations” (2006, 151–52). If, according to Thomas Nail, the “twenty-first century will be the century of

John McLeod

the migrant” (Nail 2015, 1), then such are the conditions within which diasporas today are formulated. Paul Gilroy has described diaspora as an “outer-national term which contributes to the analysis of intercultural and transcultural processes and forms. It identifies a relational network, characteristically produced by forced dispersal and reluctant scattering. It is not just a word of movement, although purposive, desperate movement is integral to it” (2000a, 123). To live “in diaspora” is to reside in one place but to keep in motion an emotional, cultural, or political relationship with another, whether it is the site of one’s nativity that subsequently became a point of departure or an ancestral “homeland” virtually conjured but never visited. Diasporic life can involve frequent traveling between the here and there or can pivot on a single seminal movement of leave-taking or can involve no physical travel at all. It opens and relies on translocational circuits of contact, both the everyday, anecdotal, vernacular rendition of diasporic affiliations and the more formal transmission of cultural engagement through music, television, literature, art, fashion, faith, and so forth. These collectively constitute the cultural nervous system of diaspora, the sensory realm that sustains communication, information, innovation, and remembrance, to form rhizomic relays of new and renewed engagement for disparate participants. These relays are distinctly worldly, circumscribed by the wider dispensation of global flows and blockages that service and sustain capital’s ascendency in the interests of the few, but they are never fully determined by them. Indeed, diaspora’s modes of transnational and transcultural affiliation might be regarded as shaping a critical sensibility readily fit for purpose in the present moment, poised to contend with the privations and prohibitions of a contemporary world set on the move. Diasporas are complex, often vexed intersections, concrete and virtual, portable as well as firmly positioned. They are platforms where received notions of cultural affiliation, religious inclination, and political persuasion can come undone or become entrenched or exaggerated. They are not at all immune to the hierarchies of gender, the prohibitions and the policing of sexualities, the tensions of class and caste, the prejudices of race and culture, and the obligations of institutions of faith. They can be sites of recycling as much as of reinvention. They can engender the reclamation, rewriting, or redeployment of the past for subversive purposes or affix the present in a constraining backward glance. They are neither inherently transgressive nor fatally authoritarian. They can be coercive rather than supportive. They are where one might prosper or where one must hide. Their convolutions, contradictions, and many-layered intricacies require patient analysis. So it is important for us not to take a bifocal view of diasporas as existing always at one pole or the other: as exclusively “elite” or grimly embargoed, privileged or impoverished, cosmopolitan or constrained. “Migration in this sense,” Nail argues, eschewing the tidy conveniences of bifocalism, “is neither entirely

DRAFT

[B04.1]

[B04.2]

DRAFT

Preface

free nor forced—the two are part of the same regime of social motion” (2015, 3). The critical engagement with the worldly, lived particulars of diasporic cultural activity needs to proceed with a ready consciousness of the unequal terrain of diasporic lives and conjunctures under discussion, of the peculiarity as well as the multifariousness of diasporas today that emerge within a common global regime. But as Nail points out (following Zygmunt Bauman), all migrants, across a wide range of social positions, nonetheless share the [B04.3]

[B04.4]

[B04.5]

[B04.6]

experience that their movement results in a certain degree of expulsion from their territorial, political, juridical, or economic status. Even if the end result of migration is a relative increase in money, power, or enjoyment, the process of migration itself almost always involves an insecurity of some kind and duration: the removal of territorial ownership or access, the loss of the political right to vote or to receive social welfare, the loss of legal status to work or drive, or the financial loss associated with transportation or change in residence. The gains of migration are always a risk, while the process itself is always some kind of loss. (2015, 2)

Not every diaspora is populated by migrants, of course, but all diasporas have a relationship with the “process of migration itself,” as a legacy or as an ongoing phenomenon. The credits and debits of this ongoing, shape-shifting process can resound across generations as well as locations and significantly supplement the material conditions of the present. The risks and losses of migration may resonate and linger long after the finite event of human transport and contribute significantly to the structuring of the “new.” In at least one corner of scholarly debate, discussions of diasporic culture have been vocally challenged in recent years for their allegedly small regard for the material conditions of diasporic peoples, their perceived detachment from the lives of those uprooted and left wretched by globalization and its control of mobility. Andrew Smith’s discussion of the matters of migration, hybridity, and diaspora in postcolonial studies aptly captures and conveys this ongoing trend in his remarks about the supposed paradox of diaspora’s semantic provenance: on the one hand, the persistence of ideas of homeland and the ties of place among those living away from homing locations; on the other, the detachment of culture from specific places and the revelation of “culture . . . as deterritorialized” (2004, 256). While the modest tradition of diasporic thought has opened up crucial new ways of thinking that reach beyond modernity’s investment in exalted origins—of nativity, blood, soil, nation, race—and its creation of dark fictions of illegitimacy, to my mind at least, Smith worries that its restless agency is too proximate to the circuits of transnational capital, so that diaspora names a “radical assertion and a form in which radicalism is recuperated by the market” (2004, 257). As such, the “fêted mobility” of diasporic culture is at risk of becoming a “form of detach-

John McLeod

ment from the very circumstances in which political resistance is necessary” (2004, 257). To be sure, the inseparable connections between the flows of diasporic culture and networks of global capital require acute attention and vigilance, and we must never presume that the itinerant epistemologies of the former are ready and able to oppose the privations of the latter, as if the cultural consequences of diaspora are somehow guaranteed to be magically transgressive at heart. But as Steven Blevins has powerfully argued, the “transhistorical and transnational forces that power global markets—and drive the often unwelcome movements of people and unwanted displacements of whole populations—also bring communities of activists and creative producers into collaborative association, social alliance, and political solidarity” (2016, 5). As many of the contributors to this volume evidence in their careful, patient analyses of a range of new diasporic materials and concerns, the capacity to negotiate with such “forces” of authority and control is never fully curtailed by the all-too-real disenfranchising domain in which cultural production inevitably takes place. In Bryan Cheyette’s summary, from the vantage of its detractors, diaspora as a concept is “always already deemed politically deficient,” while its advocates are “perceived as elitist, detached from the fray, and unable to engage with revolutionary politics” (2017, 3). So it is important, then, from the outset to guard against the sweeping dismissal of diasporic cultures and their intellectual exploration as fated to be politically timid, devoid of critical, political purpose and agency. The chapters in this volume offer a significant and timely retort to this point of view (itself something of a tiresome cliché these days). Collectively, they present a far more complex, materially grounded state of affairs and underscore the generative agency of diasporic cultural production, to be discovered—as you will soon see for yourself— across a range of contexts, from the graffiti of Cologne’s CityLeaks Urban Art Festival and the interrogative space of the museum to the speculative imagination of contemporary science fiction and the novels of Teju Cole and Monica Ali. In Mark Fisher’s view, although the all-pervasive reach of capitalism today has made envisioning alternatives to the current world order a highly difficult task—a predicament captured in his notion of “capitalist realism”—we should never cease in seeking out opportunities to identify and prize examples of critical thinking: “even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism” (2009, 80–81). As this volume lays bare, the cultural consequences of diasporic life and its discursive inquiry carry the propensity to rent the fabric of the current global dispensation, to ask critical questions about the uneven and unsteady terrain of contemporary life and across a range of confluent, noncoincident contexts.

DRAFT

[B04.7]

DRAFT

Preface

[B04.8]

To engage in the critical investigation of diasporic cultural production, then, is to respond and participate in an unequivocally worldly practice and in relation to a global regime where the motors of motion and mobility continue to accelerate with remarkable velocity. In exploring the ways in which cultural representations of, and in, diaspora seek to intervene in the various milieu of their making, the contributors to this collection valuably delineate some of the new diasporas and directions as they are negotiated across a range of cultural media in recent years. As their scholarship proves, diasporic cultural activity at large can engender vital critical leverage; challenge the shoring up of “fortifications” in the twenty-first century; and mobilize myriad spaces of engagement (museums, novels, walls, websites) where those moved around by the powers that be refuse to go quietly.

DRAFT

Introduction New Directions, New Approaches Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

[B05.0]

[B05.1]

[B05.2]

The study of diaspora, as both a migratory experience and a theoretical concept associated with unfixity and in-betweenness, liminality and hybridity, travel and displacement, nomadism and touring, has gone through a number of transformations since its intellectual heyday in the 1990s. 1 Much of the first decade of diaspora scholarship set out to define and (very often, even if unwittingly) police the boundaries of the term. Whereas diaspora studies has grown exponentially in the last decades, there is still an untapped critical potential related to new forms of movement across the globe and new experiences of “diaspora space” (Brah 1996). 2 Disrupted by war, conflict, and poverty, populations continue to be on the move. Ours is a world where connections between individuals, groups, communities, and nations are ever increasing; ours is an age of global recession, revenant nationalisms, and the erection of “soft” narrated borders and “hard” physical borders (Eder 2006) that have rendered bordered crossings more difficult than ever for certain individuals. Present-day realities, such as the current refugee “crisis,” the increased policing of old and new borders, the importance of multilocality, and the hypervisibility of transnational and “postnational” communities, have given new urgency to questions pertaining to diasporic movements that need to be addressed. This volume does not intend to rehearse what is by now familiar territory in diaspora studies but is rather interested in opening new lines of inquiry by placing diaspora in dialogue with other fields and approaches and reassessing its usefulness in light of the pressing issues of the twenty-first century.

Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

Therefore, as well as exploring the new ways that diaspora can be deployed to make sense of our contemporary moment, this book also considers some of the limitations of the term and its potential alternatives. Indeed, many of our contributors employ a number of formulations, including transculturalism and interculturalism (Flockemann), transnationalism (Waegner, D’Souza), globalization (Deandrea), cosmopolitanism (Steckenbiller), and planetarity (Steckenbiller, Rochester), as both complements to and critical interlocutors with diaspora. In the decades since the explosion of critical debate on the term, a number of important developments have shifted the terrain on which diaspora scholarship carries out its work. These include (but are not limited to) the economic and political fallout of globalization and its ideological complement, neoliberalism; the global impact of climate change and its increasing role in generating human migrations; 9/11 and the ensuing security-scape of the War on Terror; and the expansion and fortification of the European space and related increase of undocumented migrant workers, refugees, and asylum seekers trying to make their way to the shores of “Fortress Europe.” While these issues may appear to take us away from diaspora as a concept, stemming as it has from older forms of communal displacement at the very root of the term, they offer the potential for generating new understandings by rethinking the crucial work developing within and around diaspora studies in relation to the forms of movement happening today. For example, in chapter 4, Rachel Rochester applies the conceptual framework of diaspora to think about climate change refugees and the prospect of interplanetary migration, and in chapter 8, Pietro Deandrea considers recent waves of migrants to the United Kingdom from Eastern Europe in conversation with the more established communities of black Britain. Though the term diaspora continues to be used widely in a range of disciplinary arenas, there has been a need to critically reevaluate its trajectory in light of these developments. 3 In effect, the subject area of diaspora studies has become institutionalized in academia, with all the attendant opportunities and risks. Of the former, the necessity of building a research community across disciplines and traditions is a key aspect emphasized by many working in diaspora studies. From the start, diaspora’s fruitfulness as a theoretical concept was credited to its ability to move beyond the nation-state to draw attention to other forms of belonging (and multiple belongings) that are not restricted to bounded territories, what Paul Gilroy (1997) describes as “nonplace based” forms of community. In so doing, diaspora theory found ready proponents in postcolonial studies, which had already been engaged in a project of dismantling binary oppositions and embracing hybrid and plural forms of identity (Bhabha 1994; Young 1994; Said [1978] 2003; Spivak [1988] 1994). As Brah notes, “border theory,” “post-colonial theory” and “diaspora theory” are

DRAFT

[B05.3]

[B05.4]

DRAFT

Introduction

[B05.5]

best understood as constituting a point of confluence and intersectionality where insights emerging from these fields inhere in the production of analytical frames capable of addressing multiple, intersecting, axes of differentiation. In other words, it is a space of/for theoretical crossovers that foreground processes of power inscribing these inter-relationalities; a kind of theoretical creolization. (1996, 210)

[B05.6]

The fields have continued to overlap and borrow from one another, and this remains the case in the chapters collected here, which originated as papers presented at the 2015 biennial convention of the Postcolonial Studies Association at the University of Leicester. Diaspora’s emphasis on transnational identifications has been celebrated and interrogated in equal measure. 4 While on some fronts there has been a movement toward dismantling the nation-state—brought about by global trade, multinational corporations, and mass migrations of people—on others the nation-state has reasserted itself as a force governing people’s everyday lives. Though transnational connections are certainly central to the functioning of our globalized world, we also need to remain mindful of the very real ways in which communities are legally and politically bounded by nationstates and the way in which this is affected by issues of class and race. The increased suspicion of Muslims since the onset of the War on Terror, for example, has placed real checks on the mobility of these communities both within and between nation-states, most crudely evidenced by Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” in the United States. 5 As Caren Kaplan (1996) has argued, we always need to be attentive to the processes through which deterritorializations can actually lead to reterritorializations. We see this in the socalled white-lash against globalization that has sparked an uptick in nationalist movements in Europe and the United States, driven forward by fears about the erosion of cultural specificity. These movements have been at least partly responsible for such political retreats from transnational alliances as Britain’s planned departure from the European Union. Meanwhile, the refugee crisis in Europe has brought to our TV screens the stark reminder that borders are indeed real and have real, often fatal effects, where the level of danger faced in order to cross them is dictated by one’s wealth and citizenship status. Given these examples, it is necessary to remain cognizant of and realistic about the kinds of territorial boundaries that diasporic movements and modes of belonging remain unable to surpass. In addition to thinking about the ways that transnational forces continue to be cut through with more territorializing currents, as scholars of diaspora studies we should also be attentive to the ways that deterritorializing moves may not always be positive or progressive. As Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur ask, “How are the myriad waves of transnational migration in the late twentieth century part of the regulatory flows of global capitalism?”

[B05.7]

[B05.8]

Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

DRAFT

(2003, 17). This is also something that Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri draw attention to in their field-changing book Empire (2000), where they locate today’s imperializing forces not in the territorial spaces of the erstwhile colonial masters or even in the global superpower of the United States but in deterritorialized nongovernmental institutions and corporations for whom the human mobility and fragmentary subjectivities modeled in diaspora theory have now become instruments of power (such as in the reliance on cheap migrant labor). Indeed, in recent years, there has been an increased drive to revisit the local as an important object of inquiry (Wilson, Sandru, and Welsh 2010; Goebel and Schabio 2006; Quayson 2014; Varma 2012). At the same time, however, diaspora as a critical concept can serve as an important tool for thinking through the relationship between the local and the global precisely because of its simultaneous enunciation of locatedness (both that of the territorial homeland and the place of settlement) and mobility (it contains traces of the “routes” through which its communities have traveled, whether personally or historically). This intersection between the local and the global that diaspora captures underpins many of the chapters in this volume, such as in chapter 5, where Christiane Steckenbiller argues that diasporic subjectivity generates a particular way of seeing that reads the local through its interconnections with other places around the world. We see similar points made in the chapters by Cathy Covell Waegner, Ágnes Györke, and Sibyl Adam. Since its inception, diaspora scholarship has been a cross-disciplinary [B05.9] enterprise, with its early proponents coming from sociology (Robin Cohen, Avtar Brah), anthropology (James Clifford), comparative literature (Nico Israel, Khachig Tölölyan), and cultural studies (Paul Gilroy). The field-shaping journal Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, founded in 1991, also maintained this interdisciplinary approach. Our collection continues this tradition, though it takes diaspora studies into new arenas by also placing it in conversation with performance studies (Flockemann), visual art and media studies (Waegner), urban geography (Steckenbiller), and affect theory and phenomenology (Györke, Adam). Although this collection is rooted in literary and cultural concerns, some chapters push beyond this realm to engage with scientific discourses (Podruczna, Rochester). The collection also makes new strides in terms of diaspora’s methodological possibilities, as in chapters by Miki Flockemann and Cathy Covell Waegner, both of which deploy diaspora as a particular kind of aesthetic/performative practice. In order to generate a broad reflection on the field, this collection takes a [B05.10] comparative approach rather than focusing on one geopolitical angle. The chapters consider a number of diasporic axes as well as taking into account multiple movements and connections. Given the diverse geographic affiliations of our contributors—who are based in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Hungary—it is

DRAFT

Introduction

unsurprising that the chapters also push beyond diaspora’s most frequently discussed territorial locations. In addition to mass migrations from (post-) colonies to Western metropoles in Britain and France, our contributors also consider diasporic spaces in other parts of Europe, such as Germany and Belgium, as well as countries in the global south, like South Africa, which Flockemann explores as a site of arrival as well as departure. Waegner also considers the role of nonterritorial spaces like the internet in forming diasporic connections, and Rochester and Podruczna even push diaspora scholarship beyond Earth’s frontiers by considering the possibility of interplanetary migrations. Such a move also opens the discussion of species-level diaspora, complicating the field’s preoccupation with identity-based questions of race and culture. [B05.11] Beyond a localized and historically specific reflection on particular diasporas (see Brah 1996; Hussain 2005 6; Ahmed, Morey, and Yaqin 2012 7; and Gopinath 2005 8), this volume identifies and explores new areas of research in the field and reflects on the usefulness of current frameworks within diaspora studies; it sets the agenda for further study in the field; and it works across multiple contexts, histories, and media to enable a more wide-ranging exploration of the modes of imagining and representing diaspora. As stated in the collection’s title, this volume is about the new directions in which we can take diaspora scholarship by bringing it up to date in terms of today’s geopolitical transformations. It also brings together a range of new literary and cultural approaches in the field of diaspora studies, offering localized and historically specific reflections on particular diasporas while allowing for a broader reflection on the field. As such, it departs from the more narrowly focused discussions of individual diasporic groups often adopted by other works in the field. [B05.12] This collection is based on interdisciplinarity—bringing together a range of approaches to questions of diaspora—and an attention to disciplinary methods. As such, literary texts are explored as conflicting sites of production and consumption rather than uncomplicated mirrors on existing realities, while cultural and visual texts are examined with reference to appropriate disciplinary discourses. The purpose is to create a useful tool for literary and cultural scholars looking to interrogate the interconnectedness of sociological theories and methodologies with cultural products circulating in a specific context. In the next sections, we outline the structure of the book through a consideration of the various “new directions” in which it takes us. We have broken these down into themes, though as has already been suggested, these are cross-cut with a range of other methodological and theoretical synergies. The themes are “performance,” a new avenue of study that has been underexplored in the field to date; “speculative diasporas,” exploring science fiction’s potential for representing and engaging with the new forms of diaspora facing us today; “city spaces,” focusing on localized experiences of diaspora

Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

DRAFT

in established and recent postcolonial literatures; and “precarious and silent diasporas,” foregrounding less-utopian aspects of diaspora and exploring the means of representing those excluded from its dominant narratives. PERFORMANCE

[B05.13]

Accounts of globalization, deterritorialization, and transnationalism are fre- [B05.14] quently cited as evidence of a transition from stability to motion (Appadurai 2000), both as patterns of human mobility and transnational, global-cultural, and media flows. Unbounded by local, national, and regional borders, people, culture, and media are now conceived of through spatial descriptors emphasizing transition and movement. Given that an earlier focus on diasporic marginality and longing for the originary homeland has shifted to cross-continental connections and the possibility of having multiple homes, it is not surprising that transnationalism has emerged as a core concern in diaspora studies. Notwithstanding, transculturalism as integral to this critical move has to date been comparatively overlooked. In the first part of the collection, dedicated to “performing diaspora,” Flockemann’s and Waegner’s chapters contribute to redressing this imbalance. Intersecting diaspora and performance studies, their analyses present the concept of transcultural diaspora (specifically, transcultural performance aesthetics) as a productive mode of thinking through questions of performance. Both chapters focus on the creation of new transcultural affiliations via [B05.15] performance and address how these are mapped onto the visual. As highlighted by these two contributions, the visual, with its own conventions of representation, documentation, and affect, plays a key role in coming to terms with migrants’ remembrance of a frequently conflicted past. Specifically, these chapters explore the role that visual media play in shaping and reshaping migrant experience and also the intersections of global visual culture and cultural memory in diasporic contexts. This is especially the case with contemporary “revisiting” practices of cultural memory that relate to conflicts of cultural identity and belonging—including statelessness, exile, and diaspora—and to conflicting subject positions of a national, ethnic, gendered, class-based, or generational nature brought about by the proliferation of (sometimes forced) intercultural crossings. Flockemann and Waegner draw attention to the ways in which diaspora is [B05.16] visually performed—shaped, contested, forgotten, recovered, and (re)circulated—in different forms of public visual culture by differently configured national and transnational migrant communities. This links to issues of memory activism and the politics of remembrance. Indeed, cultural memory refers to the politics of remembering and forgetting, inviting readers to consider the ways in which the past, the present, and the future are remem-

DRAFT

Introduction

bered and recorded by members of a collective and encoded into texts, artifacts, and rituals. Refracted through issues of performance, the understanding of migrants as subjects of national and transnational memory and even of memory work as a form of social engagement (Till 2008) in Flockemann’s chapter stresses the need for a combined memory and diaspora studies agenda that is sensitive to the ways in which migrant individuals and groups (particularly, though not exclusively, exiles, émigrés, indentured laborers, and migrant workers) experience cultural memory in displacement. With reference to the movement “from local wall to global screen” in Cologne’s CityLeaks Urban Art Festival, Waegner advances the concept of transcultural diaspora as hybrid, affiliative, and participatory. In a sense, CityLeaks is a form of media-based activism that seeks to enrich public debate by documenting and disseminating images of activist struggles. The participants’ affiliative bonds to differently constituted black diasporas (or “overlapping diasporas,” in Earl Lewis’s [1995] formulation, with reference to African Americans) is clear in the impact and legacies of the early African American and Hispanic hip-hop graffiti guerrillas in this urban artwork. [B05.17] In her consideration of novel forms of attachment in a globalized world, Waegner provides valuable insights into these participants’ performance of a transcultural diaspora of “engaged choice” and “desired attachment.” Flockemann adds the variable of cultural memory to the relationship between diaspora and transculturalism. In particular, when addressing the reception of two site-specific performance events, Chokri Ben Chikha’s Action Zoo Humain and Brett Bailey’s provocative Exhibit A and Exhibit B, Flockemann demonstrates how these can create a virtual, deterritorialized, and possibly transcultural contact zone as a live event connecting performers and spectators. Following Flockemann, understanding memory as a performance allows us to regard memory and memorializing as a process of dealing with the past in the present, thereby linking a present to a past and, most relevantly, to a future. This present and future are, in turn, shaped by the process of remembering. Projects such as those selected by Flockemann do memory, and this doing of memory and mediation of the past creates fertile ground to ask questions not only about the cultural dimensions of migrancy and memory but also concerning the impact of visual technologies used by image producers in the documentation, analysis, and communication of migrants’ experiences. [B05.18] These memory projects have the potential of offering a platform for memory activism for both the individual migrant involved in memory practices and for communities of memory that “designate structured sets of relationships through which people engage representations of past events and put forth shared, complementary, or competing versions of what should be remembered and how” (Simon and Eppert 2005, 61). Memory activism can be defined as an embodied cultural practice of commemoration that takes place on-site, as evidenced in the performances examined by Flockemann, as well

Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

DRAFT

as through knowledge production and dissemination as instances of participation and civic epistemology. This, alongside other forms of “memory citizenship” (Rothberg and Yildiz 2011) and their visual expressions, allows for new insights into cultural exchanges and dynamics in diasporic communities. Flockemann nonetheless raises important questions about the ethics of such contemporary revisionings of earlier representations of marginalized communities, despite the strongly self-reflexive nature of these productions (e.g., Bailey’s installations position performers as ethnographic objects who hold the discomforted gaze of the spectator). Will these revisionist interventions have the potential to be transferred to broader civic society and contribute to the development of memory citizenship in the context of diasporic societies? SPECULATIVE DIASPORAS

[B05.19]

In part II, “Speculative Diasporas,” Rachel Rochester and Agnieszka Po- [B05.20] druczna continue to explore the potential of diaspora as a critical tool or framework for interpretation with reference to postcolonial speculative fiction. These chapters demonstrate how speculative fiction is the ideal genre for exploring the relationship between environmental disaster and forced diaspora and for negotiating questions of heritage, memory, futurity, and cognitive estrangement while implicitly critiquing the colonizing and othering impulses of a sci-fi canon that has previously marginalized nonwhite authors. Rochester’s chapter is premised on the prospect that interplanetary diaspora, specifically plans for the diasporic settlement of Mars, has become increasingly plausible. The texts examined are set against a backdrop of a certain future of large-scale human migrations driven by climate change and ecosystem devastation, wherein the effects of climate change make Earth progressively uninhabitable and exacerbate civil unrest. While the idea of interplanetary diaspora (or interplanetary colonization) had previously been relegated to science fiction, it may begin to seem like a credible solution considering Earth’s environmental crisis. Rooted in contemporary postcolonial ecocritical theory and advancing the idea of “speculative migrations,” this chapter examines two complex artifacts: the official materials of three organizations that have proposed plans to establish colonies on Mars in the coming decades and Hari Kunzru’s 2011 novel Gods without Men. Kunzru’s literary narrative, part of an emerging genre that Rochester terms the “locuscolonial novel,” is presented as a productive foil and tool of resistance to the Mars mission materials and the spectral possibility of neocolonialism. The chapter argues that Kunzru juxtaposes a consideration of a UFO cult’s illconceived plans for planetary evacuation and interplanetary diaspora with a critique of settler colonialism and its consequences on Earth.

DRAFT

Introduction

[B05.21]

Podruczna advances postcolonial sci-fi as the “quintessential genre” for engaging diaspora. At the intersection between postcolonial speculative fiction and diaspora are issues of liminality that offer different, novel considerations for the topic of diaspora and its relationship to histories of colonization. Podruczna makes a point also advanced by the following chapter regarding sci-fi narratives: as a genre concerned to a large extent with the imperial narrative of colonial expansion and conquest, mainstream sci-fi and its attendant mythology of the space frontier suggest a vision of the manifest destiny of the human race that perpetuates the hegemonic narrative of Western superiority. Moreover, Podruczna contends, mainstream sci-fi’s relationship with the topic of race and racial difference has been fraught with tensions, stemming from the colonial roots of the genre whose most prominent narrative is that of the encounter with the Other. Postcolonial science-fiction narratives, such as Nalo Hopkinson’s novel Midnight Robber (2000), which is examined in the chapter, have to a large extent called attention to these tensions, critically addressing the colonial roots of the genre in ways that touch on issues of hybridity, liminality, difference, identity formation, and collective memory: focal points not only of postcolonial studies but also of diaspora studies. Specifically, Podruczna argues that Hopkinson emphasizes the inherent liminality of the fractured identities that emerge in postcolonial realities, influenced by the remnants of colonial tensions. It is further suggested that the sphere of myth—embodied by Tan-Tan, the protagonist of Hopkinson’s narrative—constitutes a place from which the hybrid, Othered subject can speak, thus introducing a novel reading of the relationship between the practices of remembrance, postcolonial mythopoeia, and diasporic communities.

[B05.22]

CITY SPACES

[B05.23] In their attention to questions of locality and spatiality in diaspora studies,

Steckenbiller’s, Györke’s, and Adam’s chapters contribute to a growing body of work on the literary representation of postcolonial cities, offering analyses of localized diasporic readings of city space by Teju Cole, Doris Lessing, and Monica Ali. Steckenbiller uses a critical geographical conceptualization of “place” to foreground the (originary) concept of diaspora as indicative of movement across space, of displacement from a homeland. Shifting focus away from displacement onto emplacement and locality, Steckenbiller expands on what Andreas Huyssen (2003) has termed migration “into other pasts” and uses Cole’s 2011 novel Open City to reexamine diaspora and flesh out the idea of what she describes as “diasporic ways of knowing.” In other words, the reading advanced in this chapter theorizes belonging as a way of knowing, of already knowing, or of getting to know one’s shared cultural present. Specifically, Steckenbiller demonstrates how, in the novel’s creative

Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

DRAFT

interlacing of urban form, past and present, dominant and repressed memory discourses—related to traumatic immigration, colonialism, slavery, and terrorism—Cole’s protagonist is able to claim knowledge and ownership of the city of New York and its larger cultural context, including the larger historical, political, and cultural narratives making up the city post-9/11. This is a reciprocal process that constructs the protagonist and first-person narrator’s unique sense of diasporic belonging within a city whose historical layers refuse to be easily read and known. Walking and storytelling hence materialize as ways of diasporic knowing that are co-constitutive with a locale (in this case, New York) that is in itself structured like (fallible) memory. Finally, the chapter argues that Cole’s Open City is not just a critique of cosmopolitanism but also, above all, a provocative commentary on migration, in which the narrator’s combined disengagement and unreliability expose both the possibilities and shortcomings of diasporic ways of knowing as they coincide with the urban space. Likewise drawing on literary representations of space but specifically on [B05.24] the construction of imaginative urban geographies in Doris Lessing’s London fiction, Györke’s contribution highlights the role of affect in diasporic ways of encountering the city. In the field of psychology, and especially psychoanalysis, affect has long referred to our subjective experience of feelings. The turn to affect in recent conversations about diaspora nevertheless reflects the rise of categories like desire, sentimentality, trauma, and shame as cultivated diasporic ways of knowing that coexist alongside the “rational.” The idea of the aesthetic politics of affect, or “affecting the city,” in Györke’s expression, is explored through a gendered analysis of Lessing’s imaginative London geographies, positing affect as a means through which we might approach relational diasporic encounters—explicitly, of affective displacement and dislocatedness—in the context of the city. While offering new interventions into theories of flânerie, this chapter draws on Elizabeth Wilson (1991) and Janet Wolff (1995) to advance the argument that reimagining urban space as a creative and gendered location is a strategy productively used by diasporic individuals to bypass affective displacement. Adam also draws on theories of affect in her chapter on the everyday in [B05.25] Monica Ali’s 2003 novel Brick Lane. She puts forward the notion of “affective knowledge” as a unique way of understanding and experiencing place through the everyday emotions of diasporic experience. Traversing the public and private spaces of Ali’s novel, Adam’s chapter argues for the importance of “micropolitical moments” in conveying meaning in diasporic narratives. For Adam, affect refers not only to a kind of experience but also a particular mode of narration that is prevalent in contemporary diasporic fiction. In the case of migrant experience, she argues, the role of affective knowledge is particularly heightened because language and cultural differences prevent easy movement through a place. In the novel’s domestic set-

DRAFT

Introduction

ting, Adam focuses on how affective narration is used to convey the protagonist Nazneen’s sense of loneliness in a new place as well as the gendered constraints of her daily life. In this mode, emotion, and thus narrative meaning, is conveyed through Nazneen’s relationship to interior space and particularly resonant objects. Similarly, her movement through different London spaces produces affective responses that provide her with knowledge of the city’s inner workings, especially its class hierarchy, which would otherwise be inaccessible to her as a recent immigrant who speaks almost no English. Using Ali’s novel as a case study, Adam argues for an increased attention to affect in diasporic writing more broadly as a countercurrent to the tendency for scholars to focus on the “extraordinary” in narratives of migration. [B05.26] As worlds create writing, writings in turn create worlds. Premised on the idea that space produces diasporic attachments, the three chapters in the section “City Spaces” explore how the lived spaces of cities, with their very particular geographies, traditions of spatial usage, cultural identities, histories of migration, and colonial legacies, affect diasporic identity construction. As the cultural geographer Brian Osborne notes, “numbers, words, maps and diagrams have often failed to capture the essence of the place, and only partially represented the people living there,” while literature builds an “imaginary physical and psychic terrain . . . [making] accessible to us social fabrics, harmonies continuities and changes” (1996, 38). Angharad Saunders, writing within the scope of cultural geography, also stresses that “some of the more recent and incisive texts on the relationship between geography and literature come not from geography but from literary studies,” arguing that this poses questions about the “resilience of geography’s literary imagination and the motivations which shape geographical engagement with a text” (2010, 436). As Steckenbiller, Györke, and Adam show, such literary authors as Cole, Lessing, and Ali have also created a geographical knowledge by the way they have narrated the city, a particular “way of reading” both New York and London, of telling stories about these urban spaces through the lenses of diasporic individuals. [B05.27]

PRECARIOUS AND SILENT DIASPORAS

[B05.28] A frequent critique of the term diaspora has been the way that it has at times

been used as a catchall for all forms of movement and dislocation, including the symbolic and discursive. Though theoretically productive, such broad brushstrokes have the effect of obscuring material differences between and within diasporas. There are huge experiential divides between, for example, an undocumented migrant, a commonwealth immigrant, and a visa-bearing professional, even if they all originate from the same country and share cultural and linguistic ties. For Sudesh Mishra (2006), this inattention to

Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

DRAFT

structural inequalities has been one of the blind spots of diaspora theory. He argues that, “once we accept that a series of irreconcilable contradictions exist at the first dimension of transnational economics, then the path from it to the second dimension of social relations and thence to the third dimension of cultural and aesthetic effects can hardly be straightforward” (153). In other words, we cannot fully unpick the discursive effects of diasporic movements without first appreciating distinctions of class and circumstances of departure and arrival. A similar critique has been lodged regarding diaspora scholarship’s inattention to gender difference, as many of its most influential critical works take little or no account of how women’s experiences of migration might differ from men’s. 9 While more effort has since been made to explore women’s diasporic narratives, it remains fruitful to consider how the specific embodied diasporic experience of women might in turn complicate how we understand diaspora as a critical concept. The chapters in the final section of this book, “Precarious and Silent [B05.29] Diasporas,” focus on forms of migration that sit uncomfortably within diaspora scholarship and thus interrogate the boundaries and orthodoxies of the term. Deandrea’s chapter centers on those migrants who bear the brunt of globalizing forces. He places these “new slaves” in conversation with older forms of commonwealth migration that fit more easily into conceptions of diaspora as a collective movement that finds solidarity through cultural and linguistic ties. Through an exploration of two recent British diasporic novels, Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand (2008) and Caryl Phillips’s In the Falling Snow (2009), Deandrea argues that these new forms of migration, stemming from deeply entrenched global inequalities, are by contrast characterized by fragmentation, isolation, and a lack of community. However, rather than throwing out the concept of diaspora altogether, Deandrea argues for a new, more flexible definition that is able to accommodate these tensions. Deandrea’s chapter focuses on two kinds of migration that have become increasingly relevant in Britain in recent years: forced migration, as experienced by Cleave’s young Nigerian narrator/protagonist Little Bee, and mass migration from Eastern Europe, represented by the Polish character Danuta in Phillips’s novel. Both groups of migrants, Deandrea argues, are driven into an underground, atomized, and “ghostly” existence as a result of Britain’s criminalizing immigration policies and exploitative and casualized labor market and therefore resist inclusion into the normal conceptual frame of diaspora studies. At the same time, Deandrea points to how, in Phillips’s novel in particular, the experiences of these new migrants have subtle resonances with older, more established diasporas in Britain. Deandrea argues that such textual reverberations highlight similar struggles and thus point to the urgent need for a new diasporic approach to British new slaveries. Karen D’Souza’s chapter is concerned with a more conventional diaspo- [B05.30] ra, that of postindependence South Asian migration, but argues for a reas-

DRAFT

Introduction

sessment of how women in particular are positioned and read within diaspora discourse. With reference to two well-known novels, Kamila Shamsie’s Salt and Saffron (2000) and Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2003, see also chapter 7), D’Souza argues for an approach to diaspora that takes account of women’s specific histories of displacement rather than subsuming their stories under larger narratives of race, nation, or faith. Redeploying Gayatri Spivak’s concept, D’Souza puts forward the notion of a “diasporic subaltern” who is marginalized through gender as well as class within diasporic metanarratives. With Spivak, D’Souza exposes processes of silencing but proposes a richer engagement with silence as something that interacts with voice rather than simply standing as its opposite. Like Deandrea, D’Souza interrogates a feature that has come to define diaspora as a critical concept, namely the longing for a mythologized homeland. She argues that the women’s diasporic texts she explores refuse such an identification and instead, by deploying various forms of gendered silence, negotiate identity in relation to a variety of transnational spaces. [B05.31]

CONCLUSION

[B05.32] It is more incumbent than ever upon us as diaspora theorists to reiterate the

importance of the field of study in relation to new contexts and new modes of contestation produced within, by, or as a result of diasporic communities. These new contexts and modes demand a more inclusive framework to accommodate the increasing complexity of diasporas. New Directions in Diaspora Studies cuts across disciplinary fields in its focus on diaspora as a pivotal concept in contemporary debates on ethnicity, culture, and society, presenting an approach derived distinctively from the humanities. Like Evans, Braziel, and Mannur’s edited collection, ours similarly benefits from a theoretical underpinning in postcolonial studies rather than simply addressing the particular historical perspectives of a series of well-documented diasporas. [B05.33] We seek to fill a critical vacuum by generating a theoretical dialogue around recent literary and cultural means of representing and imagining diasporas. Because these representations—taking place as performance or in such evolving genres as the sci-fi novel—have been understudied to date, their examination opens new and interesting perspectives on the field of diaspora studies. By extending the scholarship into this extremely dynamic field of research, this volume establishes new avenues for further investigation on emergent topics that are rapidly expanding. By juxtaposing diverse texts from different geopolitical locations to bring to light new representations of diaspora—some of which also correspond to oppositional practices, subjectivities, and visions of collectivity that fall outside mainstream narra-

Ana Cristina Mendes, Lucinda Newns, and Sarah Ilott

DRAFT

tives—the analyses presented in this volume are topical, exploratory, and ground-breaking in their conceptualizations and applications of diaspora theory. NOTES

[B05.34]

1. Some of the most iconic and influential contributions from this period include Avtar Brah’s Cartographies of Diaspora (1996), James Clifford’s Routes (1997), Robin Cohen’s Global Diasporas (2008), and Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic (1993). See also the founding issue of the journal Diaspora (Tölölyan 1991), which was hugely important for galvanizing the field. 2. Brah coins the term diaspora space as the site at which concepts of diaspora, border, and dis/location intersect “as a point of confluence of economic, political, cultural and psychic processes” (1996, 208). While the term diaspora references only the “scattered” or “dispersed,” Brah suggests that diaspora space deconstructs oppositions between migrants and indigenes, as it is inhabited and constructed by both those who have traveled and those who have stayed put. For Brah, diaspora spaces are geographically located sites of confluence, and her first point of reference is England, the collective imagining of which is reinscribed through the intersection of many diasporas and their relationships to each other, as well as to the “dominating” culture. This “theoretical creolization” pushes against center/periphery or majority/minority dichotomous modes of thinking. 3. Since 2000, there have been only a handful of major publications that have sought to map the state of diaspora studies as a field. The most notable of these is Braziel and Mannur’s Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader (2003). See also Sudesh Mishra (2006) and Branche (2015) (with a focus on the African diaspora), as well as edited collections by Keown, Murphy, and Proctor (2009) and Sell (2012) (with a focus on diaspora as metaphor). Wilson, Sandru, and Welsh’s Rerouting the Postcolonial (2010) is not explicitly about diaspora but engages much of its theoretical terrain in conversation with other related terms, especially cosmopolitanism. 4. See Sell (2012) for a recent celebratory example of diaspora’s deterritorializing possibilities. For some examples of scholarship that take a more critical view, see Krishnaswamy (1995), Procter (2003), Tölölyan (2007), and Laura Chrisman’s (2003) essay “Journeying to Death” in her book Postcolonial Contraventions. 5. See, for example, actor Riz Ahmed’s comparison between going through security checks at airports and auditioning for roles in the United Kingdom and the United States as an actor with Pakistani ancestry:

[B05n1]

[B05n2]

[B05n3]

[B05n4]

[B05n5]

You see, the pitfalls of the audition room and the airport interrogation room are the same. They are places where the threat of rejection is real. They are also places where you are reduced to your marketability or threat-level, where the length of your facial hair can be a deal-breaker, where you are seen, and hence see yourself, in reductive labels—never as “just a bloke called Dave.” The post 9/11 Necklace tightens around your neck. (2016, 162) 6. Hussain explores specific cultural productions by British South Asian women for the purpose of demonstrating the ways in which this group of cultural producers have mapped changes in notions of Asian-ness as a homogenous category of diaspora. 7. In considering the perceptions of Muslims regarding issues of immigration, class, gender, and national identity, as well as the impact of 9/11, Rehana Ahmed, Peter Morey, and Amina Yaqin’s (2012) collection offers a localized approach to diaspora that is closely aligned with tensions between religious and secular models of citizenship and its manifestation of these tensions as conflict between generations. As the authors note in the introduction, “The writers considered in our volume map the results of such connections while also exploring the tensions, compromises, acceptance and rejection that colour experience from a Muslim perspective” (3).

[B05n6] [B05n7]

DRAFT

[B05n8]

[B05n9]

Introduction 8. Gopinath’s (2005) monograph argues for the uses of queer, feminist, transnational theory for understanding South Asian and South Asian diasporic identities and cultural production. By bringing queer theory to bear on ideas of diaspora, with a distinct focus on queer female diasporic subjectivity, the book produces a nuanced understanding of diaspora and has been highly influential in the field of diaspora studies. Gopinath’s theoretical framework was transformative and far reaching. The book examines South Asian diasporic literature, film, and music in order to suggest alternative ways of conceptualizing community and collectivity across disparate geographic locations. 9. See, for example, Floya Anthias’s (1998) critique of Gilroy’s theory of diaspora. By contrast, Brah’s (1996) reading of the term and her concept of diaspora space provides the possibility of a more differentiated (because materially located) approach to diasporic experience.

DRAFT

Part I

Performance

DRAFT

Chapter One

Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts Spectating Otherness at Home and Abroad Miki Flockemann

[1.0] [1.1]

[1.2]

We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us. 1

The transnational turn in diaspora studies has shifted the preoccupation with belonging in terms of an originary homeland to becoming part of a diasporic community that has to forge new affiliations. The operation of cultural memory plays a significant role in this process of becoming because, as Jan Assman reminds us, cultural memory is bound up with identity: “One has to remember in order to belong” (2008, 114). Of interest here is how restaging traumatic histories as performance events can trigger cultural memory within diasporic communities: this can generate a powerful, at times unexpected, or even strategic recall of collective and imagined identities. However, it can also unlock the possibility of new, transcultural modes of diasporic identification. Given that performing diaspora can create a virtual (and potentially transcultural) contact zone as a live event involving spectators and performers, I argue that the intersecting lenses of diaspora and performance studies can provide fresh insights into the operation of cultural memory within diasporic communities. Three interrelated conceptual frameworks that have gained currency in both diaspora and performance studies inform the questions addressed here. For example, how does the way diaspora communities are constituted influence the performance of cultural memory as a means of mobilizing “identifications” rather than identities (Clifford 1994)? Further, bearing in mind the contested and heterogeneous nature of diaspora communities (Brah 1996,

Miki Flockemann

184), can the liminality of the performance space as a contact zone provide insights into the construction of diasporic subjectivities? Finally, what are the implications for transcultural performance practices given the shift from diasporic marginality to cross-continental linkages and the possibility of making one’s home in the host land? (Tsagarousianou 2004, 58) In addressing these issues, I explore the performance aesthetics employed in two site-specific productions that revisit the infamous Human Zoo exhibitions that traveled Europe in the nineteenth century. For example, the contradictory spectator responses to Action Zoo Humain by Chokri Ben Chikha and Brett Bailey’s controversial Exhibit A and Exhibit B illustrate the complex operation of cultural memory in diasporic contexts. However, before exploring responses (especially in the case of Bailey’s work) that range from an essentialized fixing of diasporic cultural memory to envisioning new transcultural affiliations, it is first necessary to identify what cultural memory entails and how transculturalism is understood to operate in theatrical performance. This offers alternative perspectives on how the term is more commonly understood in relation to diaspora and transnationalism.

DRAFT

[1.3]

COLLECTIVE, COMMUNICATIVE, AND CULTURAL MEMORY IN DIASPORA COMMUNITIES

[1.4]

In questioning whether a diaspora population consisting of diverse groupings bound by common national or cultural affiliations can be described as a community per se, George Little concludes that the way popular culture, individual mobility, and communications technology overlap with the retention of a “reservoir” of histories and values ultimately lends support to the notion of a diaspora community (2009, n.p.). Moreover, James Clifford suggests that making a home in the host land by establishing “decentred lateral connections” is as significant as the unifying discourse of a return to an originary homeland (1994, 306), while Kim Butler (2001) distinguishes between ideological diasporas shaped by culture and geographic diasporas shaped by ancestry. As Butler puts it, unlike geographic diasporas, individuals can “join” ideological diaspora communities (198–99). In addition, she asserts that interrelationships between members of diaspora communities, independent of homeland contact, are vital to forging diaspora consciousness (207). These observations have a bearing on the discussion to follow by drawing attention to the role of the popular media in disseminating notions of diaspora communities based on ideological and other lateral connections; this in turn informs the processes of “identifications” explored here. It has been well documented that, for diasporic communities, memory has a particular significance in establishing communal belonging based on shared histories (see Baronian, Besser, and Jansen 2007). Given that the restaged

[1.5]

[1.6]

DRAFT

[1.7]

Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts

histories discussed here are traumatic, responses to the performance events should be read in the light of claims that the collective memory of the traumatic past grounds the identity formation of a people (Eyerman 2001, 3). Drawing a distinction between collective, social, and cultural memory, Assman (1995) notes that there are two overlapping spheres to cultural memory, the communicative and the cultural. 2 While communicative memory is associated with everyday communications that can affirm a variety of self-images, cultural memory is “characterised by its distance from the everyday. . . . [I]t has its fixed point” (Assman 1995, 126–27). Assman explains that these “fixed points” of cultural memory are located in events that happened in the past; however, the memory of these events can resurface sometimes unexpectedly and traumatically. These fixed points of cultural memory are sustained in two ways: namely, through “cultural formation (texts, rites, monuments) and institutional communications (recitation, practices, observance)” (Assman 1995, 129). In turn, an encounter with such cultural formations (in this case, the performance event) can trigger and crystallize a collective experience “whose meaning, when touched upon, may suddenly become accessible across millennia” (Warburg in Assman 1995, 129). Of interest here is how the performances by Ben Chikha and Bailey, which restage cultural memory events, operate in both overlapping spheres. On the one hand, they evoke communicative and collective memory in everyday contexts that speak to the spectator’s own self-image, and on the other hand, they also operate as more-static cultural formations where meanings are “crystallized” and apparently unexpectedly become accessible in ways that can be unsettling. Drawing on Fischer-Lichter’s (2009) description of the in-betweenness of the performance space that situates both performers and spectators as participating subjects, I compare the strongly contrasting ways in which the directors relocate, restage, and critique historical Othering projects. Responses to such contemporary revisions in a globalizing world marked by strong diaspora consciousness highlight a number of issues. For instance, Clifford’s comments about the strategic deployment of cultural forms in diasporic contexts, which can either accommodate or resist the norms of host countries (1994, 307), are borne out by the divergent spectator responses to the two works. This is because the spectators’ own self-awareness as members of what Butler calls an operative diaspora community comes into play in reacting to and interpreting the performance events (2001, 207).

Miki Flockemann

DRAFT

PERFORMANCE AS VIRTUAL CONTACT ZONE: RESTAGING TRAUMATIC PASTS

[1.8]

Looking at performance itself as an “action” and not merely a representation of an action has evolved as a dominant trend in recent performance studies (see Dolan 2005). In light of this, any attempt to explore transculturality as an aspect of contemporary performance aesthetics should be responsive to what the performance “does,” not just what it is. This is especially challenging when, as is the case here, we have works dealing with traumatic images of historically Othered peoples. For example, Ben Chikha, a Belgian artist and cultural activist of Tunisian descent, adapted the framework of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Hearings (TRC) to stage an inquiry into, but also a commemoration of, the centennial of the now-infamous Human Zoo exhibits featured at the 1913 World’s Fair in Ghent. The work, Action Zoo Humain: De Waarheid’s Commissie [The Truth Commission] (codirected with Ben Chikha’s brother Zouzou), explores questions of redress when a descendant of the 1913 Senegalese village exhibited approaches the commission to ask for the return of the bones of his ancestor who died in Belgium. However, the controversial South African director, Brett Bailey, adopts a very different performance aesthetic in his critique of colonialism in German South West Africa and the Belgian Congo. Bailey’s Exhibit A and Exhibit B recycle nineteenth-century ethnographic representations of human subjects by restaging them as live and intimate one-on-one encounters in which the performer/exhibit returns the gaze of the onlooker. Additional temporal layers to the local context of Ben Chikha’s Action Zoo Humain were provided by situating the first performances in a nineteenth-century colonial courthouse in Ghent. A year later, in 2014 (coincidentally the twentieth anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic election), Action Zoo Humain traveled to Cape Town, where it was staged in a building that resonated with local historical significance as the site of the apartheid-era segregated Tricameral Parliament’s House of Representatives (i.e., representing those racially categorized as being of mixed descent or “colored”). 3 The posters advertising Action Zoo Humain during its Cape Town run included two captions that spoke to some of the issues raised here. The first asked, “Is this a theatre show, a performance, or is it in fact a real Truth Commission? Terminology doesn’t matter. It is an event that leaves all participants seriously confused.” The second is echoed in the epigraph to this chapter: “We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.” In fact, far more intense confusion accompanied Bailey’s Exhibit A and later Exhibit B when it toured Europe from 2010, culminating in the cancellation of performances at the Barbican Theatre in London in 2014. However, when Exhibit A was performed in South Africa at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2012, there appeared to be less contestation and confu-

[1.9]

[1.10]

DRAFT

Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts

[1.11]

sion, and this seems worth exploring in terms of the differences between local and diasporic audiences elsewhere in Europe, especially Britain, because the most vehement and sustained critique came from there. However, the majority of those who protested against the exhibit had not witnessed the performance as a live event and were responding to the photographic images of the individual exhibits. This needs to be taken into account, as well as the fact that Bailey’s work was presented locally in the performance arts category rather than theatrical performance, discussed in more detail later. But before tackling what these two performances in effect “do” in triggering, challenging, reaffirming, or even denying cultural memory, the following concerns need to be taken into account. First, how is the term transcultural or transculturality to be understood in relation to theatrical or staged performances? Second, how does this speak to debates on the rights and ethics of representing Othered or marginalized communities? Third, how does this play out differently at home as opposed to in diasporic contexts? Finally, I speculate on some of the reasons for differently located responses to the same work in relation to transculturality as performance aesthetic.

[1.12]

TRANSCULTURALISM AS PERFORMANCE AESTHETIC

[1.13]

The terms transcultural and transculturalism acquire diverse inflections within different disciplinary fields. Ortiz (1947) maps the evolution of the term to identify the transformative process undergone by a society in acquiring foreign cultural material, while Julie Codell notes that it was seen as a “two-way process involving loss and recovery” (2012, 7). Over time, one can track a shift, as pointed out by Afef Benessaieh (2010), from the initial utopian or universalist approach that focused on commonality and the creation of new (transcultural) forms to the notion of a continuum that stressed a transcendent cohesiveness (a cultural imaginary) in diasporic contexts. More recently, transculturalism is seen as a pluralistic concept that “highlights the mutuability of cultures, their embeddeness and relatedness.” This is contrasted with intercultural as a “dualising and more antagonistic” term (Benessaieh 2010, 26). Interculturalism is thus associated with cultures in conflict or negotiation with one another in ways that suggest that cultural boundaries remain intact. However, even within particular disciplines, such as performance studies, transculturalism remains a slippery concept. In attempting to pin down the distinction between intercultural and transcultural theater, Lo and Gilbert claim, “Put simply, intercultural theatre is a hybrid devised from an intentional encounter between cultures and performing traditions,” while transcultural performance “transcends the culture-specific codification, and is thus more universal” (2002, 36). Ric Knowles, however, argues that intercultural

[1.14]

Miki Flockemann

is a more appropriate term than transcultural because he feels it is important “to focus on the contested, unsettling and often unequal spaces between cultures that can function as a performative site of negotiation” (2009, viii). His observation points to the performative space as a productive contact zone for both trans- and intercultural engagement. Given that “[t]heatre-making, or performance itself, is the thing: not a product, but a site of human experience both for the performers and audience” (Morris 2015, 33), I opt to look at the potentially productive transcultural processes at work here rather than attempt to identify whether the work can be categorized as transcultural theatre. In other words, I use a transcultural lens to explore praxis and reception because, as Codell points out, the transcultural process can produce receptions that are “complex, even contradictory and inharmonious” (2012, 7). My focus is on the performative space operating as a virtual contact zone—even a deterritorializing space—which does not efface difference and unequal relations (a concern noted by Knowles 2009). At the same time, I tease out how the performance aesthetics operate as cultural memory, first in Action Zoo Humain and then Bailey’s Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

DRAFT

[1.15]

THE OVERLAPPING OF COMMUNICATIVE AND CULTURAL MEMORY

[1.16]

In Action Zoo Humain, the historical significance of the venues in both the Belgian and South African performances expands the performative space as a contact zone stretching from nineteenth-century colonialism in Europe to apartheid and the post-TRC era in South Africa. In the performance I attended in Cape Town, there were different levels of engagement in terms of the spaces occupied by performers (see also Hutchison 2015), some of whom were not actors but individuals, as it were, playing themselves. 4 While the commissioners were seated on a raised platform, with the governor elevated behind them on an ornate chair used by the previous speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senegalese descendant who was submitting his application to the commission occupied the space in between, surrounded by spectators on three sides when addressing the commissioners. In fact, his first address was performed wordlessly as a powerfully embodied eruption into the space using impassioned drumming and dance. The structural formality of the proceedings was stage-managed by the directors Chokri and Zouzou Ben Chikha (dressed in black suits and sneakers) as they welcomed and then led each audience member to a seat, acting as a kind of conduit between commissioners and performers/participants. This created a sense of being in a safely “managed” space, yet it was of course also a distancing technique, as it made one aware that this was a performance, also highlighted by the fact

[1.17]

DRAFT

[1.18]

Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts

that at times the proceedings were conducted in Flemish with English subtitles projected onto a screen. However, the audience was suddenly unsettled toward the end of the performance, when an increasingly irate and vocal performer/participant from Morocco accused the commission of ongoing racial bias and berated Belgian officials for xenophobic assimilationist policies in their treatment of foreigners like himself. He also accused the dancer from Senegal for pandering to European notions of the African exotic by “dancing like a monkey” (which the dancer vehemently rejected, justifying his right to cultural self-expression in memory of his ancestors). As these exchanges became increasingly heated, the dissenting participant from Morocco had to be forcibly ejected from the hearings after becoming involved in a tense physical scuffle with codirector Zouzou Ben Chikha, leaving spectators uncertain (confused) about whether to intervene. 5 Furthermore, directly after the performance, the directors asked spectators to vote on whether they should return the passports of their “foreign” performers, including the Senegalese applicant, because during the run of the show in Ghent, some artists had taken the opportunity to “disappear” into Europe in order to join diaspora communities there. 6 At this point, the Cape Town audience was made compellingly aware of their own complicity in Othering processes, especially given the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa against so-called foreign Africans and ever-more stringent state-engineered mechanisms devised for controlling and curtailing the flow of Africans from elsewhere on the continent into South Africa. For South African audiences, the work thus offered multiple subject positions as points of identification, even though the cultural memory performed was that of diasporic communities in Belgium, past and present. These multiple points of identification were not only the product of the self-reflexive performance aesthetic that was careful to include contesting points of view of the events commemorated, including that of the local audience, but also because of the overlapping fields of everyday communicative and more institutionalized cultural memory. For instance, the archival images and expert witness reports served as a form of cultural commemoration in affirming the legacy of traumatic histories of Othering in nineteenth-century Europe, while the format of a formal Truth Commission spoke directly to the more recent political atrocities uncovered during the TRC hearings in South Africa. At the same time, in the performative contact zone established in the production, issues of personal complicity became palpable when the audience was asked to choose whether to return the passports of non-Belgian performers. Here, the everyday notions of self-image in relation to Others were challenged by the encounter between the stage managers and the angry Moroccan-Belgian who refused to accept the way minorities are treated, thus reaffirming the claim that the performance “is an event that leaves all participants seriously confused,” as promised by the poster advertising the production. At the same

Miki Flockemann

DRAFT

time, these incidents highlight the way Othering processes are still officially sanctioned in the present. THE POTENTIAL AND PITFALLS OF TRANSCULTURAL CONTACT ZONES

[1.19]

In Bailey’s work, the contact zone operated at a different level of engagement. The exhibits were originally conceived for European audiences, “to confront them with a history they have hidden and forgotten,” 7 and Bailey noted that the work would resonate differently with South African audiences (which has certainly proved true in view of recent events). The caution that “[w]e ought to evaluate transcultural theatre less on its ability to teach us something about the Other, and more on its ability to teach us something about ourselves” (Refskou 2011, 5) speaks directly to the potential and pitfalls of transcultural performance aesthetics attempted by Bailey. For instance, the South African performance of Exhibit A was housed in a venue usually used for educational purposes. On arrival, spectators were each given a numbered card and led into a large classroom to wait before being called to view the exhibit in an adjoining building. 8 One by one, audience members were then ushered by guides into separate rooms, each with an installation featuring a living tableau of colonial violation from German South West Africa and elsewhere. As a spectator, one is immediately struck by the ritualized aspect of the way each living vignette is apparently frozen in time, either in a carefully constructed natural scenario or an incongruous domestic setting or one where the formal aesthetic is juxtaposed by the shock of the brutal inhumanity of what is depicted. The subjects look directly at you, who are alone with the live exhibit. 9 Each room thus becomes a contact zone that operates as a transcultural space. Despite the culturally loaded staging of the exhibits, the encounter between you and the performer is dominated by their eyes, which hold yours in a locked gaze, as if for that moment cutting through all the trappings of culture, race, gender, and class: in that moment, there are just the two of you as fellow humans. By looking directly back at the spectator, the hierarchy of the gaze is overturned, and Bailey claims it is the spectators who are actually on display. Needless to say, the effectiveness of this (potentially transcultural) encounter is determined by how open the spectator is to engaging fully with the performer’s gaze and to looking back. When you are led down to the next level of the exhibition, you encounter strangers from here and now in a stark reiteration of the colonial horror depicted above, but in this case, the scenarios are more familiar, as in everyday encounters that might occur in urban places but deterritorialized and “unhomed” by being labeled as exhibits, such as when you almost bump into a statuesque Congolese refugee standing stock still at eye level on the stairs; he

[1.20]

DRAFT

[1.21]

Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts

looks at you intently, and the curatorial label reads “Found Object.” In this way, Bailey’s approach is similar to Ben Chikha’s in highlighting the trajectory of colonialism in the everyday present. In the final exhibit, a middleaged woman of color sits on a chair in front of three ever-flushing toilets with an apartheid-era sign: “Non-Whites Only” [“Nie Blankes Alleenlik”]. Unlike the other “exhibits” on display, she is positioned closer to us, and her gaze is less intent in that she looks away from time to time. One is acutely aware of her proximity, which feels almost unbearable, and one leaves the installation speechless. By having the spectators encounter the exhibits who gaze back at them one at a time, Bailey forces a kind of personal recognition as spectators become aware of a shared complicity in Othering processes simply by virtue of being spectators. There was some criticism of this strategy, as it was seen as aiming at eliciting white or liberal guilt for a certain demographic of the generally diverse audiences in the South African exhibit. However, the performers did not seem to be victims or accusers, as some spectators have claimed. Instead, they forced spectators who were open to the experience to acknowledge a common humanity and recognize the danger of the pernicious quasi-scientific discourses of race that underpinned the colonial enterprise. This is in line with the nature of the transcultural performative encounter that, as cautioned earlier, tells one more about oneself than about the other (Refskou 2011, 5).

[1.22]

THE ETHICS AND AESTHETICS OF PERFORMING THE HUMAN ZOO

[1.23]

Before evaluating some of the contradictory responses to how cultural memory was performed in Bailey’s exhibits locally and in relation to responses from diasporic communities in Europe and the United Kingdom, one should consider some remarks on the ethics of performing the Human Zoo. For instance, given the unequal and diverse demographics and different locations where the work has been performed, it follows that the reactions of individual spectators will be unpredictable and could vary strongly; one cannot divorce the aesthetics from the ethics of restaging the Othering of already (or still) Othered groups. This is evident in the ongoing (and sometimes circular) debate on the rights of representation. For instance, Rustom Bharucha claims that, in view of the unequal power dynamics at work, privileged Western interculturalists do not unproblematically have the right to represent others. However, it has also been argued that following Bhurucha’s prescriptions could “produce hermetically sealed metacultures which do not exchange, trade or evolve” (O’Toole 2012, 3).

Miki Flockemann

DRAFT

But even if one looks at this territory as a contact zone of de- and reterritorializing processes, some uncomfortable issues need to be addressed, as indicated by the critique raised by Kehinde Andrews, a sociologist and activist at Birmingham University, who came out strongly in favor of boycotting Bailey’s exhibit. According to Andrews (2014), Exhibit B “reproduces the idea that black people are passive agents to be used as conduits for white people to speak to one another.” He claims that, while opposing artistic freedom is problematic, “Exhibit B is a prime example of ‘art’ that crosses the line into racial exploitation and abuse, creating a grotesque parody of suffering played out by voiceless black cadavers. If you pay to see it you are colluding in the worst kind of racial abuse; that which is done in the pretence (or worse the belief) that it is progressive” (Andrews 2014). Although Andrews has clearly not seen the exhibit (as evident in his reference to “black cadavers”), his comment touches on two points that speak to the local response to Exhibit A at the Grahamstown Festival in 2012: his reference to aesthetic “repetition” in the claim that the exhibit reproduces the idea of black passivity and lack of agency, as well as his claim that going to see the exhibit is a form of collusion or complicity with racial abuse. In fact, Ben Chikha himself takes issue with Bailey’s Exhibit B on similar grounds, noting that the performers are presented as passive and silent, without agency, and that Bailey, by adopting a “high moral ground” leaves no room in between for negotiation, complexity, or reflection. It is also clear that, in his own highly mediated Action Zoo Humain, Ben Chikha is very careful to avoid such pitfalls; he concludes a jointly authored paper on staging human zoos, “[W]e realised that it takes courage and perspicacity on the part of any artist ethnographer to venture into the postcolony without committing the fundamental errors of (bourgeois) ventriloquism and (human zoo) staging and caging” (Ben Chikha and Arnaut 2013, 679). However, it is significant how this same metaphor is picked up in a discussion by South African director Mark Fleishman on how the performance as live event is, in effect, “beyond capture” (Fleishman 2015). Viewing Bailey’s performance in terms of an intangible intersubjective encounter that is “beyond capture” challenges the critique of ventriloquism and fixing images that Ben Chikha and Arnout object to in Exhibit B. At the same time, this highlights the dissenting views on Exhibit B even within the diaspora community, as illustrated in a debate between Stella Odunlami and Kehinde Andrews (2014) in the opinion section of the Guardian. As noted earlier, Andrews supports the successful national campaign that resulted in a 23,000-strong petition, marches, and articles urging a boycott of the exhibit, while Odunlami is an artist who played the role of Found Object Number 2, a twenty-five-year-old Nigerian asylum seeker. Odunlami challenges Andrews on the fact that he judged the racist intent of the work without actually experiencing it as a performance; she insists that the accusation that this was yet another narrative desecrating

[1.24]

DRAFT

Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts

the memory of our ancestors was “simply not true.” In fact, she states, “It honours them. It denies the spectator and the performer the luxury of hiding. . . . It is brutal, unforgiving and unapologetic, restoring humanity to the faceless, acknowledging the centuries of atrocities upon which Europe is built.” Further, in response to claims that those who participated are mere “puppets,” she retorts, “It is not your job to decide what is or isn’t good for me; I am capable of doing so for myself.” Countering Andrews’s argument that “Bailey has arranged an interchangeable set of black bodies into a tableau of his choosing, rendering them voiceless and passive” (which is also the critique of Ben Chikha and Arnaut), Odunlami emphasizes the intersubjective contact zone of performance as a different way of speaking and “voicing”: [1.25]

It is unfair to judge a theatrical installation designed to be seen, felt and heard on a crude two-dimensional photographic (mis-)representation. Most theatregoers know that it is nigh impossible to try to capture the magic that happens in the auditorium when you feel the actor’s gaze meet yours, or feel the heat of their body as they move past you. . . . In Exhibit B the performers were trained to communicate feeling through their eyes from their position of stillness. The quiet of the space is counterbalanced by the beautiful voices of a choir, creating a reverent and reflective atmosphere. The final space of the installation is the reflection room in which the audience could read the actors’ thoughts and motivations for being part of it and record their own responses. To say Brett’s intentions are misplaced is to enter the dangerous territory of censorship of an artist. (Odunlami and Andrews 2014)

[1.26]

Andrews’s response to this is a reiteration of his already-stated premise about the work and a flat refusal to engage with the performative contact zone on the following grounds: “I have never, and will never, see a black and white minstrel show, but I am certain they are racist.” Such an impasse again highlights the unpredictability of the transcultural encounter, as it is dependent on the “openness” of the spectator (and the performer) to engage with one another, which in turn is determined by the diverse processes of identification employed within diaspora communities, as is evident in the opposing responses by Andrews and Odunlami. This brings me back to my final question about the different reactions to Bailey’s Exhibits within and outside South Africa.

[1.27]

EXHIBIT A AND EXHIBIT B AS CRYSTALLIZING AND TRIGGERING CULTURAL MEMORY

[1.28]

As mentioned earlier, the majority of the objections to Bailey’s work stemmed from reactions to the recycled photographic images of the tableaux rather than the performative encounter with living exhibits. The static images

Miki Flockemann

that “capture” or freeze the representation of the living exhibit result in the “fixing” and silenced passivity that Ben Chikha and others object to. However, I argue that looking at Bailey’s performance through an ethnographic lens is itself an attempt at a capturing and caging of sorts. For instance, in the concluding comments of their examination, Ben Chikha and Arnaut refer to their anthropological approach as an analytical instrument “with which we scrutinised Bailey’s Exhibit B” (2013, 678–79). Scrutiny, after all, suggests a pragmatic or scientific assessment based on existing presuppositions rather than an “open” and intersubjective experience of the contact zone produced by the performative encounter, which, as Odunlami described earlier, involves not just seeing and hearing but also feeling the heat of another body as it moves past you (Odunlami and Andrews 2014). This goes some way toward explaining the strongly controversial aspect of Bailey’s project, which, as I suggest, is a product of the (potential) transculturality of this production. Why potential transculturality? First, transcultural performance is fractious and unpredictable; one cannot assume how spectators will react. As Codell (2012, 7) notes, it is by nature contradictory and can elicit conflicting and inharmonious responses because it takes place on an unlevel ground in terms of power relationships (as is evident in the diverse views generated by the performances locally and in Europe). For some spectators (from both the host and the diaspora communities), this involves a (fleeting) awareness of connectedness in the encounter that transcends cultural affiliations and codification; for other spectators, however, it is offensive in the extreme because the embedded cultural codification of the tableaux speaks to the legacy of continuing Othering processes in Europe and South Africa. The performance encounter can thus trigger or crystallize traumatic cultural memories that spectators may reject as inauthentic representations of their communally constructed self-images. The apparent lack of controversy in South Africa, it could be suggested, stems from the fact that the images were more “familiar” in the sense that, following the aftermath of the public hearings at the TRC, South Africans have had to face (though admittedly with varying degrees of engagement) the ongoing legacy of state-engineered brutalities from the apartheid era, as well as their own implicit or explicit complicities in simply living in an extremely unequal (if democratic) society where the majority are still (and highly visibly) economically marginalized: this speaks to the epigraph “We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.” The people who viewed the exhibits would have already had some idea of what they might encounter, and it was shown at an arts festival, after all, where the work was promoted as performance art. Secondly, unlike Ben Chikha’s very carefully self-reflexive approach that allows for a rich plurality of perspectives and agencies to inhabit the perfor-

DRAFT

[1.29]

[1.30]

[1.31]

DRAFT

[1.32]

[1.33]

Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts

mative contact zone, seeing Bailey’s work as performance art—a form first associated with visual artists who wanted to confront the perceived gap between life and art in order to politicize their work—provides an alternative aesthetic framework for reception. Generally speaking, the aim of performance artists is to provoke, unsettle, and even enrage; the spectator becomes the subject, and the performer, the object (see Howell 1999, 64). The problem here, of course, is that performance artists usually objectify their own bodies in provocative ways, while Bailey is objectifying the already objectified. Finally, the primary pitfall of Bailey’s project, in my view, was not in his staging of the exhibits in the first place but in allowing decontextualized images of his carefully staged living exhibits to circulate in the public domain, one assumes for the purposes of publicity. By doing this, the work’s performative layering and potential for a productive (if transient) transculturality in the live event was lost and indeed made banal, as the photographic images inevitably ethnographized the performance, taking away the potential “haunting” effect associated with live performance. As we have seen in Action Zoo Humain, cultural and communicative memory is skillfully mediated through the multiple points of identification and debate characterizing the self-reflexivity of the performance aesthetic; however, cultural memory operated very differently in Bailey’s exhibits. As tableaux vivants, the exhibits were both “fixed points” in commemorating traumatic cultural memory in static cultural formations, yet the performative contact zone of performers facing spectators in an apparently private and present one-on-one encounter challenged the stasis of the memory being performed. Here, too, the communicative memory of the everyday intrudes via the inescapable gaze of the performer. This is what generates the unpredictability of the response, which is typical of the transcultural performance aesthetic. By being situated as a “witness” to the traumatic cultural memory events, the spectator’s emotional responses can range from empathy and awareness of complicity or connection to revulsion, shame, and anger, depending on how the spectator reacts either individually or collectively to the cultural memory that is, as it were, “crystallized” by the exhibit. In turn, this encounter triggers awareness of the spectators’ own selfimage or sense of shared history and also affects the sense of belonging to a minority diasporic community. For instance, placards held up in the protests that led to the closure of the show at the Barbican in 2014 focused on a rejection of depictions of black subjects “in chains and cages,” with posters reading “I am somebody” and “My ancestors were kings and queens” (“‘Complicit Racism’” 2014). This indicates how photographic images of the exhibits prompted a denial of identification with the abject scenarios depicted, as in “this is not who I am,” prompting claims to a counteridentity as descendants of royalty. As Yvette Hutchison (2015) points out (and also seen

Miki Flockemann

DRAFT

in the debate between Andrews and Odunlami), one unexpected consequence has been that in Britain the protests in response to the exhibit provided scope for an important debate about ongoing racialized Othering to take place in the public domain. 10 In turn, this reveals how diaspora communities, despite being heterogeneous in terms of diverse diaspora experiences (in this case, belonging to earlier and later Caribbean diasporas, as well as African and other “black-identified” diasporas across several decades), can be mobilized to claim strategic (if essentialized) identifications with the homeland as a form of resistance and belonging. As Butler notes, this is an example of a diaspora community bound by ideological rather than geographic commonality (2001, 189). MOBILIZING DIASPORA SUBJECTIVITIES THROUGH LIMINALITY AS PERFORMANCE AESTHETIC

[1.34]

Looking at the contrasting aesthetic strategies used in Ben Chikha’s Action Zoo Humain and Bailey’s Exhibit A and Exhibit B, one could speculate that the main difference between them is that Ben Chikha’s self-reflexive approach allowed for a plurality of contesting voices responding to the same event rather than providing scope for unpredictable responses provoked through the unmediated one-on-one encounter with the performer/exhibit, as in Bailey’s work. Given that Action Zoo Humain is such a multilayered and mediated work, it can be described as employing an intercultural rather than transcultural performance mode, in that cultures are intentionally interwoven or juxtaposed with one another (as in the scene where the Senegalese descendant “interrupts” the formality of the hearing in performing a traditional commemoration for his ancestor). As Lo and Gilbert (2002) point out, intercultural theater entails spectators being aware of the intentionality of the encounter between cultures and performing traditions rather than having to grapple with the instability and unpredictability associated with transcultural performance events that transcend cultural codifications. Fischer-Lichter’s (2009) comments on liminality as an aesthetic experience provide an additional perspective on Bailey’s project. She claims that the state of liminal in-betweenness associated with the performative space (or contact zone, as described here) is in effect a worldwide phenomenon in the era of globalization. However, the aesthetic liminality produced in performance is not a transition to another state but can comprise a “particular kind of liminal experience embracing fascination as well as alienation, enchantment as well as reflection” (Fischer-Lichter 2009, 398)—and in the case of Bailey, one could add repulsion—telling one more about ourselves than others. The difference between Ben Chikha’s and Bailey’s productions could

[1.35]

[1.36]

DRAFT

[1.37]

[1.38]

Transcultural Performance in Diasporic Contexts

then also be described in terms of the liminality of the transcultural performance mode. Where does this leave us in terms of approaching these responses to performance events through the intersecting lenses of diaspora and performance studies? As we have seen from the example of Exhibit B, the liminality of the performance space offers scope for diaspora communities (and also host communities) to experience potentially transcultural “moments” in the one-on-one encounter between performer and spectator. But these responses are risky and unpredictable and are determined by the situatedness of the individuals involved, as well as the spectators’ willingness to be open to entering the liminality of the contact zone constructed by the performance event. At the same time, one could argue that the transculturality of the experience is facilitated precisely because it is a virtual rather than a “real” contact zone; in other words, the performative space enables the possibility of transculturality, which is not readily available elsewhere. Moreover, the range of responses triggered by the traumatic cultural memories on display is in keeping with the internal heterogeneity of diaspora communities within which multiple identities and identifications are at work. As noted earlier, individuals can “join” ideological diaspora communities (Butler 2001, 198–99), while, as Assman reminds us, the collective memory of the traumatic past grounds the identity formation of a people (1995, 126–27). In summary, within the performative contact zone, articulations of cultural memory can be mobilized in affirming, challenging, or resisting collective histories as strategies of consolidating identities within diasporic communities. However, the performative contact zone can also be the space where the risky project of transculturality can be experimented with or experienced, albeit fleetingly. Perhaps, rather than seeing these diverse reactions to Bailey’s (confrontational) and Ben Chikha’s (deeply mediated) approaches as being in opposition to one another or locked in an either-or binary, it might be more productive to consider them as problematizing and hence layering one another more thickly when read as being in dialogue with one another. Looked at in this way, perhaps another approach is to view Bailey’s living exhibits as creating sites of mourning for diaspora communities and those participants and spectators who tread openly into the performance’s virtual contact zone.

[1.39]

NOTES

[1n1]

1. This was one of the captions on the poster advertising performances of Action Zoo Humain: De Waarheids Commissie [The Truth Commission] by Chokri and Zouzou Ben Chikha in Cape Town, February 1–3, 2014. 2. Assman (1995) draws on and reworks Maurice Halbwachs’s theory of “collective memory,” as well as Aby Warburg’s independently developed theory of “social memory.”

[1n2]

Miki Flockemann 3. The Tricameral Parliament consisted of three racially codified “houses” that met in separate locations, namely whites in the House of Assembly, coloreds in the House of Representatives, and Indians in the House of Delegates. The building now forms part of the University of the Western Cape, which was originally designated for students classified as “colored” and soon developed into a historically black university from the early 1990s. 4. For instance, the president of the commission was a historian and former governor of Flanders, Herman Balthazar, while Dr. Annelies Verdoolaege, who researched her PhD at the University of the Western Cape on Truth Commissions, participated in her own persona as expert advisor to the commission. 5. This incident became ever more aggressive and physically violent during the course of the run. 6. In fact, at the end of the original run in Ghent, the Senegalese performers actually did abscond, and replacements had to be found. 7. Program note, Grahamstown Festival (2012). Bailey’s original plan was for a trilogy, Exhibit A on German South West Africa, Exhibit B on the Belgian Congo, and Exhibit C on the legacy of slavery and colonialism in Britain. 8. Some of the descriptions of the exhibits and responses to them are drawn from a more detailed account (see Flockemann 2013). 9. The focus on the upper level of the exhibition is mainly on the former German South West Africa, while the lower level includes scenes from contemporary contexts. 10. Hutchison, author of South African Performance and Archives of Memory (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), made this observation during the seminar “Performing Ethnography: Between Word, Image and Context: Contemporary Engagements with Colonialism and Ethnography in the Global Context” at the University of Cape Town, August 3, 2015.

DRAFT

[1n3]

[1n4]

[1n5] [1n6] [1n7] [1n8] [1n9] [1n10]

DRAFT

Chapter Two

Performing Street Art CityLeaks, Affiliation, and Transcultural Diaspora Cathy Covell Waegner

[2.0]

[2.1]

Drawing on theory that supports a concept of diaspora as hybrid, affiliative, and participatory, I offer an analysis of Cologne’s CityLeaks Urban Art Festival, a biennial event that attracts street artists from the Americas, Africa, and Europe, many with affinity to historical black diasporic configurations. The CityLeaks participants see themselves as “hacking” into the urban setting, actively “repositioning” the city walls with both paint and the web, constructively questioning institutional power structures and discriminatory attitudes while interacting in many ways with city inhabitants, choosing to emphasize their role as critical “outsiders” on the street. The influence of the early African American and Hispanic hip-hop graffiti guerrillas with their illegal spray paint cans is strong; the new urban sprayers are encouraged by the city government, however, and the spreading of their painting performance virally via digital networks transposes their work from local wall to global screen. Kai Merten and Lucia Krämer urgently call for theorization about global media at the intersection of postcolonial studies and media studies to come “to grips with the increasingly rapid transnational flows, rhizomatic exchanges and impulses of decentering” involved in twenty-firstcentury media production in connection with postcolonial scholarship’s “oppositional, anti-hegemonic stance against the symbolic and material manifestations of inequality, oppression and exploitation” (2016, 8–10). Attention to the medium of street art produced by globally networked, “outernational” 1 and transcultural unsettlers can contribute to this call. The skin colors of the nomadic, frequently transnational CityLeaks artists and of the figures in their murals present a wide spectrum, often joyfully indeterminate, reflecting ethnic hybridity that offers a broad notion of “black

Cathy Covell Waegner

bodies” in what Isolde Charim terms the “diasporization of society” (Charim and Borea 2012, 15). 2 Wolfgang Welsch’s (1999) radical but seminal theory of transculturality, in which he emphasizes the individual’s constant choosing and negotiation of components of cultural identity, supports a fluid, “outernational” concept of hybridity that moves beyond fixed racial categories. 3 I stress the performative-discursive and processual-temporal in diasporic practices and relate urban art to what Paul Gilroy describes as the “ludic, cosmopolitan energy and the democratic possibilities so evident in the postcolonial metropolis” (2004b, xi). The four to five centuries of hybridization of bodies and culture during and after the Middle Passage have not lost touch with blackness, however. Indeed, the astonishing international hip-hop fervor including the street art component, as mixed and appropriated as it is, pays allegiance to racial and notional blackness. Unlike the Middle Passage diaspora of force and endless pain, the urban art movement is one of engaged choice, of desired attachment, of—to implement Ulrich Beck’s phrase— “cosmopolitanism from below” (2006, 103). 4 The range of black bodies created by urban, transcultural artists for CityLeaks and other similar metropolitan festivals invites consideration of an innovative form of “migrating” in a diaspora based on color with regard not only to ethnicities but also to bright paint. In a ground-breaking study, Stuart Hall points out that the black diasporic condition has only “imaginary” “oneness” because it is actually characterized by “hybridity,” “diversity,” and “transformation” (1990, 233–35). Perhaps we need to adjust this insight in grasping the current cultural diaspora arising from voluntary urban art production and exchanges: the international street artists see hybridity, diversity, and transformation as their preferred route to a solidarity of imagination and engagement. I begin with a background discussion of urban art theory and history, emphasizing street art’s effects of unsettling established structures and, in current times, entangling solid walls and computer monitors. I then present the parameters of the CityLeaks festival and some of the artists with reference to Brian Creech and Anandam Kavoori’s concept of “transcultural mediated subjectivity” (2016, 67–84). I isolate five interconnected functions of the selected street artworks, which I illustrate by analyzing specific examples of the CityLeaks murals and paste-ups. In a fourth step, I demonstrate how the works and the impulses behind them fit in with the diasporic thrusts of discourse, process, and temporality. Finally, I consider the ways the peripatetic, transcultural unsettlers, the present-day hybrid street artists who participate and perform in such urban art festivals as CityLeaks, can be considered to constitute a diaspora of choice and affiliation.

DRAFT

[2.2]

DRAFT

Performing Street Art

[2.3]

UNSETTLING STRUCTURES, INTERMINGLING WALLS, AND SCREENS: URBAN ART THEORY AND HISTORY

[2.4]

Current urban art theory, as in Martin Irvine’s excellent chapter “The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture” in the 2012 Handbook of Visual Culture, supports my emphasis on hybridity, discursive performance, and constant diasporic process. Although Irvine does not deal specifically with ethnicity, he views hybridity (which he calls “post-postmodern”) as permeating the technique, weltanschauung, and distribution of urban art:

[2.5]

Street artists take the logic of appropriation, remix, and hybridity in every direction: arguments, ideas, actions, performances, interventions, inversions, and subversions are always being extended into new spaces, remixed for contexts and forms never anticipated in earlier postmodern arguments. . . . With its ability to embrace multiple urban subcultures and visual styles in a globally distributed practice, street art provides a new dialogic configuration, a postpostmodern hybridity that will continue to generate many new kinds of works and genres. (2012, 240, 256)

[2.6]

Irvine views street art as “intentionally ephemeral” (2012, 235) but influential and retrievable through the internet, “documented almost obsessively with digital photography for the Web” (2012, 235), thus intermingling “walls and screens” (2012, 237). The beginnings of street art as a transgressive underground activity can be placed in the late 1960s with the Philadelphia “tag” writers (name or slogan); the spray paint tag fad quickly moved to New York City, where tags developed into colorful “pieces” on train cars and building facades. The daring graffiti writers of the 1970s—multiethnic from the early days—were part of the burgeoning rapping, break dancing, and DJ-ing culture of the New York City ghettos. The audacity, often illegality, of the artistic act was key. During the early 1980s, several movies fascinated and inspired youthful viewers around the world, including Wild Style (1983). In an interview with Wild Style’s director Charlie Ahearn twenty-five years after the release of the film, he recalls the movie’s international beginnings: he financed his film with a starter grant from the German public television channel ZDF, which was the initial broadcaster of the movie in 1982, followed within a week by the first graffiti pieces on the west side of the Berlin Wall. The movie was screened in cinemas in Japan in 1983, sparking off an incipient hip-hop culture there (Apraku 2008). Transgressive graffiti writing became a mode of expression worldwide for youths, most of them disadvantaged ethnically and economically. In the 1990s, a new generation of young people with conscious and ambitious hip-hop “attitude,” many with art school education, began entering the scene, continuing the agenda of unsettling the commercial orientation of

[2.7]

[2.8]

Cathy Covell Waegner

DRAFT

metropolitan spaces. Street art as alternative mural art emerged in Europe and the Americas, notably Brazil, as well as in Asia. By 2000, a flourishing cosmopolitan network of art practice, projects, and digital documentation was emerging, propelled by web connections and nomadic artists. Despite moving toward respectability, on the whole the muralists deliberately remain outsiders in both senses of the word: they work outdoors, and they audaciously address the established centers of urban power. They view themselves as Other and their engagement with the city and its inhabitants as salutary intervention. Their preferred work locations are either places of urban deterioration or spaces of hyperjammed commercial and regulatory signals, where they seek to reimage the bleakness or to expose the omnipresent stimuli for unreflective consumption and obedience. Of course, their impulses to challenge and shape the script for the city must be balanced by financial subsistence; Julia Reinecke (2007) sees the most effective of these international painters as working productively with their countermessages in a nomadic subculture within the triangular parameters of street, art, and commerce. In CityLeaks, the artists unhypocritically accept the paint donated by the conglomerate AkzoNobel and the monetary support proffered by the municipal government of Cologne. They are not destructive street pirates; rather, they “re-place” the city facades, productively supplying an urban face-lift while challenging—on the street and online—entrenched structures and ideologies. CITYLEAKS: URBAN HACKING WITH COLOR

[2.9]

The CityLeaks festival, now advertised as the largest urban art festival in Europe, 5 was first staged in Cologne in September 2011 by an organization called artrmx e.V., divided into an outdoor phase, during which twenty-seven building facades were painted by (inter)national artists, and a phase of exhibitions in fourteen locations. During the entire twenty-day festival, the public could take part in events and activities, such as tours of live and completed painting sites, workshops, film screenings, music and dance performances, and open discussions. Focus was placed on the Latin American urban art scene, with a number of artists from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. The successful format was retained in September 2013, with at least thirty artists invited to create murals and contribute to exhibitions or perform in the festival activities, which were expanded to include more interactive events, such as “action art” incorporating flash mobs, so-called culture jamming, and a week-long symposium named the “Urban Hacking Academy.” Artists were invited from all over Europe, Africa, and the Americas. More emphasis was placed on direct cooperation with art formations outside Cologne, specifically in Düsseldorf and Hamburg, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Croatia.

[2.10]

[2.11]

DRAFT

[2.12]

Performing Street Art

The festival was rooted more deeply in official circles. The high-profile mural painting broke down the traditional barriers between private art production and public performance, as viewers gathered to engage in the spectacle of the murals emerging from the often derelict walls, frequently interacting with the painters. Co-organizer Iren Tonoian points out that CityLeaks appealed to a cross-generation public; in addition to the expected “under-30” participants, many older people took part in the CityLeaks tours (quoted in Scherer 2014, 13). Ironically, however, the highly positive press reports were accompanied at times by articles on the city expense for repairing unwanted graffiti damage. The 2015 CityLeaks festival took place from September 1 to September 20, with a new theme of the “ideal city.” Events and mural painting took place mostly in Cologne-Mülheim, on the so-called “other side” of the Rhine River inhabited to a large extent by citizens of Turkish descent, the venue of brutal right-wing radical attack, in particular the infamous nail-bombing in June 2004. The 2015 performance of CityLeaks included mural workshops and wall projections, mapping, and poetry slams, as well as a “CityLeaks Congress” to discuss issues of urban living; formats “from below” were emphasized, under the motto “reclaim your city.” 6

[2.13]

PEOPLE OF COLOR: ETHNICITY AND PAINT

[2.14]

Creech and Kavoori investigate “transcultural media products” that “eclipse traditional global/local framings” through persons who give “intelligible form” to “material, semiotic, historical, geographic and political tensions.” They develop the fitting term of mediated transcultural subjectivity to denominate these persons. A spectrum of the artists participating in CityLeaks reveals forms of—to quote Creech and Kavoori again—“hybridized identities that exist within an internationally conceived mode of global exchange” (2016, 67). Aya Tarek is a young Egyptian woman (born in 1989) who has created murals in Alexandria, Beirut, Stuttgart, and Cologne. She embeds her cutting-edge urban art in elaborate “new media” networks and film projects, above all in international support of the small but active and resilient female graffiti artist community in Egypt. Online photos show her at work in Cologne on a hydraulic lift, sketching details on her large mural with a marker. From the thoroughly hybrid land of Brazil, Gais is active in the peripatetic street art scene there and abroad. In a promotion video, he describes his life of movement and constant adjustment as a “grafiteiro”: “One minute you’re in your home city, then you’re in a penthouse in Ipanema, then on to Berlin, then in Ramos (Mexico), and back to Europe. It’s crazy, isn’t it? But it’s good, too—if you know how to go back and forth between these worlds, to go in and out of them. Then it works!” 7 He can be viewed in internet photos

[2.15]

Cathy Covell Waegner

dressed in a protective white plastic jumpsuit, with his countless spray-paint cans in a rainbow of colors. Born in 1978 in Switzerland, TIKA grew up in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Egypt. TIKA, who painted two murals in CityLeaks and displayed further works in an exhibition, bills herself as having “gypsy roots,” living “between Berlin, Zurich, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Mexico City, and New York.” 8 Striking photos of TIKA covering large spaces of a house façade with a paint roller on rough stucco can be found on the web. The German brothers Florin and Christoph Schmidt (born in Hamburg in 1982 and 1984, respectively) gained renown as graffiti artists Nerd and Qbrk before forming a duo and choosing a decidedly hip-hop-inspired artistic name, the “Low Bros.” This form of “blackface” points to the strong influence of the “black American” graffiti and hip-hop scene, which itself had, as pointed out previously, ethnically hybrid roots but was/is generally perceived as arising among African American ghetto youths (see Osumare 2005; Waegner 2004). The Low Bros are present online spraying in tandem while wearing rapper caps and hoodies.

DRAFT

[2.16]

[2.17]

MAKING COLOR VISIBLE: FUNCTIONS OF PAINTED ETHNICITY

[2.18]

Despite the ephemerality and apparent haphazardness of many of the urban art paintings and postings by the artists of “transcultural mediated subjectivity,” the choice to depict black bodies is not arbitrary, 9 and I maintain that overlapping functions can be ascertained from those paintings and paste-ups in my corpus. I untangle five interconnected functions that I label socio-/ ecocriticism, human rights engagement, explicit political comment, instrumentalization and subversion of stereotype, and postmodern reinscription. The mural titled No Fun without Water is a striking example of “socio-/ ecocriticism,” the painted scene critiquing unscrupulous and environmentally damaging “first-world” tourism (see figure 2.1). Passersby in busy CologneEhrenfeld and pub crawlers might be surprised to see a large, colorful painting on the formerly bleak façade of the Barinton Pub. The mural shows a long line of African women, each balancing a container of water on her head—but the final person in the line is a grotesquely obese white man wearing sunglasses and sitting in a beach lounge chair, drinking with a hookah-like straw out of the last water jug, which has transformed into an exotic cocktail beaker. The consumer is holding a Super Soaker water gun popular for poolside play. The words “no fun without water” written on the mural ironically comment on the Western tourist’s exploitation of the black women’s resources, specifically the precious water they must laboriously fetch and carry. This urban artwork was created by a group of socially committed

[2.19]

[2.20]

DRAFT

[2.22]

Performing Street Art

street painters called Art4Water working with the charitable organization Viva con Agua. Many of the Cologne urban art works depicting people of color in a spectrum of styles serve the function I call “human rights engagement.” An explicit example is Captain Borderline’s collaboration with Amnesty International (Richard-Wagner-Straße, Cologne-Belgian Quarter) showing the Dalai Lama, placed within the Buddhist wheel of life and gagged with the Chinese flag. Captain Borderline is a group of three Cologne artists strongly tied residentially and philosophically to India. The well-known German artist Hendrik “ECB” Beikirch, who has painted the highest mural in Asia, a picture of a local fisherman in Busan, South Korea, is active in CityLeaks, with painstakingly realistic portraits of marginalized people he has sketched during his extensive travels. One mural bears the title of TransSib and Greyhound, implying that the gray-faced Russian vagrant could be any one of those countless outlanders ECB has encountered. Children of color play a particularly prominent role in CityLeaks artists’ human rights engagement. The sadly protesting African-descended child whose shirt reads “I will never say what you want to hear” in L.E.T.’s paste-up graces many public walls in Cologne and seems to be responded to by Van Ray’s equally prominent,

[2f1] Figure 2.1. No Fun without Water, mural by Art4Water, Barinton Pub, Grüner Weg, Cologne-Ehrenfeld. Photo by Nicole Schneider.

Cathy Covell Waegner

wide-eyed children of Asian descent saying, “I don’t know either.” In contrast, TONA’s cheeky Indian children and TUK’s liberated girls with butterflies project self-confidence for the local pedestrians. A further function of the nonwhite bodies in Cologne’s arsenal is “explicit political comment.” StopWatchingUs reworks Shepard Fairey’s famous Hope poster of Barack Obama; the reconfiguration shows whistleblower Edward Snowden with varying texts, including “Asylum for Snowden” or “Protect this man—yes, you can!” Obama is also referenced in the elaborate Sink Big mural on the large back wall of the community center in CologneEhrenfeld (see figure 2.2); the brown hands clutch dollar and euro notes, which do not prevent the respectably suited man from drowning. In contrast, the Christlike figure on the right third of the mural, accompanied by a white dove, can navigate with aplomb the powerful waves reminiscent of “wild style” graffiti. The ubiquitous paste-up of Hitler wearing an Afro (see figure 2.3) is an unsolicited intervention into the official CityLeaks canon (see figure 2.7 for one of its many placements on an industrial garage door). Of course, the poster is an intentionally insulting caricature of Hitler, considering his Third Reich aversion to and persecution of German citizens of African heritage.

[2f2] Figure 2.2. Sink Big, mural at Bürgerzentrum (community center) in Cologne-Ehrenfeld by Captain Borderline and Colorrevolution. Photo by author.

DRAFT

[2.23]

[2.25]

DRAFT

[2.27]

Performing Street Art

Furthermore, Afro wigs are a common (politically incorrect) staple of Cologne’s opulent carnival (Mardi Gras) culture, and the ludicrous thought of Hitler participating in carnival festivities makes passing strollers laugh. The background words (in German) of negativity on the poster to the right, however, comment simultaneously on Hitler’s historical role and his donning of an Afro: “unimaginable,” “unnatural,” “un-funny,” supporting the larger word in the foreground: “incomprehensible.” However, this picture of AfroHitler can be found displayed on websites of questionable origin, possibly Far Right Wing ones. Its interpretation thus remains multivalent. In palimpsestic fashion typical for urban art at eye level, numerous viewers have reacted to the paste-up with graffiti overlay, adding colors, a larger mustache, cigarette plus smoke, and at least one “tag.” The next category of functions is possibly the most controversial: “instrumentalization and subversion of stereotype.” One of the most widely publicized of the CityLeaks’s artworks was created by the highly successful German artist Boris Hoppek, now residing in Barcelona. He painted a black cartoon-like figure, whose apparently Asian companion has just upturned an ice cream cone on his black friend’s head; the mural is juxtaposed with a

[2f3] Figure 2.3. Prominently visible paste-up of Hitler with an Afro, found in numerous venues in Cologne—here in the Belgian Quarter and responded to graphically by pedestrians. Photo by author.

Cathy Covell Waegner

contrasting video installation of a fashion runway in the exclusive book and design store Siebter Himmel (Seventh Heaven) to its right (see figure 2.4). The mural is derived from Hoppek’s signature oval-eyed and/or mouthed “C’mon” knitted dolls of an imaginary hip-hop band, none of whom are black, designed for a lucrative advertising campaign for the Vauxhall Opel Corsa and spread virally through the internet beginning in 2006. Hoppek’s mural can be considered simply childishly playful or even politically incorrect, with its blackface minstrelsy associations, especially through the cliché colors and shapes of the facial features and the summoning up of the repugnant stereotypes of the tricky Asian and the unintelligent “Sambo.” Observers in the know have learned to look behind the often-misleading or provocative façade of Hoppek’s street art, much of which is shockingly sexual. An assessment and interview with Hoppek in Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art (2010) reports on his “Bimbo dolls” and views them as a “unique visual language with his quickly drawn, minimalist images and restricted colour palette” (Nguyen and Mackenzie 2010, 248). As early as 2007, Hoppek created an installation in Cádiz, Spain, called Patera [Small Wooden Boat] de 86 Negritos, in which a rickety rowboat filled with Hop-

[2f4] Figure 2.4. Boris Hoppek’s ostensibly stereotypical mural (with video installation in store window), Cologne-Belgian Quarter, Brüsseler Straße. Photo by author.

DRAFT

[2.29]

DRAFT

[2.30]

[2.31]

[2.32]

[2.34]

Performing Street Art

pek’s minstrel-like plywood figures in varied shades of black and brown was displayed, drawing attention to the desperate immigration of Africans via boat to Europe and critiquing the European Union’s policies. If such ironic deployment of Hoppek’s “minimalist images” is part of the passersby’s repertoire, they view the Brussels street mural with the expectation that it is intended to move beyond decorative stereotype. The perhaps innocent play of the black and Asian cartoon figures, for instance, contrasts sharply with the sophisticated commodity orientation of the runway video. The sprayed stencil hearts and letter T between the black and Asian figures in the mural were not part of Hoppek’s original; an anonymous sprayer dared to “hack” into Hoppek’s work with their own “tag.” The Siebter Himmel owner excitedly announced that he was thrilled to have an “authentic Hoppek” in conjunction with his store and that this had been beneficial for his business (Scherer 2014, 50)—his reaction to the possible critique of the store’s designer articles and the transgressive tag was not recorded. Anne Scherer, the art gallery owner whose book Streetart Cologne published in mid-May 2014, announced her book with a press photo next to Hoppek’s duo, metavisually holding her book open to the picture of the seemingly stereotypical pair. 10 Hoppek’s possible instrumentalization of the received stereotype of the “tricky Asian” contrasts with a very different, more recent stereotype of Asians as martial arts heroes, derived from popular film and video game productions. The topos of the tae kwon do expert provides the basis for a mural created by German artist Rakaposhii, who presents a stylized Asian martial arts video game figure holding the world in his slingshot. The strength in his oversized ochre fist is illusory, however, because the cartoon bubble indicates that the “game [is] over” and could refer to icon Bruce Lee’s untimely death at thirty-two. The final category of functions of dark bodies in CityLeaks art is that of “postmodern reinscription,” which encodes a double perspective on a subject, an older or mythic view palimpsestically overlaid with a new reading. Youthful Egyptian painter Aya Tarek could not have experienced broadchinned, white-skinned British singer David Bowie in his radically experimental era of the 1970s, but she has refashioned him as an “ethnic” dreamer in a tropical setting of primary colors on a façade near the Rhine overlooking a school courtyard (see figure 2.5). 11 The viewer can speculate that she has darkened him in response to fresh photos like the one spectacularly featured on the cover of the [London] Times Magazine, July 2, 2011, showing Bowie sitting next to his reclining Somalian top-model wife, Iman Abdulmajid, with the teaser “‘We’re a regular old married couple’: Iman on the business of beauty, racism, and 20 years as Mrs David Bowie.” 12 TIKA’s grand Queen of the Night makes use of various urban art techniques of roller and spray painting, pasting, dripping, and artistic emplace-

Cathy Covell Waegner

[2f5] Figure 2.5. Aya Tarek’s refashioning of David Bowie as an “ethnic” dreamer, Follerstraße, Cologne inner city, overlooking a schoolyard. Photo by author.

ment in her archetypal African and/or Mesoamerican woman, whose serpentlike, glitteringly brown body in ancient-Egyptian two-dimensionality adds mythic depth to the façade of a plain three-story residence on Brüsseler

DRAFT

DRAFT

[2.36]

Performing Street Art

Straße (see figure 2.6). It is in plain view for the strollers to Brüsseler Platz, one of Cologne’s centers of lively outdoor café nightlife. The archaic Olmec sculptures found on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, with their African facial features, provide evidence to speculate about ancient diasporic contact among Mesoamerican, African, and Sumerian/Egyptian peoples—and certainly about their having provided a partial paradigm for Queen of the Night. A further paradigm could easily be the “vision serpent” carved on a lintel at Yaxchilán, a Mayan archaeological site; the serpent serves as a bridge to the spirit world and appears to a queen of Yaxchilán. A detail of TIKA’s mural reveals the umber hand of the serpent in Queen of the Night holding symbols of the city of Cologne (see figure 2.7); the precision of the artist’s work on such a large space is astonishing. The aesthetically postmodern reinscription of African/Mesoamerican archetypes, dark female body, and urban typology, created by a transnational, self-proclaimed “nomadic” artist, is a hybrid product par excellence of the dynamic cultural diaspora of street art.

[2f6] Figure 2.6. TIKA’s Queen of the Night in Cologne-Belgian Quarter, Brüsseler Straße. Photo by author.

Cathy Covell Waegner

DRAFT

TEMPORAL DIALOGUE: DISCOURSE AND PROCESS IN CITYLEAKS PERFORMANCE

[2.38]

Rebecca Friedman and Markus Thiel call the present-day diasporic developments within Europe a “fluid system of practice and discourse” (2012, 12), and indeed the striking dialogic performativity of CityLeaks serves to embed it into those developments. I would like to recapitulate the modes of discourse and process that have emerged so far in my consideration of CityLeaks works. With regard to discourse, the urban artists cross-referentially inspire and cite each other, as when the StopWatchingUs designer remashes Shepard Fairey; in the urban art scene, plagiarism is seldom an issue. The artists communicate with the public in performative and semantic ways. The public interlocutes with the paintings, either with interventionist graffiti of their own, through blogs, or by photographing the street art, for instance. A dialog exists between art and its setting, as with the Barinton Pub, which sells beverages, including bottled water, and hosts a mural insisting on the importance of water; furthermore, the Art4Water team carefully follows the physical space of the roofline on the pub roof in depicting the infinite line of female African water bearers for the male Caucasian drinker. Viral discourse

[2.39]

[2f7] Figure 2.7. The umber hand of TIKA’s Queen of the Night holding symbols of Cologne. Photo by author.

DRAFT

[2.40]

Performing Street Art

takes place with phenomenal rapidity through the internet and social media of all types. Particularly because of the ephemerality of much street art, recording the making of and the final, often-fragile product is vital for this communicative platform, thus remarkably intensifying the diasporic connections. 13 This ephemerality provides a transition to the node of process and temporality. The very constellation of mural artists is constantly remixing, with few older than their early thirties. The flimsiness of much of the material used— paste-ons, stickers, posters—goes hand in hand with temporariness. Naturally, attrition through the outdoor conditions and the public use of the metropolis spaces is expected. Entire murals can disappear when a building is renovated or even torn down or when a new adjoining building is erected. One mural by ECB was clearly visible from a much-traveled railway line, but when the tracks were closed down for long-term maintenance, the façade no longer received attention. The palimpsests of works, with one spray-on or paste-on covering partially or completely another, is part of the game. The Brazilian painter Gais assures an interviewer that the evanescence of his artwork is motivating, spurring him on to compress quality into swiftness (Leister 2013). According to Sascha Klein, a member of the CityLeaks organizing team, the “highly transient nature” of urban art is the linchpin of its attraction and immediacy: “Outside of the secure museum or gallery space, urban artworks are subject to ongoing processes of change and decay,” making street art “always in the thick of things” (“CityLeaks” 2013, 7). During guided tours of the Belgian Quarter, Klein serves as a kind of urban art archeologist, carefully pointing out the artistic layers of palimpsestic pastings.

[2.42]

DESIRES, CHOICES, AND BLACK BODIES: DIASPORA OF AFFILIATION

[2.43]

To what extent can this assertive network of constantly peripatetic international unsettlers who might be participating in CityLeaks be considered a diaspora? And does it have a legitimate place in the discussion of African diaspora? The Atlantic world locations for the physical movement of the artistic migrants—our examples have revolved around the African continent itself, as well as Brazil, the United States, and metropolitan centers in Europe—have been affected by the Middle Passage diaspora. As we have seen, the deep influence of international hip-hop enthusiasm has palpably fueled the dedication to blackness and, in our modest sense of street art, to a certain extent transformed the forced diaspora created by centuries of slavery into a diaspora of sought-after attachment.

Cathy Covell Waegner

DRAFT

[2f8] Figure 2.8. On this industrial garage door, the paste-up of an Indian guru has been placed over numerous earlier messages. Photo by author.

“Desire” has been embedded in diaspora and globalization discussion since the 1970s, and it continues to appear in various forms in current diaspora studies. In the book Lebensmodell Diaspora [Diaspora as Life Model] Charim sees the selection of wanted connections as a central tenet in twentyfirst-century diasporas (Charim and Borea 2012). Jacqueline Nassy Brown would agree, although telling us that the desired connections, even the “identity of passions” (1998, 298), arise from “situated encounters” (2009, 201). In a specific case of diasporic-situated encounter, she describes African British women in Liverpool meeting an idealized “Black America” through African American soldiers during and after the Second World War, with many of the women marrying and then emigrating to the United States (Brown 1998, 2006). Friedman and Thiel’s concept of a “fluid system of practice and discourse,” or, differently phrased, process and performativity, permits the choice of connections to develop flexibly, with self-agency by the diasporic subjectivities (2012, 12). For Tina Campt, without gainsaying black people’s belonging to specific sites and communities because of the

[2.44]

DRAFT

[2.45]

[2.46]

[2.47]

Performing Street Art

history of migration, attachment is also the expression of affinity: “[F]or [many blacks], belonging is an epistemological (rather than ontological) process of emplacement that involves active processes of articulation and identification” (2009, 73). For my case study, these processes of articulation can take place through artistic production, and careful “emplacement” can relate to positioning mural artworks as well as identities. Irvine (2012) notes the muralists’ “empathy” with the city, 14 and the street artists themselves talk about “embrac[ing] a particular space” (my emphasis) with their murals. 15 We should, however, keep Nicole Fleetwood’s warning in mind: “[T]he visible black body is always already troubling to the dominant visual field” (2010, 6). Depicting a black body, Fleetwood tells us, is a double-edged sword: “Blackness and black life become intelligible and valued, as well as consumable and disposable, through racial [visual] discourse” (2010, 6). Presumably, however, urban art would not want to draw a distinction between “intelligible/valued” and “consumable/disposable.” I have already underlined the ephemerality of the stenciled paintings and cutouts of street art and their instrumentalization of “consumable” images. Yet they are of value to those entering into a dialogue with them. Nevertheless, I have not yet found a satisfactory context to analyze, for example, a gleamingly stylized portrait of an African woman with elaborately braided hair and tribal neck rings on a railroad arch in Cologne-Ehrenfeld by, as far as I can discover, a local white female urban artist tagged “Huami” and apparently not an official participant in CityLeaks. She has chosen this motif and positioned it on an imposing brick structure next to an official sign reading (and I paraphrase here) “keep this space free for fire department vehicles,” encouraging the passerby to puzzle over the emplacement. The initiated CityLeaks viewers also might ask themselves, at least tentatively, whether Huami’s intervention in a “black” cultural circulation of images is justified. Some diaspora thinkers might also warn of danger in expanding the notion of African diaspora so far that it loses sight of “blackness as a reality”; in her foreword to the volume Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture, however, Tricia Rose (2005) eloquently argues for sustaining the notion of “black culture” through “incorporation, transformation, change and hybridity” rather than rejecting them. This sustainment “does not bring an end to the category ‘black culture’ or black people” (Rose 2005, viii). 16 Supporters of Tricia Rose’s stance might find some evidence in the neat dovetailing between epitomized formulations regarding the African diaspora, especially in connection with Gilroy’s work, and the descriptions of urban art impulses presented in this chapter. Referring to Gilroy’s study of popular music arising from the African diaspora, Kobena Mercer says Gilroy adapted Stuart Hall’s “imagined communities” thesis to “envisage diaspora as the relational network of connective flows that circumvent the sedentary author-

Cathy Covell Waegner

ity of the nation-state” (2008, 9). 17 This could equally well apply to the international street art scene. Kamari Maxine Clarke and Deborah Thomas articulate their book project as one dealing with evolving diasporic modes of expression: “We have sought to develop an apparatus for thinking through the ways and extent to which contemporary global transformations are producing new forms of subjectivity, cultural practice, and political action that also move us beyond racism” (2006, 2–3). Urban art is undoubtedly one of those modes of expression. Furthermore, Clarke and Thomas, drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of reterritorialization, describe the way new aesthetic developments in the African diaspora allow it to claim space for itself: “[C]ultural production continues to be inscribed within the particularities of historically contingent zones of exchange, [but] resulting in a complex, yet uneven, reterritorialization” (2006, 31). 18 Urban art certainly accomplishes a form of reterritorialization by its appropriation of disused or commercial space. Not unlike street art, always in process, the “history of the black Atlantic yields a course of lessons as to the instability and mutability of identities,” as Gilroy tells us, “which are always unfinished, always being remade” (1993, xi). In their volume on travel, migration, and transculturation, Arapoglou, Fodor, and Nyman reference Ulrich Beck’s use of the phrase “cosmopolitanism from below” (2014, 3), a location felicitously encapsulating unsettling urban art that I have already applied to the wandering street artists changing the face of the metropolis. These are more than merely rhetorical or whimsical comparisons. Instead, they can encourage us to take urban art seriously as a resource and practice in the ever-developing African diaspora. The spectrum of dark bodies created by “outernational” urban artists for such metropolitan festivals as CityLeaks calls for discussion of a contemporary form of “migrating” in a diaspora based on color in connection both to ethnicities and to dazzling paint. Referring to Gilroy’s seminal Black Atlantic, Brown summarizes her “hopeful vision” that “differently located blacks transcend national boundaries, creating a mutually accessible, translatable, and inspirational political culture that invites universal black participation” (2006, 75) 19—surely the cultural, affiliative diaspora of international urban art, its discourse, and its performance fulfill these criteria in their own vibrant, cross-ethnic, twenty-first-century ways. The “field of postcolonial media cultures” that Merten and Krämer claim as “potentially so large but, up until now, also so little cultivated” (2016, 10) will benefit from scholarly scrutiny of the diasporic “bottom-up” strategies of transcultural urban artists and their colorful works.

DRAFT

[2.48]

DRAFT

Performing Street Art

[2.49]

NOTES

[2n1]

1. I adopt this term from Paul Gilroy; it mirrors Gilroy’s emphasis on self-creation and transformation, on the “politics of influence and adaptation” (1995, 30) in creating modes of black identity that decidedly move beyond essentialist, national limits. 2. The German term in Charim’s introduction is Diasporisierung der Gesellschaft (15). The experimental book edited by Charim and Gertraud Aura Borea is a collection of lectures at the Bruno Kreisky Forum in Vienna, which included such renowned speakers as Homi K. Bhabha, Saskia Sassen, Gayatri Spivak, and Walter D. Mignolo. 3. See Waegner (2011, 2015) for discussions of later adjustments to Welsch’s theory. 4. Merten and Krämer point out that some critics have suggested emphasizing a “bottomup perspective” to revitalize postcolonial studies with its “abstract” and “textualist turn” (2016, 10). 5. See the official web portal of the city of Cologne, https://www.koeln.de. 6. The images referenced in this chapter were created during the 2011 and particularly the 2013 festivals. I have analyzed murals from the 2015 festival in the Postcolonial Studies Newsletter for summer 2016, an online publication edited by Lucinda Newns and Dominic Davies. The CityLeaks homepage supplies a wealth of information and graphics concerning the three biennial events: http://cityleaks-festival.com. 7. See “Street-Art Brazil mit Gais,” published on YouTube, August 26, 2013, by Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxfOnuNyvCQ. The excerpt is my translation. 8. Translated from TIKA’s biographical blurb on the Zurich Urban Art Studio website: http://urbanartstudio.ch/index.php/artists. 9. Tina Campt’s (2009) consideration of racial markers in the photographs of Hans Hauck raises some of the questions I must uncomfortably consider in designating visualizations of “black bodies” in urban art, including phenotypical darkness. 10. A comparison of Scherer’s 2014 book with its 1996 predecessor by Bernhard van Treeck shows mind-boggling differences in the sophistication of the artwork. Van Treeck’s pocket-sized book displays mainly tags and simple line drawings. 11. In a July 2014 interview with Sascha Klein, a member of the organizing cohort for CityLeaks, he confirmed the general opinion that Aya Tarek was refashioning David Bowie into a young ethnic dreamer. Tarek and CityLeaks designate the figure as androgynous, a common denominator with the young Bowie as a pop style icon of androgyny. The official title of Tarek’s Mural is “Tropical Androgyny” (http://www.ayatarek.com/cityleaks/ tego4ng11yazxt8aaz9ecmnere65yn). 12. Bowie’s demise on January 10, 2016, at age sixty-nine postdated Tarek’s mural by two and a half years. 13. With regard to the power of the performative-discursive and diaspora, Jacqueline Nassy Brown takes a strong stand, claiming, “Black Europe is not locatable; it is a discourse on location” (2009, 209). A recent handbook on cultural studies and media analysis defines diaspora as a “communicative compression between (imagined) origin and the migration context” (Bozdag and Möller 2015, 337, my translation and emphasis). 14. The volume edited by Fassil Demissie (2010) investigates the interaction of the black diaspora with the city setting. 15. Street artist Alexandre “Vhils” Farto (Portuguese) sees “embracing” as erasing the distinction between street, studio, and gallery installation spaces: “I don’t discriminate between outside and inside. I think it’s more about the way you embrace a particular space and what you want to question with it” (quoted in Irvine 2012, 247). 16. The word traffic in the title of the volume is enticingly relevant for the topic of metropolitan street art. 17. Mercer is referring to Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness (1993). 18. Clarke and Thomas are referencing the two-volume work Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972–1980) by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.

[2n2]

[2n3] [2n4] [2n5] [2n6]

[2n7] [2n8] [2n9] [2n10] [2n11]

[2n12] [2n13]

[2n14] [2n15]

[2n16] [2n17] [2n18]

Cathy Covell Waegner

DRAFT

19. Brown in fact critiques this “hopeful vision,” pointing out that “power differentials across [and within] black communities” and “gendered ideologies” serve to “shape members’ participation in—and production of—the transnational space of diaspora” (2006, 75). As my study of the transnational CityLeaks shows, women are prominent among the local organizers and the peripatetic artists in the urban art network.

[2n19]

DRAFT

Part II

Speculative Diasporas

DRAFT

Chapter Three

Mythology of the Space Frontier Diaspora, Liminality, and the Practices of Remembrance in Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber Agnieszka Podruczna

[3.0]

SCIENCE FICTION AND THE POSTCOLONIAL

[3.1]

Since its beginnings, science fiction has been characterized as an essentially colonial genre and, over the decades and centuries that followed, has maintained a degree of closeness to and affinity with the legacy of the colonial project. At the same time, however, the genre has also produced its own counterreadings, which critically engage with the colonial roots of the genre and facilitate meaningful discussions of such fundamental concepts for the contemporary postcolonial condition as identity, home, or diaspora. Indeed, explorations of diasporic communities constitute one of the central themes of postcolonial speculative fiction writing—and science fiction in particular. The emphasis on exploration and the conquest of space, so prevalent in mainstream science fiction, becomes in counterdiscursive readings a vehicle for the discussion of the past and contemporary conditions of those who dwell away from home, engaging in a debate concerning the practices of belonging and negotiating boundaries within diasporic communities. It could be argued, then, that postcolonial speculative fiction is the quintessential genre for exploring questions of diaspora, a genre that is at its core hybrid and counterdiscursive, constantly renegotiating the notions of place, space, memory, language, and narrative. This peculiar connection, which is elaborated in greater detail in the final part of this chapter, stems from the mechanisms of resistance and counterdiscourse employed by postcolonial speculative fiction. Moreover, the genre allows us to conceive of the notion of the

Agnieszka Podruczna

diaspora in ways that are impossible to grasp for realist fiction on the topic and, through the principles of cognitive estrangement, articulates the contemporary condition of the diasporic communities. This, in turn, allows those communities to make sense of their pasts while engaging with the fantasy of the colonial encounter and facilitating a more in-depth look at the inner workings of the imperial enterprise in the context of the diasporas. Thus, the works of speculative fiction engage meaningfully with the reality of the colonial system in order to articulate the presence and condition of contemporary diasporas and offer a way to move forward while acknowledging the history and cultural heritage of those communities and facilitating the practices of remembrance and reclamation. Even though the precise definition of the genre remains nebulous and contested, what all the attempts at defining science fiction have in common is the general conviction that the genre is, at its most basic, defined by the principle of eschewing the literary verisimilitude of realist fiction, reimagining and restructuring reality rather than simply observing and reproducing it in the literary or cinematic form. This founding principle, though vague and lacking in any substantial definition, encapsulates the most fundamental characteristic of science fiction as well as a certain mode of approaching it as a unique genre; it describes it not in terms of what it is but rather what it does. The framing of that definition in terms of action rather than intrinsic characteristics emphasizes the dynamic potential of the genre and functions as a sine qua non for the discussion of science fiction as a viable mode for the postcolonial act of writing back. There can be, however, little doubt that science fiction owes a lot of its seminal themes and imagery to the imperial fantasy of the colonial project. It is no coincidence that one of the most recognizable themes and tropes in mainstream science fiction is that of colonial expansion and the encounter with the Other, which owes its symbolic representation to the imagery of the colonial conquest and the subsequent first contact with the indigenous population. As Nalo Hopkinson puts it, “Arguably, one of the most important memes of science fiction is that of going to foreign countries and colonizing the natives, and as I’ve said elsewhere, for many of us, that’s not a thrilling adventure story; it’s non-fiction and we are on the wrong side of the strangelooking ship that appears out of nowhere” (2004, 7). In fact, the hegemonic narrative of mainstream science fiction—that of expansion, exploration, and exploitation as well as encounter with the Other—has been fueled to a large extent by the fundamental colonial narrative of imperial expansion and conquest, proposing a vision of the manifest destiny of the human race extended to include the vast expanse of the known universe. This affinity for the conquest narrative, which science fiction shares with colonial discourse, owes primarily to the fact that, as John Rieder observes, science fiction “appeared predominantly in those countries that were

DRAFT

[3.2]

[3.3]

[3.4]

DRAFT

[3.5]

Mythology of the Space Frontier

involved in colonial and imperialist projects” (2005, 375), and as he argues, it is still possible to see the “persistent traces of a stubbornly visible colonial scenario beneath its fantastic script” (2008, 15). This narrative, however—or rather, the critical rereading and reworking of this narrative—remains a crucial focal point for the discussion of the diasporic condition, allowing for a counterdiscursive examination of the ways in which diasporic communities resist the hegemonic narratives of the colonial center and engage in a construction of meanings through the processes of reclamation, remembrance, and transgression. Thus, postcolonial science fiction’s insistence on the importance of counterdiscursive readings of the colonial expansion narratives—which finds its reflection in the prominence given to the exploration of the diasporic condition—serves to highlight the tenuous and fundamentally uncomfortable relationship between mainstream science fiction and depictions of race. This is despite the fact that, according to Michelle Reid, mainstream science fiction became “more critical of the oppression inherent in expansionist attitudes” from the 1950s onward (2009, 257). As Elizabeth Anne Leonard remarks in her essay on race and ethnicity in science fiction,

[3.6]

By far the majority of sf deals with racial tension by ignoring it. In many books the characters’ race is either not mentioned and probably assumed to be white or, if mentioned, is irrelevant to the events of the story and functions only as an additional descriptor, such as hair colour or height. Other sf assumes a world in which there has been substantial racial mingling and the characters all have ancestry of multiple races. These kinds of writing can be seen as an attempt to deal with racial issues by imagining a world where they are non-issues, where colour-blindness is the norm. This may be a conscious model for a future society, or a gesture to “political correctness” by an author whose interests in the story lie elsewhere, but either motive avoids wrestling with the difficult questions of how a non-racist society comes into being and how members of minority cultures or ethnic groups preserve their culture. (2003, 254)

[3.7]

For postcolonial science fiction, however, investigating the implications of the narratives Leonard mentions remains of paramount importance. The focus on diasporic communities, in turn, allows us to highlight questions regarding the preservation of culture, memory, and ancestral heritage in postcolonial realities, bringing to the fore what has been continuously disregarded by the mainstream. Similarly, the lack that Leonard discusses can be understood not only as the lack in significant portrayals of racial relations and tensions that address the real-world power dynamics on which the science fiction idiom draws abundantly but also the seeming lack of nonwhite (and in particular African American) writing traditions and writers within the mainstream incarnation

[3.8]

Agnieszka Podruczna

of the genre. Thus, to address that issue, Sheree R. Thomas (2000), in her introduction to Dark Matter, a volume of speculative fiction from the African diaspora, entitled meaningfully “Looking for the Invisible,” uses the metaphor of dark matter in order to articulate a similar sentiment regarding the African American diaspora in the context of science fiction writing. Dark matter, as Thomas argues, can be experienced only indirectly—through lack rather than through presence, articulated on the basis of what is not there (2000, xi–xii). In turn, postcolonial speculative fiction allows us to rectify that lack and make the affinity between the diasporic condition and science fiction writing explicit, enabling the writers to articulate their own experiences of diasporic existence. At the same time, this metaphor, aptly used by Thomas to illustrate the lack of significant presence of writers of color within mainstream speculative fiction, could also be extended to include Leonard’s argument for the lack of meaningful representations of racial issues in the mainstream science fiction idiom, which manifests as a suspicious lack of racialized bodies and identities in a genre that, at its core, exploits those very same Othered bodies and identities under the guise of the alien and perpetuates the colonial narrative of expansion and conquest. Postcolonial science fiction emerges, then, as a culturally influenced phenomenon that signifies the necessity for different modes of writing and thinking about science fiction as a genre, at the same time mirroring the core principles and modes of science fiction included in the definition of the genre coined by Damien Broderick, who sees this genre as a deeply metaphorical and metonymic phenomenon (1995, 155), capable of opening itself to representation and symbolic reimagining (Roberts 2000, 12). Postcolonial science fiction therefore emerges as a counterdiscursive practice that situates itself within the broader postcolonial tradition of writing back. In the words of Helen Tiffin, “Post-colonial counter-discursive strategies involve a mapping of the dominant discourse, a reading and exposing of its underlying assumptions, and the dis/mantling of these assumptions from the cross-cultural standpoint of the imperially subjectified ‘local’” (2002, 98). What postcolonial science fiction does, then, is reexamines, reclaims, and reshapes the hegemonic science fiction narrative, giving the voice back to the silenced colonial subjects and allowing for a more in-depth examination of colonial power relations because, as Michelle Reid observes, science fiction’s “fantastic nature does not distance it from historical colonial projects, but gives a closer insight into the strategies used to create the ideological fantasy of colonialism” (2009, 258). Thus, in Reid’s formulation, the estranging effect of science fiction, often cited by its detractors as its greatest flaw because it divorces the narrative from any measure of broadly understood reality and renders it overly escapist, is precisely what allows science fiction writers to expose the mechanisms underlying the structures of our society. This sentiment, in turn, is echoed in the words of Fredric Jameson, who posits that one

DRAFT

[3.9]

DRAFT

Mythology of the Space Frontier

of the “most significant potentialities of SF as a form is precisely [its] capacity to provide something like an experimental variation on our own empirical universe” (2007, 270). Thus, all in all, the principles of what Darko Suvin calls cognitive estrangement in his definition of science fiction, that is, a “literary genre or verbal construct whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author’s empirical environment” (1988, 37), facilitate a more in-depth look at the power structures at play in colonial and postcolonial realities, as reflected in the narratives of diasporic communities. For Suvin, the notion of estrangement denotes everything that is removed from our conceptual apparatus and quotidian experience, while cognition relies on our understanding of the world around us. Thus, he argues that science fiction cannot exist without the coexistence of the two elements: without cognition, which tethers science fiction to our reality, we would be unable to comprehend the world of the story; without estrangement, in turn, the story would become simply realist fiction. However, the simultaneous estranging and familiarizing effect provides the opportunity to address real-world issues in a way that at the same time removes the story from our mundane experience and emphasizes its quintessential themes through defamiliarizing practices. [3.10]

CASE STUDY: NALO HOPKINSON’S MIDNIGHT ROBBER

[3.11]

The question of remembrance and ancestry in the context of the hegemonic science fiction narrative and its subversive reimagining becomes one of the central themes in Midnight Robber, a science fiction novel by Canadian Jamaican author Nalo Hopkinson. The novel, which tells the story of TanTan (the only daughter of Ione and Antonio, the mayor of a town on the planet of Toussaint), presents a vision of a futuristic diaspora in space alongside the coming-of-age story. In the novel, the diasporic community that resides on Toussaint (named after Toussaint L’Ouverture, the leader of the Haitian Revolution) is comprised of the descendants of such indigenous groups as the Taíno and the Arawak, as well as people of African, Asian, and European descent (Hopkinson 2000, 18), and occupies the liminal space at the intersection between the past, the present, and the future, continuously engaging in the diasporic practices of remembering and forgetting. The journey to Toussaint, which in the novel becomes reminiscent of the Middle Passage in reverse, articulates the agency instead of the objectification of the diasporic community as they traverse the open expanse of space in order to come to a new world. Moreover, this voyage becomes a journey of simultaneous hope and displacement, manifesting the continuous struggle within

Agnieszka Podruczna

diasporic communities between remembering and forgetting, being at home and looking for home. The coming-of-age story of Tan-Tan, who at one point in the story becomes exiled alongside her father, Antonio, to the penal colony of the New Half-Way Tree—a twin planet of Toussaint that exists in a liminal parallel dimension—becomes thus a story inherently inscribed into a larger paradigm, testifying to the present, past, and future experiences of diasporic communities. Through Tan-Tan’s journey from a young girl living the life of privilege on Toussaint, through her exile and traumatic experiences of domestic sexual abuse and incestuous rape as a teenager, to her ultimate embodiment of the Robber Queen, Hopkinson articulates the history of the diaspora as well as the experience of displacement and long dwelling away from home. In Midnight Robber, Hopkinson hybridizes the distinctly Western narrative form of the novel by appropriating and reshaping its language with the use of Jamaican Creole and introducing elements of the folk oral tradition, emphasizing the space of difference represented by the language and the storytelling modes employed in the novel as well as the importance of collective memory and access to the ancestral heritage in the process of identity formation within the diaspora. Thus, it becomes evident that, for Hopkinson, the diasporic and liminal nature of postcolonial storytelling in the speculative fiction genre lies not only in her subject matter, reminiscent of the struggles of modern-day diasporas, but also in the language employed by Hopkinson in the novel, which facilitates estrangement and disrupts the mainstream modes of science fiction writing at the same time as it bears witness to the colonial history of the communities represented in the novel. With that in mind, this case study of Midnight Robber seeks first and foremost to highlight the ways in which Hopkinson engages in a discussion regarding the condition of contemporary diasporic communities, offering insights into the complex nature of the relationship with the past within diasporas and its influence on the formation of identity in postcolonial realities. Moreover, it posits that the relationship with myth and remembrance, facilitated by the connection to the ancestral past, becomes central to the process of self-identification within the Caribbean diasporic community residing on the planet of Toussaint. Hopkinson’s exploration of the theme of diaspora highlights the multifaceted and at times downright uncomfortable nature of the relationship with the past among the people of Toussaint, who remain constantly torn between the desire to forget about the painful history of their ancestors on Earth and the need to cultivate a link with their ancestral heritage, which facilitates the process of cultural identity formation. Moreover, Hopkinson further complicates the issues inherent in the diasporic condition, such as the notions of home, place, and the right to belong, by further destabilizing the binary of the colonial encounter. Thus, the people of Toussaint are at once at home and not at home, bearing the marks of the colonial past and colonizers in their own

DRAFT

[3.12]

[3.13]

DRAFT

Mythology of the Space Frontier

right. This precarious position is particularly highlighted in the scene in which Tan-Tan is confronted with the realization that the residents of Toussaint inadvertently contributed to the genocide of the native inhabitants of the planet in their mission to make Toussaint into a new home for the diaspora: [3.14] [3.15] [3.16] [3.17] [3.18] [3.19] [3.20]

[3.21]

[3.22]

That day, whispering directions through her earbug, eshu . . . told her about the animals that used to live on Toussaint before human people came and made it their own. . . . “And the douen? You said it had douen.” “Searching . . . ” the eshu whispered quietly. Usually it could get information instantly from the web data banks. “I don’t know plenty about them, young Mistress,” it said finally. “Indigenous fauna, now extinct.” “Extinct?” “No longer in this existence.” “Why, eshu?” “To make Toussaint safe for people from the nation ships.” (Hopkinson 2000, 32–33)

The existence (and nonexistence) of the douen, who are later in the novel revealed to be a sentient life-form capable of speech, therefore constitutes the mark of ambiguity that accompanies the double status of the diasporic community on Toussaint. Thus, the uncertain position of the inhabitants of the planet and their double identity serve further to emphasize the inherently hybrid, liminal condition of the displaced diasporic communities, who constantly struggle to renegotiate their place within the space they occupy, suspended between two paradigms: that of the colonized and that of the colonizers. This, in turn, through the principles of cognitive estrangement, allows Hopkinson to comment on the realities of modern-day diasporic communities, reimagining the processes of the negotiation of space, place, and belonging in a speculative framework that reveals the points of rupture and uncertainty that remain underscored throughout the novel. Moreover, in order to further complicate the discussion of the diasporic condition and the colonial discourse, Hopkinson introduces a sort of diaspora within the diaspora, as her characters are exiled to the planet of the New Half-Way Tree, which occupies the liminal space between two worlds in the most literal sense and becomes the explicit signifier of the implicit (i.e., displaced) condition of the diaspora. The placement of the colony, which exists in the limbo between realities, parallels the spatial conditions of diasporic communities as well as the mechanisms behind community formation in diasporas. At the same time, however, it invites a reflection concerning the degrees of dispossession and the nature of community making in diasporic groups. The community of convicts, sent to the parallel universe of the New Half-Way Tree remains, in fact, twice displaced and dispossessed, forced away from their land and the culture of Toussaint and relegated to the

Agnieszka Podruczna

peripheries. This moment of rupture and removal from direct access to the ancestral heritage, in turn, facilitates the creation of a society that repeats the patterns of the colonial order, signifying the destructive nature of such relegation to the margins of the discourse. This complicated relationship between the diaspora and the practices of remembering, forgetting, and repeating the old colonial patterns is epitomized in the novel by the invention of the tin box, conceived as a method of punishment for those who break the rules imposed by the inhabitants of Junjuh, a village on the New Half-Way Tree, which Tan-Tan clearly associates with the history of punishment for slaves as well as the horrors of the Middle Passage itself: “Tan-Tan imagined being shut inside the dark box, no choice to leave, no room to move, drowning in your own sweat. Skin burning with from [sic] your own stinking piss, from the flux of shit running down your leg. Like crêche teacher had told them. Like her nightmares” (Hopkinson 2000, 125). For Hopkinson, then, the points of rupture with the ancestral heritage as well as the memory of the history of the diasporic community passed down from generation to generation signify the markers of the processes of forgetting, which in turn contribute to the perpetuation of the old order. It seems, in fact, that Hopkinson regards the mechanisms of remembering and forgetting as existing in a fragile equilibrium yet one that is indispensable for the continued existence of diasporic communities. Those mechanisms are best exemplified by the celebrations of the carnival that take place annually on Toussaint, which exist to uphold the memory of the ancestral struggle and liberation and which are, incongruously, accompanied by attempts at distancing the community from the most painful memories of the past generations. Thus, it would appear that, in Hopkinson’s understanding, it remains necessary for diasporas constantly to negotiate the boundaries between moving forward and looking back to the past. In order, then, to cultivate the link with their ancestral heritage, the community on Toussaint relies on adherence to traditions passed down from generation to generation—traditions that involve the community in participation and reenactment of certain parts of their history. As Hopkinson writes, Finally, it was Jonkanoo Season; the year-end time when all of Toussaint would celebrate the landing of the Marryshow Corporation nation ships that had brought their ancestors to this planet two centuries before. Time to give thanks to Granny Nanny for the Leaving Times, for her care, for life in this land, free from downpression and botheration. Time to remember the way their forefathers had toiled and sweated together: Taino Carib and Arawak; African; Asian; Indian; even the Euro, though some wasn’t too happy to acknowledge that-there bloodline. All the bloods flowing into one river, making a new home on a new planet. Come Jonkanoo Week, tout monde would find themselves home with family to drink red sorrel and eat black cake and read

DRAFT

[3.23]

[3.24]

[3.25]

DRAFT

Mythology of the Space Frontier from Marryshow’s Mythic Revelations of a New Garveyite: Sing Freedom Come. (2000, 18)

[3.26]

[3.27]

The carnival, then, which emerges as the primary source of public, collective engagement with the ancestral heritage of the inhabitants of Toussaint, serves as a reminder of their place of origin at the same time as it mythologizes certain events or historical folk figures, such as the Robber King, manifesting practices of remembrance as well as representing the mechanisms of forgetting through the gradual erosion of knowledge, as the stories take on a life of their own, often fragmentary and divorced from their original meaning, reworked and retold by the diaspora, signifying the partially lost and irrecoverable ancestral past. At the same time, however, Hopkinson signals a certain strain on the diaspora’s relationship with that past, exemplified by the desire to forget the most painful parts of their history, to the point of almost denying their existence. The omnipresent stress on deemphasizing the history of colonial subjugation among the community and the frequent use of the distancing phrase “[b]ack-break not for people” (Hopkinson 2000, 135; used to denote the rejection of the historical narrative of slavery and a seemingly clean break from the past) create a certain tension between the cultural practices of remembering and forgetting and manifest the desire to move past the colonial legacy of the diaspora. It is, however, a singularly difficult task, as the remnants of the colonial tensions constantly surface in the form of unwanted reminders of the colonial realities of their shared past—in fact, the novel suggests that this truth is impossible to escape, as Tan-Tan, the protagonist of the story, exiled to the colony of the New Half-Way Tree, ultimately comes to embody the collective memory of the community as she immerses herself in the mythos of the new frontier and gradually becomes part of the local folklore, a living reminder of the past experiences. Tan-Tan is aided in this endeavor by Granny Nanny, an artificial intelligence facilitating life on Toussaint who at the same time constitutes the disembodiment of the future, through her noncorporeal “body,” and the embodiment of the past, grounded in Tan-Tan’s body and consciousness (as Granny is able to communicate with Tan-Tan’s unborn son through Tan-Tan’s implant), as well as in Granny Nanny’s connection to the trickster god Anansi—yet another link to the ancestral past of the diaspora. Therefore, through her engagement with the ancestral heritage and the history of her people, Tan-Tan comes to embody what Caroline Rody, in her book The Daughter’s Return: African-American and Caribbean Women’s Fictions of History, calls a “magic black daughter,” while Granny Nanny—the benevolent trickster—becomes the figure of the “black mother-of-history” (2001, 48). In this way, Hopkinson engages not only with the questions of heredity and remembrance in diasporic communities that constitute one of the central themes of her novel but also with the more established literary traditions of

Agnieszka Podruczna

DRAFT

postcolonial writing—and African American and Caribbean writing in particular—referring indirectly to such seminal works of postcolonial literature as Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987) or Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). As Rody argues in her book, in the narratives of the daughter’s return, history is reimagined in the form of a romance: the romance of a returning daughter and a figure I call the mother-of-history. Coming back like daughters—intensely devoted yet convinced of the arrival of their own moment— African-American and Caribbean women writers recast the conventions of historical fiction as well as received narratives of their peoples’ founding trauma, New World slavery. Staging dramatic, often fantastic encounters with the past, they foreground the mother-daughter relationship as the site of transhistorical contact. (2001, 3)

[3.28]

However, ultimately it is Tan-Tan herself who, once she discovers her pregnancy (resulting from her rape by her father, Antonio) and becomes one with the mythic figure of the Robber Queen, transforms from the magic black daughter into the black mother-of-history, realizing the vision of the “metamyth of transhistorical mother-daughter separation and reunion” (Rody 2001, 96) and complicating it at the same time, highlighting the temporal and spatial liminality of Tan-Tan’s diasporic experiences. Hopkinson, therefore, aims to emphasize the complexity of the relationship between past and present, between remembering and forgetting, which—even though constitutive of the process of identity formation in the diaspora—sometimes appear to be deeply at odds with each other, signifying the inherent tension in the relationship with the ancestral heritage among the diasporic communities in postcolonial realities. At the same time, the liminality of Hopkinson’s storytelling seems to provide an added commentary on the condition of the subject in postcolonial realities. The structure of the narrative—a story within a story, overarching and overlapping, ultimately producing its own metanarrative in the form of the mythologized account of Tan-Tan’s story, in which she becomes one with the legendary folk figure of the Robber Queen—points to the inherent fragmentariness of postcolonial narratives and identities. The character progression and mental condition of Tan-Tan—and, by extension, of the postcolonial subject she can be argued to exemplify—is, therefore, reflected in the structure of the narrative in which she is situated: fragmented, fractured, and incomplete. Tan-Tan’s liminal experience, however, is at the same time alienating and liberating, as the narrative of Midnight Robber rejects the demand for postcolonial authenticity, arguing instead that hybridity is an inherent part of the postcolonial diasporic condition. This, in turn, echoes the words of Helen Tiffin, who, in an essay on postcolonial literatures and counterdiscourse, states, “Processes of artistic and literary decolonization

[3.29]

[3.30]

DRAFT

[3.31]

Mythology of the Space Frontier

have involved a radical dis/mantling of European codes and a post-colonial subversion and appropriation of the dominant European discourses. This has frequently been accompanied by the demand for an entirely new or wholly recovered ‘reality,’ free of all colonial taint” (2002, 95). However, because it is impossible fully to recover “such pre-colonial cultural purity” (Tiffin 2002, 95) and return to the “‘pure’ and unsullied cultural condition” (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 2002, 40–41), postcolonial writing remains thus inherently hybridized and perpetually engaged in a subversive dialogue with the literature of the colonial center. All in all, the metatextual narrative dimension of Midnight Robber allows Hopkinson to stress the importance of memory and storytelling in the processes of decolonization. In a way, the novel itself becomes a folktale, as the story of Tan-Tan unfolds and she ultimately becomes one with the folk legend of the Robber Queen, a figure of myth, located—also in a literal sense—between two worlds, thus blurring the lines between story and reality, and effectively reflecting the liminality of the postcolonial hybrid experience. The ballad of Tan-Tan, which appears at the end of the novel, becomes part of a creation myth, as Tan-Tan participates in her own mythopoeia, making the narrative strategy implicit in the processes of postcolonial writing back explicit. Moreover, the final passages of the novel, in which Tan-Tan gives birth to her son, whom she, significantly, names Tubman, after the famous figure of African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, signals the ultimate rebirth of the voice of the diaspora in outer space, as Tan-Tan’s transformation facilitates the creation of a liminal space from which she can finally speak. It therefore appears that, in Hopkinson’s opinion, the only way for the cultural hybrid to enter discourse and gain the right to speak is to enter the realm of the myth, as Tan-Tan is allowed to regain her voice only once she becomes part of the local mythos as the Robber Queen. It becomes, thus, another focal point in Hopkinson’s dialogue with and rethinking of the hegemonic narrative conventions of the science fiction genre, which at the same time serves once more to emphasize the inherent hybridity of the postcolonial condition, as Tan-Tan’s entry into the realm of myth ultimately exposes the constructed-ness of the image of the Other. In turn, this decentralization of the Western modes of writing and the use of subversive counterdiscourse in storytelling practice paves the way for the emergence of new narrative possibilities for postcolonial science fiction authors, which would enable them critically to examine and challenge the status quo.

Agnieszka Podruczna

DRAFT

NEW GENRES, NEW DIMENSIONS: POSTCOLONIAL SPECULATIVE FICTION AND DIASPORA STUDIES

[3.32]

Postcolonial speculative fiction emerges within the contemporary literary landscape as the quintessential genre for diaspora studies, one that is capable of addressing the contemporary condition of diaspora at the same time as it envisions new models for diasporic communities and facilitates a more complex engagement with their cultural and historical heritage. At the same time, speculative fiction, through the use of the principles of cognitive estrangement and what Robert Scholes calls structural fabulation, that is, “fiction that offers us a world clearly and radically discontinuous from the one we know, yet returns to confront that known world in some cognitive way” (1976, 47), is capable of freeing itself from the constraints of realist fiction and offering new perspectives on the subject of contemporary and historical diasporic communities. Thus, thanks to its estranging nature, speculative fiction makes the implicit mechanisms inherent in the creation and continued existence of those communities explicit—by alienating that condition from the everyday and the quotidian and reflecting it back at the discourse—at the same time as it provides a vehicle for imagining new futures for the diasporas. Paradoxically, though, despite the accusations of escapism and detachment from the social and material conditions of reality, postcolonial speculative fiction on the whole betrays a singular preoccupation with memory and the past, engaging with the themes of remembering and forgetting, of excavating the past and embodying the past, of being rooted, being displaced, and being in-between. It could be argued, then, that for postcolonial speculative fiction writers, the continuous engagement with the past is essential for dismantling the hegemonic narratives and tropes that are the subject of their subversive storytelling practice, as they are, in fact, writing not only against the colonial history of enslavement, exile, and silencing but also against the colonial legacy of the genre itself. This, in turn, forces them to contend with such issues as the language and mode of writing, as well as the dominant narratives of the encounter with the Other and colonial expansion and conquest, which constitute the cornerstones of mainstream science fiction writing. At the same time, it should come as no surprise that the topic of diasporas is one that returns in the works of postcolonial speculative fiction time and time again: from Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber (2000), through Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl (2002) and Hiromi Goto’s Chorus of Mushrooms (1994) and The Kappa Child (Goto 2001), as well as numerous short stories, such as Andrea Hairston’s “Griots of the Galaxy,” Celu Amberstone’s “Refugees,” Suzette Mayr’s “Toot Sweet Matricia,” or Sheree R. Thomas’s “The Grassdreaming Tree” (all included in the anthology of postcolonial speculative fiction So Long Been Dreaming, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder

[3.33]

[3.34]

[3.35]

DRAFT

[3.36]

Mythology of the Space Frontier

Mehan, 2004). These stories, which at their core betray a deep engagement with the processes of remembrance and identity formation as well as the preservation of cultural heritage in diasporic communities, testify to the continued necessity of reconciling with the colonial histories of those communities. At the same time, they constitute an expression of the authors’ own experiences as members of various diasporas, articulating the traces of the lingering colonial tensions that find their reflections in the stories the postcolonial speculative fiction writers arrive at. It appears, then, that there exists a mutual affinity between diaspora and postcolonial speculative fiction, as the former can be addressed and analyzed critically in the literary works produced within the genre in new, innovative ways that shed light on the condition of diasporic communities, while the latter offers the authors the opportunity to articulate their own experiences of living in a diaspora in a setting that allows for a degree of distance from the realities of everyday diasporic existence. As Michelle Reid (2005) argues in her essay on postcolonial theory in the context of science fiction, speculative writing allows the authors to “project a world completely different to our own into other times and spaces that doesn’t have to be subject to the same assumptions or colonial legacies. This can provide a distance or freedom from existing colonial narratives or a chance to replay and re-examine power relationships” (Reid 2005, n.p.). Thus, what constitutes the primary object of interest for the previously mentioned stories—as well as the vast majority of this particular subgenre in general—is an examination of memory and history within the context of the diaspora. For Hopkinson, Tan-Tan’s coming-of-age story is a journey toward remembrance and preservation of the collective memory of the community on Toussaint and New Half-Way Tree; for Lai, the interrogation of memory passed down through the body and her exploration of the Memory Disease, which consists of the “leaking of the past into the present” (2002, 105), constitutes one of the central themes of her novel, which approaches the ways in which diasporic communities engage in the practices of remembering and forgetting; for Celu Amberstone’s titular refugees, their diasporic existence is centered on the notions of remembrance and blood memory, highlighting the sites of intergenerational struggle as she explores the rift between two distinct diasporic traditions: the tribal and the urban. It becomes evident, then, that these stories about the future are, in fact, stories about the past. These stories should not, however, be regarded as an outright critique of contemporary models of diaspora—such as those proposed by Enseng Ho (2004), Robin Cohen (2008), or William Safran (1991)—even though their engagement with the sociopolitical and cultural realities of the times in which they were produced is not lacking in nuance and critical approach by any means. Nor should they be regarded as a voice of support for those models. Instead, they constitute rather a general diagnosis of the contemporary condition of diaspora.

Agnieszka Podruczna

DRAFT

What makes postcolonial speculative fiction the quintessential genre for modern-day literary discussion of diaspora, however, is first and foremost its estranging capabilities—defined as cognitive estrangement (by Suvin 1988) or structural fabulation (by Scholes 1976)—which allow the authors explicitly to articulate the implicit mechanisms of the colonial project as well as the form and function of diasporic communities through their symbolism and imagery. Thus, the metaphorical and metonymic properties of science fiction, highlighted by Damien Broderick (1995) in his definition of the genre, emerge as the key strategies for the rethinking and reimagining of the contemporary and future conditions of diasporas, highlighting the points of rupture (spatial, temporal, social, historical) and allowing us to reexamine critically the contemporary fears and struggles of diasporic communities at the same time as they symbolically highlight the mechanisms of resistance and reclamation that would allow the diasporas to reconcile their past with their present and their future. What these postcolonial speculative stories of diasporas do, then, is refuse to be contained—much like their protagonists—to a given space and time, transgressing spatial and temporal boundaries in order to rupture further the fractured meanings of time and space, of the past, the present, and the future, of home and not-home. While commenting on the complex and often-contradictory realities of diasporic existence, the stories that emerge from the genre of postcolonial speculative fiction allow writers to articulate the links between the present and the past, between remembering and forgetting, emphasizing the fragmentariness of the postcolonial diasporic condition and the liminal spaces that allow for expressions of subversion and postcolonial counterdiscourse. This, in turn, allows postcolonial speculative fiction—and science fiction in particular—to become a new, effective means of exploring diasporic identities and histories, articulating the contemporary condition of diasporas while engaging with both their pasts and their projected futures.

[3.37]

[3.38]

DRAFT

Chapter Four

Speculative Diasporas Hari Kunzru’s Historical Consciousness, the Rhetoric of Interplanetary Colonization, and the Locus-Colonial Novel Rachel Rochester

[4.0]

[4.1]

Climate change presents an imminent threat to human welfare, and we, as a species, must choose how we wish to proceed. The most recent meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014 claims, “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2014, 2). Moreover, the United Nations views climate change as a major driver of diaspora, estimating that climate-related refugees will reach record highs and keep increasing as long as climate change is allowed to continue unchecked (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] 2011). This premonition is becoming all too real, as wars driven in part by the resource scarcity associated with climate change force people from their homelands in unprecedented numbers (UNHCR 2015). In light of this, an understanding of the ways in which human behavior affects ecosystems is more important now than ever. However, in response to threats to humanity, including those posed by climate change and environmental degradation, multiple agencies have responded not with a call to operate more consciously within planetary systems but with plans for humanity to create a new human settlement on Mars. The momentum behind plans for the colonization of Mars represents a crucial turn for diaspora studies. In the twentieth century, diaspora has most often been used to discuss forced dislocations and the resettlements that

Rachel Rochester

inevitably follow; diaspora is about the place where one both begins and ends. Much diasporic literature has foregrounded history, considering the circumstances that lead to diaspora as well as the exilic and diasporic communities that develop after. In light of proposals to develop human civilizations on Mars, however, diasporic writers and theorists have the opportunity to use their knowledge of terrestrial history to predict and influence a new diasporic model. As humans stand at the precipice of becoming interplanetary, driven in part by environmental threats, diaspora scholars must consider how such a migration might set a precedent that makes species-level diasporas the status quo and how human settlement on Mars might affect planetary systems themselves. In this chapter, I examine the rhetoric surrounding proposed missions to Mars, arguing that it suggests that humanity is poised to export the same model of settler colonization that has led to so many terrestrial diasporas. I then consider what literary narratives might do to change the course of interplanetary colonization. The history of environmental catastrophes and the mass human migrations that inevitably follow can offer crucial lessons for humanity, as proposals to inhabit Mars become increasingly plausible. If we cannot find a way to assess, analyze, and reject the cultural patterns that have allowed environmental degradation to go largely unchecked, we seem destined to repeat the same mistakes on Mars. The confines of anthropocentric histories, however, make it extremely challenging to catalog the ways in which human behaviors beget environmental calamity. Historian Dipesh Chakrabarty (2009) notes that human and natural histories have largely been kept in separate categories. Human histories cast people as exclusively biological agents, but this distinction collapses in light of anthropogenically motivated climate change: humans can no longer be seen as only affecting biological systems, but geophysical ones as well (2009, 206). Collective human action has altered the composition of the atmosphere, affecting Earth’s physical processes, not simply those of the life-forms that live on Earth. For Chakrabarty, neither natural nor human histories are sufficient to convey the magnitude of human impact on Earth (2009, 199). Moreover, he notes that humans affect geological processes as a species, and understanding ourselves as a collective is beyond our historical consciousness: “[C]limate change poses for us a question of a human collectivity, an us, pointing to a figure of the universal that escapes our capacity to experience the world” (2009, 222). In order to remediate environmental damage on Earth or to prevent similar destruction to new sites of habitation on previously unpeopled planets, it is necessary to find a medium through which to convey the implications of species-level human impact on planetary systems. Dominant modes of historical accounting are thus far insufficient. Where mainstream histories have failed, however, radical literary experiments might begin to make inroads. Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe con-

DRAFT

[4.2]

[4.3]

DRAFT

[4.4]

[4.5]

[4.6]

Speculative Diasporas

tends that literature is crucial for helping readers gain a new perspective on reality and the ways that reality may or must change because literature enables “us to encounter in the safe, manageable dimensions of make-believe the very same threats to integrity that may assail the psyche in real life” (1988, 170). Achebe’s body of work focuses on the ways in which literature can help former colonial subjects imagine themselves as citizens of independent nation-states, but his point that literary narratives are able to “offer the kinetic energy necessary for social transition and change” has grander, solarsystemic relevance as human beings begin to consider the very real possibility of interplanetary colonization (1988, 167). The novel’s history as a tool of resistance and identity formation, along with its ability to create an imaginative space in which to consider possible solutions to complex problems, make it an important tool in ongoing plans for planetary redundancy. Literary narratives have long been credited with triggering seismic changes in public belief, self-perception, and behavior. 1 Evidence of this abounds even among potential Martian colonists: 70 percent of the remaining candidates for the Mars One Mission, one of the three organizations planning Martian colonies that I examine in this chapter, attribute their interest in space exploration to a narrative medium, such as movies or books (Mars One 2016). But if novels are to help people learn to experience themselves as a species and respond to humanity’s role as a biogeophysical force, then they must find a way to portray humans as the powerful ecosystemic actants we now know them to be. It is only recently that the scope of human impact on planetary systems has become apparent, and a contemporary literary genre is needed to communicate such grandiose consequences. Hari Kunzru’s 2011 novel Gods without Men is an ideal case study of what I have termed the locus-colonial novel: a novel that decenters the human, situating place at the fulcrum of a work of historical fiction to examine the complex relationships among different human groups and the planetary systems on which they depend. 2 By considering the current discourse on proposed colonization efforts on Mars alongside Kunzru’s work, we may begin to see why the locus-colonial novel is a crucial interlocutor in the effort to improve human–planetary relationships and, consequently, diminish one of the major drivers of diaspora. The plot of Kunzru’s novel is not an easy one to describe: myriad substories revolve around a three-pinnacled rock formation in the Mojave Desert, and the chapters jump between points of view, eras, and places with little warning. The human characters and their trajectories are all left unresolved, serving as a relational tether to draw readers into what is, for all intents and purposes, the biography of a geological feature. Although all the narrative arcs of Gods without Men work in concert to depict humanity’s destructive feedback loops, I focus particularly on the story line of the Ashtar Galactic

Rachel Rochester

Command, a UFO cult dedicated to healing the earth of its human-caused woes, and various “saucer people” from multiple periods in the cult’s history. Gods without Men is so potent, in part, because it maps how past human actions created Earth’s present, then follows that trajectory into an interplanetary future. The dream of interplanetary colonization is a conspicuous backdrop to Kunzru’s study of Earth: the motif of space, embodied by the Ashtar Galactic Command’s preoccupation with planetary evacuation, is echoed by subtler space-themed metaphors, diction, and observations woven through every chapter. The novel’s juxtaposition of dreams of migration to outer space against the narratives of people who have migrated to the rocks models how migration, both on Earth and beyond, ultimately does little to resolve social and environmental tensions. In Gods without Men, seeds sown in the past bear bitter fruit in the present, and the specter of the future serves to remind readers of the high stakes of changing humanity’s destructive patterns. Kunzru’s fixation with inescapable patterns of destructive behavior is succinctly distilled in his depiction of a mechanic known only as Schmidt. Schmidt recounts a troubled past: a history of colonial occupation, guilt, and migration that seems inescapable. Schmidt first impregnates a Native American teenager, only to abuse and nearly murder her. Schmidt flees their home, wracked with guilt and dedicated to finding a way to “get back right with the world” (Kunzru 2012b, 11). Schmidt’s reinvention, however, involves an act of significantly greater colonial magnitude. In an attempt to “be judged not as a monster but as a bringer of light, a good man,” Schmidt becomes an airline mechanic to aid in the World War II effort (2012b, 12). But Schmidt’s efforts backfire: after working on the Enola Gay, Schmidt discovers the monstrosity of atomic power and is devastated by his complicity in the Hiroshima bombing. Schmidt is appalled that the “spiritual promise of energy had been perverted; instead of abolishing poverty and hunger, atomic power would turn the planet into a wasteland” (2012b, 14). As after his abusive relationship, Schmidt again seeks to reinvent himself through relocation, this time to the pinnacles that are the focus of the novel. Schmidt arrives at the pinnacles in 1947: they’ve only recently been privatized and are sacred to the indigenous people of the region (2012b, 6, 122). The pinnacles seem sacred to Schmidt, too, and he becomes convinced that they can be used to contact aliens. Schmidt describes the pinnacles as land “people hadn’t fooled with,” land “that let you alone,” and land that seemed to have a life of its own, its three pillars resembling the “tentacles of some ancient creature, weathered feelers probing the sky” (2012b, 6). Despite his admiration of the landscape, however, Schmidt immediately goes about developing his territory. He adds an airstrip, a gas tank, and a cinderblock shelter (2012b, 7). Before he can begin to understand the complex ecosystem of the desert, Schmidt has altered it. Moreover, Schmidt reifies his

DRAFT

[4.7]

[4.8]

[4.9]

DRAFT

[4.10]

[4.11]

[4.12]

Speculative Diasporas

position as a colonial force by violently banishing the indigenous inhabitants from visiting their sacred territory (2012b, 8). Schmidt, in his own words, wants to be loving and penitent—he even puts a sign reading “Welcome,” meant to benefit both terrestrial and extraterrestrial pilots—but his clashes with the indigenous population reveal how entrenched he is in colonial ideology. He is unable to appreciate the cultural and environmental damage wrought by his occupation of sacred indigenous land. Schmidt’s narrative arc explicates the ways in which the attitude that allows for the plunder of the nonhuman environment drives the marginalization of vulnerable populations, as well. As Helen Tiffin notes, “human slavery and environmental damage are connected because human—and, more specifically, Western—exploitation of other peoples is inseparable from attitudes and practices in relation to other species and the extra-human environment generally” (Tiffin 2007, xii). If environmental and social exploitation stem from the same root, then any attempt to address the underlying causes of such problems must consider both issues. Kunzru interweaves his consideration of Schmidt’s exploitation of the land with his disrespect for vulnerable populations. Schmidt’s story showcases the immediate violence wrought by the settler colonial mind-set, but the format of the locus-colonial novel allows Kunzru simultaneously to consider the long-term consequences of settler colonialism in the region. Schmidt’s cultural thoughtlessness and territorial occupation are relatively unsurprising: he is a white male living in the United States in the mid-twentieth century, and both history and the novel itself establish his legal right to treat his property however he sees fit. Schmidt founds the Ashtar Galactic Command on the land he has cleared of Native Americans, and the cult develops a complex mythology involving benevolent aliens and careful terrestrial stewardship. After Schmidt’s death, it seems as if the collective will move beyond Schmidt’s personal prejudices. The collective is explicitly dedicated to equality and stands in direct opposition to the patriarchal townsfolk nearby. The members of the cult ultimately perpetuate his patterns of interrelated oppressions despite their best intentions, which suggests that communities founded on ecological and social violence cannot escape the tenets of their origins. As the novel refocuses on the command, a portrait comes into focus of well-meaning Lightworkers trying, and failing, to atone for their colonial history. By 1969, Schmidt’s disciples, contextualized against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, have made it their mission to purge the earth of negative energy, particularly that which comes from environmental pollution and military occupation. Members of the command, known as Lightworkers, are tasked with trying to enlighten other Earthlings about the errors of their ways but are promised planetary evacuation if their efforts fail (Kunzru 2012b, 166). As the novel charts the cult’s development, Kunzru reveals the ways in

Rachel Rochester

DRAFT

which the Lightworkers, too, are complicit in the destructive behaviors they condemn. Dawn Koenig, a cult member who narrates the chapters about the command, notes that, of all of the sources of negative energy, the Lightworkers believe that the H-bomb was the worst. Not just because it was nuclear. Because it used hydrogen. Splitting hydrogen atoms threatened the life force. It was in air and water, part of the Earth’s very soul. Also, the burning of hydrocarbons such as coal and oil . . . was combining with the modern-day projections of human negativity to produce smog, which lay over big cities and made it hard for Lightworkers to signal the fleets. That was one reason the Earth base was located in the desert. Pollution. (2012b, 156)

[4.13]

The narrative of peace, protection, and equality lures Dawn to the cult at the pinnacles, but as time progresses, she is forced to acknowledge that the Lightworkers have an exploitative power structure all of their own—one that subjugates both vulnerable people and the environment. As the townspeople begin to stage raids against the command, the saucer people change their mantra from one of love to one of “[a]rmed love” (2012b, 261). Lightworkers walk around singing rebel songs and carrying rifles (2012b, 260–61). Dawn leaves the command when the cult members turn on each other, shooting a young member whose mantra, of breaking down the model of settler colonialism by becoming an “unsettler,” seems as much doomed by the nature of his demise as its fact (2012b, 262). Looking down at the command’s Earth base, rusty and dull, burned and covered in the detritus of broken bottles, Dawn realizes that fleets of alien spaceships will never come to evacuate the cult members. The earth is irradiated, polluted, and spoiled by conflict, and the members of the command are as much to blame as anyone else (2012b, 260). Even the Lightworkers do not deserve a new planet to ravage. There are currently three major entities poised to make a legitimate play at colonizing Mars within the next few decades, and all of them, like the Lightworkers, seem to imagine that a fresh start in a new territory might bring salvation. NASA plans a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s; SpaceX, headed by Elon Musk, plans to send settlers to Mars in 2024; and the not-for-profit foundation Mars One proposes to begin the development of a human settlement on Mars by 2031 (Regis 2015, A21). The urge to cultivate diasporic communities of humans on other planets implies anxiety that Earth will not remain a habitable planet indefinitely. For each new planet with a self-sustaining human population, the odds of species survival increase exponentially. Describing the motivation to colonize Mars, NASA, SpaceX, and Mars One dodge the issue of the devastation wrought by environmental degradation and climate change. NASA’s official materials regarding their journey to

[4.14]

[4.15]

[4.16]

DRAFT

[4.17]

[4.18]

Speculative Diasporas

Mars simply suggest that it is all in the spirit of discovery (Daines 2014); Musk has suggested that humans need to become interplanetary because it is an evolutionary imperative (Musk 2013); while the official Mars One materials state that human beings should travel to Mars for the sake of “progress” (Mars One 2015b). Notably, none of the materials directly link plans for mass human migration to climatological issues, leaving narrative lacunae that make it possible for readers to imagine that leaving Earth would automatically make climate change a nonissue. The dearth of official statements linking terrestrial climate issues to Mars missions is both surprising and troubling, considering that all three organizations are embroiled in environmental activism in other aspects of their work. NASA hosts a public web page on the causes of climate change, acknowledging that most climate scientists agree that climate change is the result of human behavior (NASA 2016). Musk, whose other business ventures, Tesla Motors, Inc., and SolarCity, focus on alternative energy and sustainability issues, has publicly said that, if governments continue to rely on fossil fuels, then humanity may face consequences of “more displacement and destruction than all the wars of history combined” (Thompson 2015). The Mars One website maintains that the mission “can greatly improve . . . sustainability efforts on Earth,” gesturing toward recycling systems and solar panel technology (Mars One 2015c). The people involved with NASA, SpaceX, and Mars One clearly identify climate change and environmental degradation as a threat to Earth’s habitability, and they admit humanity’s complicity in such issues. Nevertheless, they have neglected to voice such truths in the conversation about interplanetary colonization, increasing the likelihood that the same patterns that are bringing about environmental calamity on Earth will be repeated if colonization plans come to fruition. The implications of Mars colonization narratives that ignore environmental issues on Earth are already becoming evident. Current plans for settling Mars all depend on intentional climate change, and many proposed models seem destined to replicate the same issues that are currently threatening ecosystems on Earth. Mars is by far the most hospitable planet in nearby space, but it is not currently capable of supporting human life: every mission to settle Mars is contingent on the intentional reconfiguration of planetary conditions, the likes of which have never taken place on Earth, even in the midst of the most aggressive imperial campaigns. To colonize Mars is to terraform it. According to Tim Urban, “in theory, with enough effort and technology, humans could terraform Mars and sometime down the road have a somewhat pleasant planet to live on, with trees and oceans and no need to wear a spacesuit outside” (2015, 2). T-shirts available for sale from the Mars One web shop hint at the aftereffects of terraforming, depicting a rocket’s base blasting off from a rocky blue landscape. The rocket’s nose, against the red sky of Mars, morphs into a flowering tree that feeds a hovering hum-

Rachel Rochester

mingbird. In the narrative that Mars One constructs through its merchandising, Mars is a warm and fruitful planet replete with flora and fauna, while the Earth left behind is cold and barren. Despite Mars One’s misleading imagery, there will be no such environment waiting on Mars without major human intervention. Mars is not a Goldilocks planet, but with enough resources and effort, it could, perhaps, be converted into something suitable for human habitation. The trouble with terraforming is not that it will make Mars uninhabitable but that it makes great changes to planetary systems without understanding them. We might again look to Earth’s colonial history to understand some of the repercussions of such a strategy, albeit on a much smaller scale. Some experts, most notably Richard Grove, have lauded the ways in which imperial interference changed the ecosystems of colonial outposts, but the vast majority of postcolonial ecocritics see things differently (Grove 1995). As Ruth Blair contends, it is not the introduction of foreign species and displacement of endemic ones that is itself the problem; it is the inability of colonial settlers, alienated from the land, to recognize the importance of ecosystemic relationships (2007, 100). The vast majority of historical environmental devastation has been done unwittingly. Just as European settlers to the Pacific Islands replaced resilient polycultural systems of agriculture with fragile monocultures in an effort to introduce useful plants, so, too, aspirational Martians may inadvertently savage crucial planetary networks before even knowing they exist (Blair 2007, 99). The plans for terraforming Mars are both massive in scope and, seemingly, irreversible. For terraforming advocates, the end goal is virtual planetary replication. Terraforming advocates are currently brainstorming ways to catalyze a greenhouse effect on Mars, and the general consensus is that a temperature increase of only seven degrees Fahrenheit is adequate to release water from the polar ice caps of Mars (Urban 2015, 2). Robert Zubrin, president of both the Mars Society and Pioneer Astronautics, notes that “it will be possible for humans to substantially thicken Mars’s atmosphere by forcing the regolith to outgas its contents through a deliberate programme of artificially induced global warming” (2014, 53). 3 The way to achieve this global warming on Mars is still the subject of some debate, but plans generally involve deliberately converting elements on Mars into greenhouse gases like methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and carbon dioxide—the same gases that are presently leading Earth toward uninhabitability—or detonating nuclear weapons. Proposals to terraform Mars and plunder the resources to be found in space seem to suggest that, before even reaching the red planet, potential human colonists harbor little concern about the ways in which their presence might damage preexisting ecosystemic relationships. It seems likely that other environmentally devastating practices will be exported to Mars as well. Attempting to answer the question about whether

DRAFT

[4.19]

[4.20]

[4.21]

DRAFT

[4.22]

[4.23]

Speculative Diasporas

the mission will harm the Martian environment, the Mars One materials skirt around the discussion of intentional ecological tampering like resource extraction and terraforming, instead focusing on environmental buzzwords. They note that the scarcity of resources on Mars will force the colonists to be frugal, recycle everything, and use solar energy, concluding that “Mars residents will have a much smaller ecological footprint than that of the average person on Earth” (Mars One 2015c). They go on to assert that the publicity of the ascetic Martian lifestyle will encourage people to behave more sustainably on Earth, boost the profile of the recycling industry, and increase the availability of lightweight solar panel technology. These claims ignore the resources required for transporting the colonists to Mars and building the infrastructure necessary for their habitation, instead focusing on the conventional bandages that are already being applied, inadequately, to the systemic consumptive drive behind terrestrial climate change. Although the proposal assures readers that unspecified precautions will be taken to protect the environment of the red planet, plans for extracting resources from the ground and atmosphere are part of the Mars One mission statement (Mars One 2015a). Recent legislation designed to protect corporate interests in space do nothing to quell concerns about environmentally destructive practices being exported to Mars and other extraterrestrial locales. Mining in space is so close to becoming reality that the US government has begun to legislate official policies. H.R. 2262, colloquially known as the SPACE Act, became law on November 25, 2015, and includes provisions for private companies to protect any resources they extract from asteroids for private profit with limited government interference. The bill’s passage indicates that commercial space resource extraction is plausible enough to warrant legislation and lobbyists. Moreover, as space doesn’t have the benefit of even the modest environmental protections governing Earth, such legislation sets a dangerous precedent for how similar projects might be handled on colonized planets. As humans have yet to find evidence of extraterrestrial life, it may seem as though such environmental interventions away from Earth have few, if any, adverse consequences. Without evidence of life beyond Earth and pending any detailed information regarding the ecosystemic conditions of Mars, it seems as though any critique of colonial practices on Mars should focus on the potential impact to human populations. Perhaps, then, it is enough to note that the effort and resources put toward making Mars suitable for human habitation will be all for naught if humans are unable to identify and curb the underlying traits that lead to the devastation of planetary systems. If humans colonize new planets only to exhaust them, then humanity is setting itself up for an endless chain of diasporas, each leading us further away from Earth. If humans manage to colonize Mars but fail to learn from the history of their environmentally destructive practices, then ever more dramatic human displacement will become the status quo.

Rachel Rochester

DRAFT

If we accept that climate change is the result of human behavior, that climate change poses a real threat to the planetary relationships necessary to support life on Earth, and that current plans to colonize Mars threaten to export the destructive human behaviors that lead to climate change and social inequity on Earth, then it seems as though it should be easy to disrupt our socially and ecologically destructive patterns. Of course, as Kunzru (2012b) models in his consideration of Schmidt and the Ashtar Galactic Command, disrupting colonial ideology is always more difficult than it seems. According to Chakrabarty, humans may not even be capable of the kind of selfawareness necessary to slough off our exploitative ways. Chakrabarty contends that, because climate change is the result of collective human action, we must be able to view ourselves as a species at large if we are to fully comprehend its magnitude. Therefore, his assertion that “we can never understand this universal” is particularly ominous (2009, 221–22). He goes on to emphasize that this universal identity is even more complex, for it must not “subsume particularities” and ignore that some humans are more responsible for climate change than others (2009, 222). Alarmingly, Chakrabarty does not seem to believe that the human mind is capable of the acrobatics necessary for humans to accept their role in perpetuating climate change. Where Chakrabarty leaves off on a somewhat hopeless note, however, I suggest that the locus-colonial novel may step in. Chakrabarty is primarily a historian, and that may account for some of his skepticism: history, presented as fact, has long been a valuable tool in the perpetuation of colonial ideology. In the foundational text The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization, Walter Mignolo (1995) notes that colonizers do not simply erase the language and history of the colonized from their historical accounts. Instead, they adapt native history and mythology until the colonizer’s version of reality becomes accepted as fact (1995, 5). The colonizers have written the histories, eliding the ways in which their very colonial practices have altered existing social and planetary systems. When the histories are composed by the powers that be, they rarely showcase the adverse consequences of their actions. Where “history” is an oppressive tool, however, the locus-colonial novel may begin to present alternative historical stories that better demonstrate the causes and effects of colonialism. The locus-colonial novel is rooted in historical accounts yet remains free to challenge them. 4 In function, the locuscolonial novel is similar to Ramón Saldívar’s (2011) conception of “historical fantasy,” which he identifies as one way to combat the hermeneutic tyranny initiated by settler colonialism. “Historical fantasy,” which is literature that examines history through a fictionalized and fantastical lens, can draw attention to the ways in which historic accounts themselves are often more fiction than fact and compel “our attention to the gap or deficit between the ideals of redemptive liberal democratic national histories concerning in-

[4.24]

[4.25]

[4.26]

DRAFT

Speculative Diasporas

clusiveness, equality, justice, universal rights, freedom guaranteed by rule of law, and the deeds that have constituted nations and their histories as public collective fantasies” (Saldívar 2011, 594). For Saldívar, historical fantasy can present the evidence found in the space between historical narratives— the approximation of truth that can be discerned by sifting through various subjective accounts—to present a pattern that must be broken if humanity is ever to find a truly sustainable cultural model. The primary difference between “historical fantasy” and the locus-colonial novel is scope. While Saldívar describes a genre of fiction that is expressly designed to account for racial tensions in a theoretically postracial American landscape (Saldívar 2011, 575), Kunzru’s project is significantly more global: it attempts to encapsulate a universal experience. Speaking in 2008, Kunzru articulated some of his stated goals as an author by invoking the charter of PEN, an international society of writers for which Kunzru then served as deputy president for the English chapter. Two of the tenets, particularly, speak to Kunzru’s mission in Gods without Men: [4.27] [4.28]

[4.29]

[4.30]

1. Literature knows no frontiers, and should remain a common currency between nations in spite of political or international upheavals. . . . 3. Members of PEN should at all times use what influence they have in favour of good understanding and mutual respect between nations; they pledge themselves to do their utmost to dispel race, class and national hatreds, and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in one world. (2012a, 25–26) Informed by these stated ideals, Gods without Men works to create the impression of “one humanity,” even while detailing the ways in which different factions of that humanity have waged war on each other. In so doing, he has begun to answer Chakrabarty’s call to cultivate a “universal” that “cannot subsume particularities” (2009, 222). Kunzru has created a document that presents myriad alternative, sometimes-contradictory histories of the same place, all designed to showcase how the colonial impulse degrades both human beings and the planet we rely on. Kunzru’s previous works have allowed him to emphasize the human impact of colonialism and the migration and diaspora that follows, but the locus-colonial novel form affords him the opportunity to incorporate and interrogate the importance of place. In Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes, Arturo Escobar suggests that contemporary scholarship has emphasized displacement and migration to the detriment of a consideration of the ways in which place informs today’s cultural, economic, and ecological struggles (2008, 7). Escobar notes that the dominant theory today is “to state that globalization has rendered place irrelevant, meaningless, or at least secondary in the constitution of places and region” (2008, 30). But for Escobar, that leads to dire consequences not only for indigenous

Rachel Rochester

inhabitants but also for the ecosystemic welfare of the region itself (2008, 66). While modernity may allow settlers to feel comfortable in an alien landscape or to develop a sense of spiritual or material ownership over the land, it does not equip them to understand the minutiae of the region with any intimacy. Kunzru seems to echo Escobar’s concerns, using Gods without Men to reveal the ways in which colonial groups, despite their best intentions, repeatedly fail to form enduring and mutually sustaining relationships with the territories that they occupy. When read in the context of interplanetary colonization, such a claim has grim implications: when every human is disconnected from the planetary landscape, Kunzru suggests that there is little hope for ecosystemic awareness. Kunzru emphasizes the bleak consequences of ill-informed habitation as each new wave of settlers leaves the spires slightly more tarnished than the last. In Gods without Men, Kunzru presents a history of terrestrial colonization that should serve as a precolonial warning for aspirational Martians, particularly as current plans for interplanetary colonization, for all their space-age panache, adhere closely to conventional colonial models. Kunzru’s treatment of the Lightworkers depicts well-meaning people who are nevertheless incapable of breaking free of their destructive patterns. The Mars mission materials read the same way. One potent example comes in the form of the rocket that would bring colonists to Mars in the first place: a rocket that is currently and for the foreseeable future entirely dependent on fossil fuels. Musk, whose Tesla Motors engages in research on alternative, more-sustainable means of powering both vehicles and homes, has stated, “For rockets to go electric, there would have to be a few Nobel Prizes awarded” (quoted in Urban 2015, 4). During launch, the prize rocket developed by SpaceX, the Falcon 9, burns 540 gallons of fuel per second (Urban 2015, 4). Despite his desire to move society away from finite fuel resources, Musk recognizes that, because space is a vacuum, alternative methods for generating thrust are currently inconceivable. Even if future spacecraft are driven by nuclear technology or as-yet-undiscovered methods of energy production, the human ability to launch anything into orbit depends on force that can currently only be generated by fuel-driven explosions. This poses a logistical conundrum that bears great ideological weight: if space travel is only feasible because of the very petro-culture that is largely responsible for anthropogenically motivated climate change, then is there any way to view interplanetary colonization as a means to germinate a more conscientious, resource-wise human culture? If the act of settling another planet depends on the willingness to burn immense quantities of fossil fuels, intentionally to replicate the same environmentally devastating practices that have led to terrestrial climate change, and to extract innumerable resources at great environmental cost, then can any successful colonial settlement jettison the consumptive practices that have contributed to Earth’s growing uninhabitability? And, if the

DRAFT

[4.31]

DRAFT

[4.32]

Speculative Diasporas

answer to the last question is no, then do humans deserve planetary redundancy, knowing that each settlement will be temporary, lasting only so long as local resources support the human population? These are questions that must be tackled in the “safe, manageable dimensions of make-believe” if future colonies have any hope of breaking humanity’s vicious cycle of colonization, exploitation, and devastation (Achebe 1988, 170). Describing contemporary historical novels that consider colonialism and its aftermath, Jed Esty writes that such texts have the potential to detail an “unstable past that holds lessons for an equally unstable present” (2012, 154). Gods without Men, and the locus-colonial novel more generally, works to show the ways in which the patterns of the past affect not only people but also planetary systems in a manner that conventional histories have not. Kunzru presents a compelling argument against interplanetary colonization by depicting how people, alienated from the environments to which they have migrated and unable to leave behind the colonial baggage that has moved them, cannot simply settle on new earth without perpetuating the same destructive practices that led them there. In the face of environmental decimation, however, humans may be forced to choose between extinction and planetary evacuation. As humans prepare to become interplanetary, diaspora theorists may offer a much-needed intervention; scholars of terrestrial diasporas are uniquely equipped to prepare the populace for the challenges that face them as they are forced to evacuate their homeland. New moves in diaspora studies can foreground human complicity in making Earth uninhabitable, reminding readers of the risks of allowing history to repeat itself. Literary treatments of settler colonialism must reveal historical patterns of social injustice and environmental degradation if there is to be any hope for such patterns to be disrupted, and literary theorists must analyze such texts to reveal the dangerously flawed ideology that too often leads to mass human displacement and migration. Literature has the power to shape the ways in which human beings expand beyond Earth, and as plans are laid and rockets built, the time for historically aware, self-conscious texts is now.

[4.33]

NOTES

[4n1]

1. See Elizabeth Ammons’s Brave New Words for a sustained consideration of how literature “offers workable ideas and inspiration in the real-world struggle to achieve social justice and restoration of the earth” (2010, xiv). 2. The locus-colonial novel is a relatively new and developing method of reading literature rather than a proper genre unto itself. Annie Proulx’s recent novel Barkskins (2016), which follows generations of two connected families across the world in search of valuable lumber, is another apt example of the locus-colonial novel. Although Barkskins changes place, its status as a locus-colonial novel is cemented by the way the landscape and the trees on it drive the novel’s action. Similarly Here, Richard McGuire’s 2014 graphic novel, recounts hundreds of thousands of years of world history from the precise geographic coordinates of a single room. The locus-colonial novel telescopes out over immense periods of time—far too vast to be

[4n2]

Rachel Rochester beholden to any one character or group of characters—in order to make visible widespread patterns of exploitation and destruction. 3. Zubrin’s (2012) advocacy of terraforming Mars through a deliberately catalyzed greenhouse effect is perhaps unsurprising given his well-documented defense of anthropogenically motivated climate change on Earth. Not a climate change denier, Zubrin has instead argued that the benefits of climate change and the society that depends on behaviors that contribute to climate change outweigh any consequences. In a recent review of Roger Scruton’s How to Think Seriously about the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism, Zubrin dismisses any concern that climate change might disproportionately affect the developing world: “As a matter of scientific fact, warming lengthens the growing season and increases rainfall, while increased CO2 concentrations accelerate plant growth. Yet for Scruton, no demonstration that global warming is on net harmful is required, and the innumerable benefits offered to the underdeveloped sector by Western invention, industry, and medicine are readily ignored” (2012, 82). 4. Kunzru is known for his painstaking historical research, and Gods without Men is no exception. The historical influences for Gods without Men, including those for many of the substories not analyzed in this chapter, make for extremely interesting reading. In an interview with the New Yorker’s Rollo Romig, Kunzru details the research he did on a real-world UFO cult, also called the Ashtar Galactic Command, to write about the group by the same name in the novel (Romig 2012). In his acknowledgments, Kunzru expresses gratitude to Carobeth Laird, whose linguist-ethnographer ex-husband John Peabody Harrington seems to have served as the inspiration for the character and trajectory of Deighton. Much of the novel pays homage to Laird’s memoir about her doomed marriage and affair with her linguistic informant, Encounter with an Angry God (1975), and her extensive work translating Chemehuevi mythology seems the basis of the Coyote tales that populate the text. Kunzru’s acknowledgments attribute sections on Fray Francisco Garcés and the early Spanish colonizers to a real Garcés, who “did travel through Sonora, Arizona, and California in 1775–1776 and wrote about what he found” (2012b, 371). The history behind the inspiration for Kunzru’s depiction of a simulacrum of an Iraqi village, Wadi al-Hamam, and the experience of a young Iraqi immigrant there can be found in the documentary Full Battle Rattle, which details how Iraqi immigrants and refugees are hired to aid the US military by allowing soldiers to practice possible wartime scenarios in ersatz Iraqi villages reconstructed in the desert of the American Southwest (Gerber and Moss 2008). While Kunzru fictionalizes these historical accounts within Gods without Men, the book is indebted to a staggering body of historical research.

DRAFT

[4n3]

[4n4]

DRAFT

Part III

City Spaces

DRAFT

Chapter Five

Diasporic Ways of Knowing Teju Cole’s Open City Christiane Steckenbiller

[5.0]

In the first chapter of Teju Cole’s 2011 novel Open City, Julius, the protagonist and first-person narrator, sets out walking through New York City. From Morningside Heights, past the Cathedral of St. John, Morningside, Sakura, and Central Park, and along the Hudson, the narrator’s “aimless wandering” (Cole 2011, 3) takes him through Manhattan on those first pages and as far as Brussels later in the text and emphasizes from the very beginning not only the novel’s focus on the city but also the narrator’s intimate relationship with spatiality. The urban space, however, is not merely a backdrop for Julius’s walks. As he remarks in the first paragraph, “New York City worked itself into my life at walking pace” (Cole 2011, 3), which is a sign of the narrator’s reciprocal relationship with his environment. He also notes his “habit of watching bird migrations from [his] apartment,” pondering how this routine might be connected to his walks and “how our life below might look from their perspective,” while at the same time doubting the existence of those birds, as he “couldn’t trust [his] memory when they weren’t there” (Cole 2011, 3–4). As he watches the pigeons, sparrows, and other birds, he listens to the radio, which brings him internet programs from faraway places and different time zones. He also contemplates his reading materials—Roland Barthes, Peter Altenberg, and Tahar Ben Jelloun in this passage—all of which prompt the narrator to reflect on his past or think about other personal or historical narratives as they relate, in this example, to birdwatching or walking. Through this setup, Cole introduces a second set of themes—migration and global connectedness coupled with memory and storytelling, or, as I argue in this chapter, knowledge and knowledge production—and thus combines a concern with different perspectives and positions with a focus on the

Christiane Steckenbiller

“life below,” practices like walking and concrete spaces in the city. The text, therefore, advocates alternative ways of engaging with one’s environment, or what I call “diasporic ways of knowing.” Shifting focus on the process of knowledge production as it coincides with the urban space and the larger topic of migration can offer both a more nuanced reading of Cole’s novel and point toward new directions in the field of diaspora studies. Although it is not until much later in the book that the narrator reveals first his own name and then that he is himself a member of the African diaspora in the United States, this aspect of his identity is of central importance. Gradually, the reader pieces together that he was born in Lagos to a German mother and Nigerian father before he came to the United States to get an undergraduate degree at Maxwell, followed by a graduate degree in medicine at Madison. The novel picks up in the fall of 2006, when Julius is a psychiatrist in residency at a hospital in Manhattan. How the narrator relays this background by way of references to the diversity of the city—locals, newcomers, migrants, strangers, and friends—and his interest in African folklore and predilections for histories of suffering and violence, above all colonialism, terrorism, and the Holocaust, conveys a concern with multiplicity, uncertainty, familiarity, strangeness, and alienation that lies at the heart of the novel. The narrator himself calls attention to his diasporic identity multiple times in the text, and it is precisely the implications of the term diaspora—and its inherent diffusion and complexity—that I recuperate here. The novel’s inhabitants, including the narrator, constitute a place-specific ethnoscape, in Arjun Appadurai’s sense, a “landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live: tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles, guest workers, and other moving groups and individuals” (1996, 33), who, as Julius shows, do not necessarily forge bonds based on their diverse backgrounds. In the same vein as Leslie Adelson’s “touching tales” (2005, 20) or B. Venkat Mani’s “cosmopolitical claims,” Cole’s novel tells of “multiple and simultaneous affiliations and disaffiliations” (Mani 2007, 7) made possible by the proximity and openness of the city. 1 The text calls attention to spatiality and the world, both of which are in flux, and, in Adelson’s reading of Appadurai, “newly diasporic modes of social interaction,” which Adelson sees particularly fit “to capture proliferating interactive contacts” (2005, 41). Here I refract those diasporic modes of interaction in terms of “diasporic ways of knowing” by focusing on how the narrator gets to know or already knows the world of the novel: the physical environment, the city, and its inhabitants. The central question of the novel, then, is not how we can live with others both locally and globally, which is how the novel has most commonly been read, as a performance and/or critique of cosmopolitanism. 2 Rather, what is at stake for my reading is how identities are constituted in place, how places are situated within larger networks of relations, how places themselves are

DRAFT

[5.1]

[5.2]

DRAFT

[5.3]

Diasporic Ways of Knowing

constituted through diverse experiences and narratives, and how diasporic subjects interact with such places. For this reason, I understand diaspora (literally “to sow” or “to scatter seeds” across space, derived from the Greek diasperieren) as a theoretical term that is uniquely positioned to encapsulate movement, flux, spatiality, and individual experiences without being too occupied with borders or the nation-state, while at the same time not discarding those ideas either (Braziel and Mannur 2003). It is a concept that, as Jana Evans Braziel (2008) reminds us, can critically capture the human aspects and the lived practices of movement, the complexities of relocation, and the intricate relationships forged in the new environment, which, as I argue, Open City foregrounds in terms of knowledge production. Furthermore, reorienting Braziel’s and Anita Mannur’s concerns articulated fifteen years ago, 3 I place diaspora studies into conversation with current discussions concerning planetarity, which can equally function as a critique of nation, globalization, and neoliberalism. 4 Using an interdisciplinary approach, I draw on scholarship within cultural geography, urban, postcolonial, and feminist studies to position that research alongside a rich body of work within the field of diaspora studies and examine the intricate relationship between Cole’s narrator and the city to highlight how a diasporic subject can critically perceive and get to know an environment that is equally in flux or on the move. 5 To do so, I focus on spatiality, walking, and knowledge production to theorize the practices and modes of interaction that define the narrator’s relationship with the city. Critics tend to view Cole’s novel through the lens of cosmopolitanism, a reading Cole himself invites by placing Anthony Kwame Appiah’s 2006 Cosmopolitanism into the hands of the narrator, who sends a copy of the book to an acquaintance in Brussels. In that volume, Appiah identifies “two strands” inherent to the concept of cosmopolitanism: “that we have obligations to others [and] that we take seriously the values not just of human life but of particular human lives, which means taking an interest in the practices and beliefs that lend them significance” (2006, xv). Both postulations can offer fruitful entry points into the text—after all, the novel revolves around the narrator’s movement, or travels, and his engagement with others. Yet I am less interested in the capacity of cosmopolitanism to highlight how we connect to other humans than in its potential to encapsulate the connections to the physical world, which the text demands through its focus on walking, spatiality, history, and the narrator’s intellectual musings, themes that have also been pointed out by critics. Pieter Vermeulen (2013), for instance, recognizes walking but also memory as the two organizing principles of the novel, and I add that both of those organizing devices also structure the narrator’s engagement with the landscape. Stressing detachment and disconnectedness, however, Vermeulen reads Open City as constituting a “catalogue of failed attempts to forge intercultural connections by artistic means”

Christiane Steckenbiller

(2013, 42) and “at best provid[ing] experiences of shared isolation” (2013, 47). Claudia Breger, on the other hand, espouses a more positive view by arguing that Cole’s text “productively complicates Appiah’s concept of cosmopolitanism by confronting it with the affective weight of the histories of colonialism, slavery, and the Holocaust” (2015, 107). Madhu Krishnan (2015) similarly underscores the novel’s engagement with violent histories, adding the discourses of imperialism and neoliberalism. For her, however, Open City merely serves as a “meta-commentary on its own performance, and unravelling, of postcolonial spatiality” (2015, 693), which is mired in the sinister history of violence under the guise of diversity, difference, and cosmopolitanism. Scholars thus touch on the diverse makeup of the novel’s geography as constituted by difference, history, and violence, by “layered historicism” (Dalley 2013, 19) or “sedimented historical suffering” (Wood 2011). They also stress the narrator’s cultivated elitism, estrangement, and complicity in the production of violence—as the reader finds out later in the text, he himself has committed a criminal act, the memory of which he cannot access. However, there is more to be said about the intricate ways in which the narrator engages with, remembers, misremembers, or forgets the complex discourses making up the novel and how they are layered, sedimented, or otherwise composed or known in place. This is the focus of my reading here, in which I first address the narrator’s descriptions of the city to highlight how the urban landscape is in itself structured in terms of knowledge or knowledge production—replete with examples of erasure, forgetting, and remembering current presences as well as traces of the past—before I turn to the relationship between those elements, which I conceptualize as relational and planetary. I conclude by discussing the narrator’s unique perspective and positionality as a diasporic walker or traveler. In the novel, knowledge production, or ways of knowing, considerably overlaps with the process of walking and coincides with a city that is structured in diasporic; narrative; and, as I argue here, epistemological and relational or planetary terms, distinct yet related theoretical approaches that mirror Julius’s own identity and engagement with the urban fabric. Through the precision of an introspective narrator, the city (New York City and later Brussels) emerges as a richly imagined world where, reflecting the narrator’s own background of migration, majority and minority histories intersect. New York City materializes as a “city of immigrants: Nigerians, Kenyans, Syrians, Lebanese, Malians, Haitians, Chinese, and others who have come to escape the sorrows of their own history or to pursue their versions of the American dream” (Kakutani 2011). Correspondingly, Brussels is represented as a distinctively European capital where postwar labor and postcolonial migration, on top of European integration, have given rise to an increasingly diverse population. Yet while the narrator constantly comments on the diverse and diasporic makeup of these two cities as well as his own migrant

DRAFT

[5.4]

DRAFT

[5.5]

Diasporic Ways of Knowing

background, he never fully engages or commits and remains somewhat disinterested throughout the text. In defiance of his fascination with difference, it hardly seems to matter where the cities’ residents are from. He seems eager to pinpoint their exact identities, but he is also prone to mistakes, as in Brussels he, for instance, wrongly assumes a party of Rwandans are Congolese. Julius himself is a migrant who does not easily fit into readily available categories. He is neither a member of the historical diasporas identified by Braziel and Mannur (2003) as the Jewish, the early transatlantic African, or subsequent European diaspora, nor one of Edward Said’s “exilic types” (2000b, 181). Despite his partial German heritage, he does not belong to the European refugees fleeing fascist states or ethnic Germans returning to Germany after World War II. He is not a part of the global refugee “crisis” emerging after 1990 (and again in recent years), even if the narrator alludes to these patterns of migration in his complex ruminations. Even in his native country, he used to feel like an outsider, as the “name Julius linked me to another place and was, with my passport and my skin color one of the intensifiers of my sense of being different, of being set apart (Cole 2011, 78). But also in the United States, he deliberately keeps an affective distance to others, frowning on a cabdriver’s “Hey, I’m African just like you” (2011, 40) and scowling when a stranger addresses him as “brother” (2011, 40, 55). Reflecting on a visit to a detention center in Queens, the narrator himself admits that the role of the “listener, the compassionate African” (2011, 70) was just that, a role he inhabited briefly, a pose and an idea. Readers might therefore find him untrustworthy, unreliable, and at times even unlikable, emotional responses that culminate in the disclosure of rape later in the text. Ultimately, the text falls short of becoming a “topography of loyalty and identity” in the sense of Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic (1993, 16). It is not a space where identities and languages mix and create something new and open, a “limitless métissage” as Édouard Glissant has suggested for the Caribbean (1992, 34). For Cole’s narrator, ethnicity, race, nationality, or any other identity category are not the basis on which to build a friendship, and there is no presupposed solidarity or social cohesion between members of the African diaspora, immigrants, or migrants in general. Rather, the city is imagined as a rhizomatic space that is precarious, fragile, and constantly shifting. Similar to Adelson’s “touching tales” (2005), which she introduced to describe the experiences of Turks, Germans, and Turkish Germans in Germany, the novel’s characters occupy the same ethnoscape and produce a complex locality where encounters, friendships, community, difference, and coexistence are possible (and pointed out). The world, however, is interconnected, local, and global—planetary as I show later—in ways that productively implode the concept of the ethnoscape. The characters and their individual backgrounds and personal stories coalesce and intersect in interesting

Christiane Steckenbiller

and innovative ways, but they also creatively mingle with the larger discourses populating the novel. The complex composition of the novel’s reality cannot be captured by the concept of cosmopolitanism either. Social modes of interaction are performed, but obligations to others, as pointed out by Appiah, are not necessarily achieved. In the novel, the metaphor used to describe the shifting landscape, the heterogeneous, complicated, and mosaic makeup of the city, is the image of the palimpsest. Walking across Ground Zero relatively early in the novel the narrator remarks, “The site was a palimpsest, as was all the city, written, erased, rewritten” (Cole 2011, 59). Reminiscent of Andreas Huyssen’s description of the palimpsest as a text that “implies voids, illegibilities, and erasures, but . . . also offers a richness of traces and memories, restorations and new constructions that will mark the city as lived space” (2003, 84), the narrator reflects on the “generations of New Yorkers who had come here [to Ellis Island] . . . [each] one of those moments . . . present now as a trace” (Cole 2011, 54). He then turns to the events of 9/11 but also adds that “[t]his was not the first erasure on the site” (2011, 58):

DRAFT

[5.6]

There had been communities here before Columbus ever set sail, before Verrazano anchored his ships in the narrows, or the black Portuguese slave trader Esteban Gómez sailed up the Hudson; human beings had lived here, built homes, and quarreled with their neighbors long before the Dutch ever saw a business opportunity in the rich furs and timber of the island and its calm bay. (2011, 59)

[5.7]

It is worth pausing here, similar to Cole’s narrator, as this passage can be viewed as representative of the text as a whole. In line with Patricia L. Price’s view, the city here and elsewhere in the text is presented as a “layered, shifting reality that is constituted, lived, and contested, in part, through narrative” (2004, xiii), and it is by means of walking that the narrator uncovers both stories in plain view and earlier traces, histories that have been suppressed, forgotten, or deliberately erased. Echoing phenomenological approaches to geography, the relationship between the narrator and his environment is construed as reciprocal and dynamic. At the end of this passage he considers himself as “one of the still legible crowd” and admits, “I wanted to find the line that connected me to my own part in these stories” (Cole 2011, 59). He not only lends his voice to the narratives of the city but also traces his own stories within them so that walking materializes as an “embodied act” (Lorimer 2011, 19) that connects the human body to the ground and the narrator to individual places in the novel. According to Allice Legat, “[t]hrough visiting, walking, and performing tasks at a locale individuals both take something of the place with them and leave a bit of themselves. In so doing, individuals add their narrative to that of others while refining the deepest levels of their perception” (2008, 36). Edward S. Casey further

[5.8]

DRAFT

[5.9]

[5.10]

Diasporic Ways of Knowing

claims that places “gather,” rather than amass or accumulate, material and imaginary objects, experiences, histories, languages, thoughts, and memories that emerge as “local knowledge” (1996, 18). In the text, placehood and selfhood, storytelling and knowledge—leaving behind or telling one’s own stories while simultaneously engaging with those of other people and other places—are intricately intertwined. By passing through specific places, the narrator gains access to such “local knowledge,” narratives and counternarratives to established discourses that are firmly anchored in the physical environment. This resonates with geographer Doreen Massey’s threefold definition of space as the “product of interrelations” and “constituted through interactions”; as the “sphere of the possibility of the existence of multiplicity in the sense of contemporaneous plurality”; and as “always under construction,” a “simultaneity of stories-sofar” (2005, 9). It further echoes Stuart Hall’s writings on cultural identities in the Caribbean as arising out of the interplay between several traces or presences—présence Africaine, présence Européene, and présence Americaine—and between the forces of history, culture, power, and difference that produce the Caribbean as the “space where the creolisations and assimilations and syncretism [are] negotiated” (1990, 234). What is most remarkable about the earlier passage from Open City is that the narrator foregrounds a time before Columbus and before colonialism, présence Americaine if you will, and does so geographically. This move, or what Walter Mignolo has called a “relocation of the thinking and a critical awareness of the geopolitics of knowledge” (2002, 67) or, in Gurminder Bhambra’s words, a “decolonial epistemic shift [that] enables the histories and thought of other places to be understood as prior to European incursions and to be used as the basis of developing connected histories of encounters through those incursions” (2014, 119), showcases that Julius visualizes the United States as a complex historical space. Emulating Mignolo’s dictum, the text here initiates an attempt to conceptualize epistemology as “geographical in its historicity” (Mignolo 2002, 67). For Bhambra, this position offers an opportunity to bring together various strands of thinking, above all postcolonial and decolonial approaches, and as such advances “their radical potential in unsettling and reconstituting standard processes of knowledge production” (2014, 115). Hence, knowledge, history, and geography are interdependent and reciprocal, which also applies to the novel. How knowledge, history, and geography intersect and interact in the landscape—and affect the narrator while at the same time being affected by him—highlights the complex ways in which knowledge is produced, represented, challenged, distorted, and reevaluated in the text, which I understand as “diasporic ways of knowing.” Yet the novel deliberately refrains from presenting the city as an easily legible text, a stable or fixed document of the past. The urban fabric is in itself structured epistemologically, weaving together different narratives and

Christiane Steckenbiller

competing knowledge claims, while at the same time calling attention to how such narratives are accessed, recalled in the present, or forgotten and how the landscape is complicit in these processes. In the text, this is epitomized by the jarring accusation of rape disclosed toward the end of the novel, which highlights the elaborate dynamics of memory and underscores the complex processes of remembering, forgetting, and suppression. Throughout the text, Julius avoids confronting the subject, which scholars have used to underline the protagonist’s and first-person narrator’s “cultivated detachment” (Hallemeier 2013, 244) or “malicious narcissism” (Krishnan 2015, 677); in short, his inability to empathize with others. 6 Here, however, I read his combined disengagement and unreliability as a textual strategy that exposes both the text and its geography—mirroring the narrator—as unpredictable, erratic, and opaque, not always easily accessible or immediately transparent. The narrator’s own troubled past also explains why his attention seems to be commonly drawn to that which is forgotten or marginalized, which is evident in the previously mentioned passage and palpable throughout the text. Walking through lower Manhattan, for instance, the narrator sees a “curious shape” beckoning him to come closer. Here, he stumbles across a physical remnant of the past, a “memorial for the site of an African burial ground,” most of which “was now under office buildings, shops, streets, diners, pharmacies, all the endless hum of quotidian commerce and government. . . . [t]he land had been built over and the people of the city had forgotten that it was a burial ground” (Cole 2011, 220). Only when the site was dug up to make room for a building on Broadway did they come across human remains. Julius concludes, “[w]hat I was steeped in, on that warm morning, was the echo across centuries, of slavery in New York” (2011, 221). Corresponding to Moji, the childhood friend who levels the accusation that, as Julius phrases it, “I had forced myself on her” (2011, 244)—a victim and survivor of rape—the burial ground becomes an example of geographer Karen Till’s notion of place as the “last survivor” (2005, 211) of past events, an eyewitness of history, bearing the traces of the past, eager to reveal itself, and offering a space for reflection and crucial memory work in the present. The narrator thus layers and remembers the histories of the city through individual places and visualizes the traces of previous events, repeatedly coded as acts of violence, as penetrating the present moment. At one point, for instance, Julius passes by a shoeshine shop. Mesmerized by the store’s distinct atmosphere, by the “air . . . laced with lemon oil and turpentine,” he steps in and listens to the stories of Pierre—the man who works there, a former enslaved African—told with the “faint trace of a Caribbean French accent” (Cole 2011, 71), which transport both Julius and the storyteller to a different time and place. Pierre’s account is in many ways the typical immigrant story interlaced with the city’s more recent history of immigration. His memories capture the specific feel of those earlier times, the 1920s and

DRAFT

[5.11]

[5.12]

DRAFT

[5.13]

[5.14]

Diasporic Ways of Knowing

1930s, the crowdedness and restlessness, and his everyday struggles entwined with allusions to the Haitian Revolution, slavery, and eventually freedom. After leaving the shop, Julius remains entranced: “That afternoon, during which I flitted in and out of myself, when time became elastic and voices cut out of the past into the present, the heart of the city was gripped by what seemed to be a commotion from an earlier time” (2011, 74). His daydreaming turns a crowd of people into a draft riot, and he even pictures the “body of a lynched man dangling from a tree” (2011, 75), conjuring a ghostly presence that has followed him up from the “underground catacombs of Penn Station” (2011, 70) to the busy life above. Cultural geography and cultural studies also speak of “ghosts” and often use the notion of “haunting” to describe the interplay between past and present, erasures, permanent structures, and traces of stories told and untold, the “ghostly geography of the city” (Crang and Travlou 2001, 171). 7 In her discussion of slavery in the US context, Avery Gordon similarly uses the concept of “haunting” to highlight “how that which appears to be not there is often a seething presence, acting on and often meddling with taken-for-granted realities” (1997, 8). Haunting here becomes a tool to investigate permanences and erasures, visibilities and invisibilities, struggles, conflicts, and challenges as they collide with the urban space. This is also how this idea is mobilized in the novel. The text foregrounds marginalized histories and allows for a dynamic understanding of the city as complicit in but also affected by and perhaps even resisting the production of such stories. Another way to theorize such connected histories, their layering, and the means by which the narrator engages with them is to think through spatiality in terms of the planetary. Scholarship sometimes uses the concept as a synonym for “relationality” and cosmopolitanism but more often as a progressive expansion of those of approaches. Asking “what difference does it make to think geographically about cosmopolitanism?” (Jazeel 2011, 79), Tariq Jazeel, for instance, mobilizes the planetary to “look, reach and feel beyond the local” (2011, 76), which is how he describes cosmopolitanism in its very basic form. With the help of Massey, he suggests that places “instead of bounded, static, and walled, might more progressively be thought as relational” (2011, 91) as a means to envision “alternative geographical imaginations positioned to progressively unthink the familiarity of our planet” (2011, 87) and to destabilize Eurocentrism, or what Donna Haraway has called the “god trick of seeing everything from nowhere” (1988, 581). The text, too, invites a reading of the city vis-à-vis the narrator’s perspective as relational and/or planetary. This is evident from the very beginning, when Julius contemplates his predilection for walking and birdwatching, his reading material, and his fondness for classical music stations, all of which situates him firmly within a very localized and yet global network of social relations of technology, consumption, and cultural history:

Christiane Steckenbiller

DRAFT

I liked the murmur of the announcers, the sounds of those voices speaking calmly from thousands of miles away. I turned the computer’s speakers low and looked outside . . . and it wasn’t at all difficult to draw the comparison between myself, in my sparse apartment, and the radio host in his or her booth, during what must have been the middle of the night somewhere in Europe. Those disembodied voices remain connected in my mind, even now, with the apparition of migrating geese. . . . Sometimes I even spoke the words in the book out loud to myself, and doing so I noticed the odd way my voice mingles with the murmur of French, German, or Dutch radio announcers . . . all of this intensified by the fact that whatever I was reading had likely been translated out of one of the European languages. (Cole 2011, 4–5)

[5.15]

Cole here constructs a view of the world and the narrator along the parameters of distance and proximity, local and global, as well as familiarity and strangeness, knowing and unknowability productively interweaving in a small Manhattan apartment. Later, the narrator’s description of the streets as an “incessant loudness,” where he makes his way through “crowds of shoppers and workers,” “thousands” of people who, however, “did nothing to assuage [his] feelings of isolation” (2011, 6), supplements the complex network of different constellations of voices—“loudness”—and narratives, which remains a theme throughout. Sometimes Cole summons the view from the street (from below) or from the apartment (from above); at other times he zooms out, like a camera, distancing himself and the world as if he were looking at the life below from the planet, which is particularly striking toward the end of the novel, when Julius attends a concert at Carnegie Hall. Although he misses the performance of Mahler’s “Lied von der Erde” (“The Song of the Earth”), he finds himself trapped outside a fire escape, from where he is suddenly able to behold the stars. Looking down at the city, Julius ponders the starlight, remarking,

[5.16]

It would arrive in due time, and cast its illumination on other humans, or perhaps other configurations of our world, after unimaginable catastrophes had altered it beyond recognition. My hands held metal, my eyes starlight, and it was as though I had suddenly come so close to something that it had fallen out of focus, or fallen so far away from it that it had faded away. (2011, 257)

[5.17]

Holding on to the metal, the “rusted railing of the fire escape” (2011, 256), Julius calls attention to the relationship between the city and the world, the physical environment and himself, and the infinite configurations of the planet. What Cole’s narrator came close to here but cannot behold is a different kind of geographical imagination, echoing Mignolo but more reminiscent of Massey’s “global” or “progressive” sense of place—she uses those terms synonymously—which she illustrates through a “look at the globe” from a satellite (1994, 154). According to Massey,

[5.18]

[5.19]

DRAFT

Diasporic Ways of Knowing

[5.20]

what gives a place its specificity is not some long internalized history but the fact that it is constructed out of a particular constellation of social relations, meeting and weaving together at a particular locus. If one moves in from the satellite towards the globe, holding all those networks of social relations and movements and communications in one’s head, then each “place” can be seen as a particular, unique, point of their intersection. It is, indeed, a meeting place. Instead then, of thinking of places as areas with boundaries around, they can be imagined as articulated moments in networks of social relations and understandings. (1994, 154)

[5.21]

Massey’s approach further strikes a chord with Gayatri Spivak’s idea of the planet as the “species of alterity, belonging to another system” (2012, 338) and Paul Gilroy’s “‘Apollonian’ view of the whole world” (2006, 75), which Jazeel (2011) recognizes as an opportunity to make the world uncanny or strange again in order to gain new critical insights. Gilroy suggests that “critical knowledge of one’s own culture and society can only arise from a carefully cultivated degree of estrangement” (2006, 70), while Spivak proposes the “planet to overwrite the globe” (2003, 72). What she means by this, as she explains later, is that “something should remind us of the limit to what we do” (2014, 10); it means moving to a larger scale—from the globe to the planet—which does, however, not impose some hierarchy, a more complete versus a previously limited view, but entails rendering a subject or the world strange again, unfamiliar, or unknown, which is precisely what happens in the novel as the narrator finds himself relishing the sensation of simultaneous familiarity and unknowability. In the text, the concept of planetarity is intimately related to the city, which is also how it has been employed recently in urban studies. In the attempt to radically rethink traditional epistemologies of the urban, Neil Brenner and Christian Schmid (2015), for instance, turn toward reflexive and relational approaches within postcolonial urban studies, a discipline more “productively attuned to the multiple sociospatial configurations . . . as well as to the transnational, inter-scalar and often extra-territorial webs” (2015, 162) of the urban, to explain how “cityness” has become a “worldwide condition in which all aspects of social, economic, political and environmental relations are enmeshed, across places, territories and scales, crosscutting any number of long-entrenched geographical divisions” (2015, 173). Michelle Buckley and Kendra Strauss (2016) further add a feminist perspective to planetary urbanization frameworks by insisting on the need for a plurality of perspectives, including directing attention toward what Henri Lefebvre (1991 [1947]) called “residues”: an emphasis on everyday lives, especially the lives, practices, and stories of those that are “residual”—leftover, forgotten, marginalized, and disenfranchised. Again, those are ghosts, another viscous layer of long-gone temporalities or current dramas that are “haunting” the landscape. The city in Cole’s novel can be read in conversation with this new

[5.22]

Christiane Steckenbiller

scholarship located at the intersections of human geography, urban, postcolonial, and feminist studies. The ways in which the narrator is trying to hold all of those diverse elements together are the focus of the remainder of this chapter. The planetary approach to the city mirrors the protagonist’s identity as a diasporic subject, walker, and traveler, as someone who is at all times conspicuously aware of his surroundings, remembering, forgetting, getting to know, or already knowing the city. The narrator may be unreliable; he may even be unlikable. Yet this ties in with feminist theorist Sandra Harding’s claim (1991) that there is no neutral or truly objective approach to knowledge production. On the contrary, all knowledges and knowledge claims are always situated and affected by privileges and distortions. Feminist epistemology and standpoint theory therefore insist on the necessity for a “radical multiplicity of local knowledges” (Haraway 1988, 579). In order to arrive at more inclusive and objective forms of knowledge, Haraway and others are adamant that we need to be able to view from the peripheries and depths of society and take into account multiple perspectives while at the same time acknowledging our own situatedness. Along those lines, the narrator highlights different views, above all the view from above—exemplified by his allusions to birds or the stars, the planet—and the view from below vis-à-vis his own everyday practices, particularly walking. But he also admits his own shortcomings and flaws. By reconstructing place-specific narratives and their relationality in the context of other stories and histories haunting the urban landscape, he illustrates precisely the possibility of multiple perspectives, which also mirrors the call for a “multiplicity of reflexive approaches to critical urban theory” (Brenner and Schmid 2015, 163) as they have been articulated in recent scholarship within urban studies. The narrator shows that the city is constructed through a wide range of situated yet complex narratives, many of which can only be grasped belatedly or can never be reconstructed in their entirety: the ways in which they can be known always remain incomplete, fluid, under construction, local and yet transcending borders, scattered, or “diasporic.” The narrator might focus his attention selectively, but as a result of his own diasporic identity and of being constantly on the move, he espouses what might be called a “double or exile perspective,” to rescue an idea expressed by Edward Said (2000a, 378). This perspective that “never sees things in isolation” resonates with a variety of similar concepts in feminist and ethnic studies, all of which theorize the specific situatedness of marginalized groups. This particular position manages to shift the vantage point from a Western, or “orientalizing,” standpoint to a non-Western view from below that has the advantage of being able to compare different contexts and see the world as relational. Notwithstanding the fact that Cole constructs a narrator who never quite belongs and is himself implicated in the colonizing practice

DRAFT

[5.23]

[5.24]

DRAFT

[5.25]

[5.26]

Diasporic Ways of Knowing

of imposing his own views or “forcing” himself on another person, he does point out the possibility of straddling multiple contexts, multiple positions, at the same time, constantly contrasting and comparing. A relentless traveler, always on the move, Cole’s narrator and his specific perspective might also be theorized with Astrid Erll’s concept of “travelling memory” (2011), a term that, for her, is less fraught and more flexible and specific than the “concepts of the transnational, diasporic, hybrid, syncretistic, postcolonial, translocal, creolized, global, or cosmopolitan” (2011, 9). She uses travelling memory as a synonym for transcultural to underscore the importance of movement and travel and to envision the workings of memory as a perspective that goes across and beyond cultures, histories, and a variety of topics and locales. The combination of these different perspectives, of belonging and being situated while retaining a sense of cultivated estrangement, conjoined by a dual focus on memory and knowledge production, is how I conceptualize “diasporic ways of knowing.” Finally, Haraway posits, “Situated knowledges require that the object of knowledge be pictured as an actor and agent, not as a screen or a ground or a resource, never finally as slave to the master that closes off the dialectic in his unique agency and his authorship of ‘objective’ knowledge” (1988, 592). As I have shown earlier, this applies to the novel in that the stories, narratives, and knowledges as they coincide with specific objects or places— while they need to be recognized as filtered through the perspective of the privileged male walker—are also assigned agency. New York City, Brussels, the detention facility, the African burial ground, and many other sites are not presented as passive or empty containers or as background for the narrative to unfold. Rather, in the spirit of Till, places in the text are staged as “fluid mosaics and moments of memory, matter, metaphor, scene, and experience” (2005, 8). They are layered, textured, and dynamic; shaping and shaped by society and the individual, by migration, the media, global flows of capital, and other discourses; and situated within very specific local and global contexts. The geography of the novel thus emerges as a complex and fluid dynamic of intersecting social relations, narratives, and histories, as well as personal feelings and experiences. The text depicts the city as planetary and highlights the heterogeneous and diasporic construction of space through a novel focus on spatiality, history, and knowledge production. Scholarship offers multiple concepts to capture the construction of our environment and the relationship between the individual and the world: for Erll, the notion of “travelling” creatively expands on the concepts of the transnational, diasporic, hybrid, syncretistic, postcolonial, translocal, creolized, global, or cosmopolitan by highlighting transcultural connections and perspectives. In human geography, urban, postcolonial, and feminist approaches adhere to the concept of the planetary as a progressive continuation or rethinking of relational and

Christiane Steckenbiller

cosmopolitan prospects. For an analysis of Open City, I do, however, insist on retaining the concept of the “diasporic” to emphasize the novel’s preoccupation with alterity, difference, and migration. The text invites a reading of both the geography and the narrator as constituted diasporically. The urban space is not only populated by a diverse ethnoscape, but it is also construed through a wide array of highly complex, heterogeneous, and contested narratives—“presences,” in Hall’s words (1990, 234), or “relations” and “constellations” to say it with Massey (1994, 154). The city is also structured in terms of memory, symbolized by the narrator’s own unreliability, a palimpsest of stories told and untold, forgotten, suppressed, erased and rewritten, dominant and repressed knowledge discourses that keep resurfacing and haunt the present moment. The city in the text and its stories are assigned agency. They articulate their own demands of being known and represented, which the narrator honors by way of the planetary, calling attention to different visions and positions and suggesting innovative ways to approach a subject from new and multiple perspectives and make new connections. The novel ends with the image of the Statue of Liberty propped against the “two towers linked by the translucent atrium and lit blue by night lights” (Cole 2011, 258) and with the almost absurd juxtaposition of the deaths of thousands of migrating birds with the casualties of 9/11. The ending is commonly construed as marking the limitations of cosmopolitan freedom. 8 Yet I read the novel’s final image, the narrator looking up to the statue from a place below, as another reminder of the multiplicity of perspectives and positions. The image also suggests that the city is heterogeneous and complex. Independent of ethnicity, nationality, or species, human and nonhuman actors, buildings, and other sites constitute an indispensable part of the city and add to the richness of overlapping and often competing stories, memories, and other traces making up the cultural landscape. Julius connects to these stories by means of walking, an embodied act that allows him to reflect on his own past, stories, and personal memories via the places encountered, while simultaneously implicating himself in the practice of “sensing place,” which Tanya Richardson describes as “inextricable from a process of sensing history” (2005, 15). Open City calls for a planetary and diasporic perspective that allows for new associations and creative dialogues, especially with regard to violence, suppressed histories, and human rights issues. The narrator might be unreliable and to some extent privileged. Yet reminiscent of the radical multiplicity of local knowledges suggested by feminist theory, the novel offers a model for diasporic ways of knowing that are characterized through movement, critical engagement, and multiple perspectives, even if, in the end, it might be up to the reader to move beyond the narrator’s shortcomings and make those connections.

DRAFT

[5.27]

DRAFT

Diasporic Ways of Knowing

[5.28]

NOTES

[5n1]

1. Both Leslie Adelson (2005) and B. Venkat Mani (2007) are concerned with migration and minority discourses in the German context. 2. See Katherine Hallemeier (2013), Pieter Vermeulen (2013), and Madhu Krishnan (2015) for discussions of cosmopolitanism in Cole’s novel. 3. In Diaspora, Braziel describes her and Mannur’s goals for the anthology as relocating “contemporary critical moments of postcolonialism, postmodernity, and late capitalism” (2003, 25). 4. Gayatri Spivak (2014), Paul Gilroy (2006), and Tariq Jazeel (2011) advocate a focus on the “planetary” in order to complicate the troubling aspects of globalization, mainly its homogenizing tendencies. Jazeel, in particular, applauds recent scholarship in cultural geography for its alternative language and radically new spatial or geographical imagination, above all Doreen Massey’s “global sense of place” as developed in Space, Place and Gender (1994) and For Space (2005). 5. Although published in 2003, Braziel’s and Mannur’s edited volume Theorizing Diaspora remains an important anthology on the subject. Diaspora studies emerged as an academic field in the late twentieth century. Braziel and Mannur locate its beginnings in the inauguration of Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies in 1991 and trace its indebtedness to postcolonial studies. Indeed, most scholars who have shaped the field of diaspora studies (and the related fields of migration and transnational studies) work within postcolonial or ethnic studies, and these fields are still highly pertinent to the subject. 6. The text here mimics the intricate complexities of memory in that it leaves out the actual scene at the party when Moji confronts Julius. Nicola King (2000), drawing on Freud, describes memory as inherently belated. It is in retrospect that we fill in gaps, add new knowledge, and reconstruct what had been repressed, remained unnoticed, or was simply forgotten. 7. See also Brian Ladd (1998) and Karen Till (2005) for the Berlin context and Fatima ElTayeb (2011) for the European context. 8. Krishnan reads the ending of the novel as a “mediation on death and disruption,” highlighting the “illusory appearance of freedom in the open city” (2015, 693) and exposing the project of cosmopolitanism as superficial and steeped in histories of violence.

[5n2] [5n3] [5n4]

[5n5]

[5n6]

[5n7] [5n8]

DRAFT

Chapter Six

Emotional Geographies of London

1

Doris Lessing’s Diasporic Vision Ágnes Györke

[6.0]

[6.1]

Doris Lessing is seldom considered a diasporic writer, despite the fact that her early London novels abound in references to nostalgic memories of her childhood in southern Rhodesia. In fact, she is often seen as a very English author 2: concerned with the decline of the novel as an art form, Lessing believed in the revival of high-realist, European literature and, perhaps, wished to see her oeuvre as part of this canon. In A Small Personal Voice, for instance, she claims, “For me the highest point of literature was the novel of the nineteenth century, the work of Tolstoy, Stendhal, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Turgenev, Chekhov” (Lessing 1974, 4). Despite the fact that her writings thematize the experience of migration, dislocation, and everyday life in multicultural London, Lessing’s fiction had not been discussed in the context of race and immigration until the publication of John McLeod’s Postcolonial London (2004), and even recent studies, such as Susan Watkins’s 2010 book, do not foreground this aspect of Lessing’s novels. As I argue in this chapter, we need to take the diasporic condition into account when exploring Lessing’s fiction. The unique position her narrators occupy allows them to remain sensitive to ethnic minorities, race, and gender difference as they observe everyday life in London. Translocal references play a major role in these accounts, and not only in Lessing’s early writings: it is my contention that these references comment on the diasporic condition in the texts she published in the 1980s and early 1990s, though they no longer evoke memories from southern Rhodesia. During the Thatcherite era, Lessing’s fiction became more and more preoccupied with poverty, social exclusion, and emotional detachment, while the peripheral vision that characterized her early novels gained a unique significance. Her later novels do not

Ágnes Györke

DRAFT

focus on a specific foreign culture: The Good Terrorist (1986 [1985]), The Fifth Child (1989 [1988]), and London Observed (1993c [1992]), the writings I explore in this chapter, problematize the entanglement of cultures from a gendered perspective, but they do not portray the experience of a particular immigrant group. Due to this specific focus, they deessentialize the notion of diaspora: the Other appears in Lessing’s fiction as an elusive and uncanny entity that remains unattached to a particular location or culture. Therefore, I claim that her writings point toward new directions in diaspora studies: they depict the diasporic condition as a translocal, primarily affective entanglement, redefining the major tropes that urban narratives rely on, such as flânerie and the house. I use the term translocal in order to foreground this affective dimension of intercultural trespass, which, I believe, is a significant feature of Lessing’s entire oeuvre. Her later writings portray the global city as an indifferent place characterized by the waning of affect, 3 prefiguring such postmillennial diasporic novels as Helen Oyeyemi’s The Opposite House (2007) and Teju Cole’s Open City (2011). TRANSLOCAL FLÂNERIE

[6.2]

As the very title of her autobiography, Walking in the Shade (1997), suggests, walking was one of Lessing’s favorite pastimes in London. In fact, most of her female characters are flâneuses: Doris in In Pursuit of the English (1993b [1960]), Anna in The Golden Notebook (1962), and Martha in The Four-Gated City (1993a [1969]) observe life in the city from a distance that never really allows them to merge with the crowd or become part of a community. 4 These characters are solitary walkers, whose primary experience is isolation, yet this detachment allows them to see the metropolis from a unique angle. Memories from the African countryside, which offer a momentary escape from the bleak postwar city, are projected on the Western urban cityscape. As I show in this chapter, Lessing’s writings explore the emotional impact of this translocal vision. In Pursuit of the English (1993b [1960]), for instance, depicts post–Second World War London from the perspective of Doris, who migrates to Britain from southern Rhodesia. According to Christine Sizemore, the novel “brings her experience of Africa into her observations of her new space and uses that hybrid and feminist vision to map the neighbourhood and create a snapshot of culture of London in the 1940s and 1950s” (2008, 133). Doris explores the unnamed streets and the Notting Hill district and becomes initiated into the everyday life of the working class. As John McLeod notes, London is represented as a transnational location in the novel “in which dominant models of national identity are being challenged” (2004, 77): It is a “disassembled, flimsy and precarious” (2004, 80) place after the Second

[6.3]

[6.4]

DRAFT

Emotional Geographies of London

World War, a space of vital re-creation and reinscription. In a memorable episode, this renewal becomes associated with a profoundly transnational world: [6.5]

Thin shells of wall stood brokenly among debris; and from this desolation I heard a sound which reminded me of a cricket chirping with quiet persistence from sun-warmed grasses in the veld. It was a typewriter; and peering over a bricky gulf I saw a man in his shirt-sleeves, which were held neatly above the elbow by expanding bands, sitting on a tidy pile of rubble, the typewriter on a broken girder, clean white paper fluttering from the rim of the machine. (Lessing 1993b, 47)

[6.6]

The sound of the typewriter recalling the cricket chirping in the African veld is a transnational vision projected on the metropolitan cityscape. As Sizemore claims, “The bricks and mortar of the colonizing country have been destroyed, but new civilizations will be created by those who prop their typewriters on broken girders and can embed the echo of the colonized and the rural in the mechanics of writing” (2008, 140). The unexpected comparison erases the distance between colony and metropole, margin and center, uncannily integrating the sound of the African veld into the Western cityscape. The allusion evokes intercultural movement, during which “spaces and places are invested with ‘heightened material and conceptual significance’” (Cairns, quoted in Brickell and Datta 2011, 6), as Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta point out, calling attention to an affective dimension of intercultural trespass, which, I believe, characterizes Lessing’s diasporic vision. The vision of the cricket chirping in the veld is primarily affective: it does not simply echo the colonized and the rural at the heart of the metropolitan urban environment, subverting the opposition between center and periphery, master and slave, but it also reveals a profound emotional engagement with urban space, which prefigures postmillenial urban fiction. Though The Golden Notebook is by no means an emblematic London novel, I believe it also explores flânerie and the affective engagement with the city Lessing’s earlier novel touched on. The main character, Anna Wulf, often observes the streets of London, commenting on the ugliness of the postwar city:

[6.7]

[6.8]

Ahead of her the street of grey mean little houses crawled endlessly. The grey light of a late summer’s evening lowered a damp sky. For miles in all directions this ugliness, this meanness. This was London—endless streets of such houses. It was hard to bear, the sheer physical weight of the knowledge because—where was the force that could shift this ugliness? (Lessing 1962, 176)

[6.9]

Houses are “crawling endlessly” on the streets, just like snakes, evoking the vision of an urban jungle where characters often get lost. The dominant

Ágnes Györke

DRAFT

colors are gray and black, yet the portrayal of the city is not as conventional as it seems to be. Walking on the gray streets does not simply offer a contrast to the act of running in southern Rhodesia, but it also sheds light on the indifference that characterizes the postwar city. In the black notebook, for instance, Anna makes love in the veld, which is portrayed as an idyllic space, unlike the places she and her fictional character, Ella, inhabit in London: We ran along the main road east, through sandy puddles we never saw, through the faint mist and down again. Dark trees loomed up on either side, and fell behind and we ran on. . . . We ran a few paces, and fell side by side in each other’s arms in the wet leaves while the rain fell slowly down, and over us low dark clouds across the sky. . . . I have never, in all my life, been so desperately and wildly and painfully happy as I was then. (1962, 149–50)

[6.10]

The southern Rhodesian veld, where Anna walks, stumbling through scrub and grass, is an open space, the exact opposite of the claustrophobic city, and the emotions it evokes are also markedly different from the way Anna feels in London. They reappear, however, in the fictional account of Anna’s painful love affair, which she records in her gloomy London flat: Ella, her fictional alter ego, makes love in a park near London, feeling “perfectly happy. The weight of the city was off her, and the scent of the grass and the sun delicious” (1962, 193). The scene offers a perfect contrast with Anna’s gloomy everyday life in London: whereas in London she observes the city attentively, trying to control the spectacles she records, this scene demonstrates that there is a strong desire in her narrative to let go, to challenge the limits of her vision. 5 The episode also reveals that The Golden Notebook portrays a subjective awareness of the city, reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s writings, 6 yet by putting this sensitive gaze into a translocal context, Anna’s narrative trespasses the boundaries that marked Woolf’s London. The loss of control is not simply the result of vulnerability or the lack of stability, as in Woolf’s fiction, but is due to elapsed memories of a markedly different geographical space that evokes powerful emotions. In Lessing’s early novels, then, no single diaspora is foregrounded: references to southern Rhodesia remain scattered, yet these are all the more significant on the affective level. The translocal city unfolding in her writings is akin to Avtar Brah’s notion of diaspora space, defined as a “mode of genealogical analysis of different kinds of ‘borders’” (1996, 241). Brah’s concept primarily calls attention to the act of transmigration across borders; as she points out, “The concept of diaspora space decentres the subject position of ‘native,’ ‘immigrant,’ ‘migrant,’ the in/outsider, in such a way that the diasporian is as much a native as the native now becomes a diasporian through this entanglement” (1996, 238–39). It is my contention that the entanglement to which Brah refers is one of the main features of Lessing’s diasporic vision:

[6.11]

[6.12]

DRAFT

Emotional Geographies of London

translocal flânerie in her early London novels sheds light on the intercultural and affective trespass Doris and Anna perform. [6.13]

TRANSLOCAL HOUSES AND ENGLISHNESS

[6.14]

The trope of the house also allegorizes the diaspora as a primarily affective entanglement in Lessing’s writings. As opposed to Louise Yelin, who has famously identified the house in her novels as a reference to a “particularly English literary tradition” (1998, 63), 7 I argue it undermines Englishness in Lessing’s fiction. In fact, just like the translocal references discussed in the previous section, the trope points toward a new perception of diaspora space. In In Pursuit, the boarding house, which is the central allegory in the narrative, becomes a markedly translocal domain: Doris is at pains to find the “real” English, but her housemates are mostly foreign. The landlord’s wife, Flo, is Italian (Lessing 1993b, 56), while her husband, who is from Newcastle, is not “English properly speaking”: “‘Isn’t he English?’ ‘Not really, he’s from Newcastle. They’re different from us, up in places like that. Oh no, he’s not English, not properly speaking’” (1993b, 56). The house allegorizes a changing, unstable, translocal world, akin to such multicultural hotels as the Shaandaar Café in Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988) or the Imperial Hotel in Monica Ali’s In the Kitchen (2009), among others. Instead of offering an anchor to English identity, the trope participates in transforming London into a translocal metropolis. In The Good Terrorist, the house is central to the plot: the novel depicts a leftist group that occupies unused squats in London. In The Fifth Child, published three years later, the trope becomes even more central: a couple who plans to raise a large family buys a large mansion, called their “kingdom” (1989, 14). While Lessing’s earlier writings portray interiors as dangerous places, demythologizing the patriarchal ideology of the private as a safe feminine space, 8 in The Good Terrorist and The Fifth Child, the trope, besides reflecting on this rather well-known topos, evokes an uncanny otherness. Houses are portrayed as vital relics of the translocal city, which, however, no longer recall memories from southern Rhodesia. Instead, they are haunted by an obscure, ghastly Other, which acquires an affective significance that points beyond national and cultural boundaries. The two novels offer mirror images of London: while The Good Terrorist portrays everyday life in the city from the perspective of a middle-class girl, Alice, who is unable to identify with the values of her family, The Fifth Child depicts an apparently perfect middle-class household that is shattered when the monstrous child is born. Alice lives with a group of communists in various squats, which she renovates enthusiastically: the house in the center of the narrative parodies such middle-class values as homemaking and do-

[6.15]

[6.16]

Ágnes Györke

mestic bliss. In The Fifth Child, the spacious mansion allegorizes the hypocrisy of middle-class life: the conservative beliefs of the couple are gradually destroyed as their fifth child, Ben, takes control of the house. When he goes to school and forms his own gang, it becomes obvious that their group mirrors the communist outsiders in The Good Terrorist; both allegorize the untamable and, in Ben’s case, inconceivable Otherness that haunts the life of the middle class in Britain. The squat is portrayed as a translocal place in The Good Terrorist: though the members of Alice’s group are British, the ideology of modern communism is primarily German, while it was Russia where it became implemented for the first time. References to Lenin and Russia also appear in the novel; a “Russian comrade” lives in the squat next door, for instance, a foreigner who impresses Alice greatly: “In front of her was a man who impressed her at once as being foreign. It was not anything specific in his looks; it was just something about him. He was Russian, she knew. This gave her a little frisson of satisfaction” (1986, 123, emphasis in original). Alice thinks he is the “real thing” (1986, 123), the most “authentic” comrade she has ever met, and the phrase uncannily recalls Doris’s search for the “real” English in In Pursuit. In this novel, however, the “real thing” is markedly translocal, while the trope of the house points toward a vision of London that has become predominant in postmillennial fiction. The squat is portrayed in the very first paragraph of The Good Terrorist:

DRAFT

[6.17]

[6.18]

The house was set back from the noisy main road in what seemed to be a rubbish tip. A large house. Solid. Black tiles stood at angles along the gutter, and into a gap near the base of a fat chimney, a bird flew, trailing a piece of grass several times its length. “I should think, 1910,” said Alice, “look how thick the walls are.” This could be seen through the broken window just above them on the first floor. (1986, 5)

[6.19]

The large, solid house evokes the English tradition Yelin explores, recalling the high culture of British modernism, 9 yet it immediately points toward its demise: its windows are broken, and it is scheduled for demolition. It is no longer the city that is portrayed as a ruined and devastated place, as in In Pursuit, but the interior of the house. When Alice opens the kitchen door, light falls “on desolation. Worse, danger: she was looking at the electric cables ripped out of the wall and dangling, raw-ended. The cooker was pulled out and lying on the floor. The broken windows had admitted rain water which lay in puddles everywhere. There was a dead bird on the floor. It stank” (1986, 6–7). Alice’s almost mad attempt to restore this “capacious, beautiful and unloved house” (1986, 5) and make it a homely place reveals that it is invested with a heightened, even irrational, affective significance. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the squat provides safety for people on the periphery: a black youth Alice finds in one of the rooms, alone and full of

[6.20]

DRAFT

[6.21]

Emotional Geographies of London

sorrow; a lesbian couple, angry and fragile; Alice herself, who dreams about a world that is fairer than Britain in the 1980s. The trope of the house embodies this hope, which explains why it has an uncanny, almost absurd, emotional significance in the novel. The mansion in The Fifth Child is the exact opposite of Alice’s squat: it is physically located on the periphery in a small town close to London, yet its owners are all the more central as regards their social status: “Weekends were spent looking around towns within commuting distance of London, and they soon found a large, Victorian house in an overgrown garden. Perfect! But for a young couple it was absurd, a three-storeyed house, with an attic, full of rooms, corridors, landings. . . . Full of space for children, in fact” (1989, 13). The spacious Victorian mansion and the unkempt garden evoke the tradition of the English manor house, which is imposing yet absurdly out of place. The couple’s emotional reaction is equally disproportionate when they enter the house:

[6.22]

On the afternoon the house became theirs, they stood hand in hand in the little porch, birds singing all around them in the little garden where boughs were still black and glistening with chilly rain of early spring. They unlocked their front door, their hearts thudding with happiness, and stood in a very large room, facing capacious stairs. . . . They went gently, softly, hardly breathing, smiling and looking at each other and smiling even more because both had tears in their eyes. . . . On the landing, they turned to marvel at the great room that would be the heart of their kingdom. (1989, 14)

[6.23]

Though the mansion has a tangible geographical location, its allegorical significance largely surpasses this physical place. The garden resembles the Garden of Eden before the fall, while the house itself is portrayed as a kingdom, a rich, spacious, and superior place. The children waiting to be born epitomize the ultimate promise of the future: as in her The Children of Violence series (encompassing five novels published between 1952 and 1969), they offer the futile hope of regeneration and restoration after the destruction of the world wars. As with the house, Ben, the goblin child, evokes a historical period that points far beyond his own age; his mother feels she is looking, through him, at a race that reached its apex thousands of years ago:

[6.24]

Did Ben’s people live in caves underground while the ice age ground overhead, eating fish from dark subterranean rivers, or sneaking up into the bitter snow to snare a bear, or a bird—or even people, her [Harriet’s] ancestors? Did his people rape the females of humanity’s forebears? Thus making new races, which had flourished and departed, but perhaps left their seeds in the human matrix, here and there, to appear again, as Ben had? (1989, 156)

Ágnes Györke

DRAFT

This monstrous child is often read as a symptom of individual repression and societal oppression (Sullivan and Greenberg 2011, 116): a “radical, disruptive Other” (Nayar 2014, 31) that shatters the middle-class idyll associated with the English mansion. Pramrod K. Nayar calls Ben the “Thing” (2014, 30), a terrifying void that “may be at once inside and outside one’s home, one’s family, or one’s self” (Farnell quoted in Nayar 2014, 31). Ben defies cultural, national, and racial boundaries; it is impossible to conceive of him as part of the human race. He is a translocal, even transhuman, figure, the allegory of an affective response that has no place in the respectable, middleclass family. Ben resembles Sufiya Zinobia to a great extent, the heroine of Salman Rushdie’s Shame, published five years before The Fifth Child came out. 10 Sufiya also becomes a very powerful monster in the novel, killing animals first, then murdering her very family, and finally annihilating the whole nation. Yet unlike Sufiya, Ben does not allegorize a single nation, not even a nation attempting to repress its translocal genealogy, as Pakistan does in Rushdie’s novel. 11 The allegory seems to surpass all kinds of borders and boundaries; as Lessing notes, “One American writer said it [The Fifth Child] was really about the Palestinian problem. My favorite is an Italian journalist who said what it was about was the migrant labor problem in Europe” (quoted in Rothstein 1988). Lessing’s remarks reveal how open her text is: the threat and monstrosity allegorized by Ben might refer to any contemporary issue, such as the situation of the working class, the threat of violence, or the all-too-familiar monstrosity that haunts everyday life. In other words, The Good Terrorist and The Fifth Child do not simply challenge the myths of Englishness, but they also envision the transformation of London into a global, translocal space. The allegory of the translocal house takes center stage in contemporary diasporic fiction: in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2003), Helen Oyeyemi’s The Opposite House (2007), and Zadie Smith’s NW (2012), for instance, both the house and the act of walking play a significant role. The most striking example is the “somewherehouse” in Oyeyemi’s novel, which connects London and Lagos, literally: “One door takes Yemaya straight out into London and the ragged hum of a city after dark. The other door opens out onto the striped flag and cooking-smell cheer of that tattered jester, Lagos—always, this door leads to a place that is floridly day” (2007, 1). The somewherehouse is home to the Santeria, a religion that merges Yoruba, Christian, and indigenous American beliefs. It allegorizes a translocal, transreligious, and highly emotional world. Compared to this rich mythical realm, London is portrayed as a flat and prosaic place in the narrative: while the interactions in the somewherehouse are dramatic and emotional, in the London episodes, affective responses are limited and often ridiculous. Therefore, the novel endows the house with an emotional significance that has no place in the indifferent,

[6.25]

[6.26]

[6.27]

DRAFT

Emotional Geographies of London

postmillennial city, and I believe Lessing’s late fiction points exactly toward this direction. In London Observed, a collection of Lessing’s short stories published in 1992, London is portrayed as an indifferent, affectless metropolis, habitable only at the price of declining empathy. [6.28]

LONDON OBSERVED: THE INDIFFERENT CITY

[6.29]

The unnamed third-person narrator of London Observed is a flâneuse par excellence, who observes couples, strangers, broken families, beggars, taxi drivers, and lonely wanderers in the city. According to Rosario Arias, London is portrayed as a joyful city in the volume: as opposed to Lessing’s previous novels, “where the city is an ‘inferno’ and a ‘hurtful place’ . . . [the stories] depict London as something to look at and enjoy, as a spectacle or a performance” (2005, 6). However, though I think the city is something of a spectacle in this volume, providing many opportunities for characters to experiment, enjoyment is by no means the predominant affect in London Observed. Compared to the sensitivity of Anna and Martha, the narrator of the volume is aloof and detached; she observes the city and its inhabitants from a safe distance, remaining disengaged most of the time. The volume offers a glimpse into what Fredric Jameson calls the waning of affect in postmodern cultures, which paradoxically brings forth a sense of intensification: London is perceived as a grandiose theater, indifferent, unpredictable, yet intense. 12 Its depth remains invisible in most short stories, which are set in public places, and even when we see interiors that take us closer to the characters’ inner worlds, they strategically refuse emotional engagement. In the last section of this chapter I explore two stories from the volume, “The Mother of the Child in Question” and “The Pit,” claiming that, though the urban environment allows characters to experiment playfully in London Observed, the interior spaces are haunted by a repressed, translocal Other. Both “The Mother of the Child in Question” and “The Pit” are set inside a flat: while the former depicts a Pakistani family’s apartment in London, the latter is set in an English woman’s room. “The Mother of the Child in Question” offers a glimpse into the family’s life through the eyes of a social worker, Stephen Bentley, who visits them briefly. The short story begins with the portrayal of Stephen, who stops to survey the view from a walkway connecting two tower blocks: “Cement, everywhere he looked. Stained grey piles went up into the sky, and down below lay grey acres where only one person moved among puddles, soft drink cans and bits of damp paper” (Lessing 1994, 36). He is between two words, literally, as he enters the flat: the city he sees recalls the portrayal of the gray metropolis in Lessing’s earlier writings, while the apartments appear as aloof, private rows of “coloured curtains where people kept out of sight” (1994, 36). The opposition between

[6.30]

Ágnes Györke

the “grey piles” and the “many coloured curtains” suggests that Stephen is going to enter a world that defies the gray, affectless city. The interior of the flat is also very vivid: Stephen is dazzled by the small room crammed with furniture, including a red sofa, a low oblong table, and chairs full of shiny cushions. The mother, Mrs. Khan, is wearing a pink gauzy scarf, which adds to the “festive atmosphere” (1994, 37), and her children are likewise well dressed. Stephen’s job is to tell the father that their daughter, Shireen, needs special education, but the father is absent, and the mother simply refuses to accept the news. She demolishes him in Urdu, which her son, Hassan, translates to Stephen, but even Hassan stops translating his mother’s outbursts after a while. Untranslated anger remains at the heart of this story, an emotional outburst that has no place in the shallow, theatrical city. It affects Stephen deeply; as he returns to the streets, he recalls the tenderness on Mrs. Khan’s face for her afflicted child and finds that “he was filling with emotions that threatened to lift him off the walkway with the wind and float him off into the sky like a balloon” (1994, 42). However, Stephen’s emotional outburst is a short-lived impulse, a weak gesture that does not influence the outcome of the story. The order of the world is soon restored as he signs the family’s file: “‘Father did not turn up as arranged. His presence essential.’ The date. His own name” (1994, 42). The story gradually takes us back to the gray world of files and dates, a world where Mrs. Khan’s heroism is nothing more than a fleeting, momentary challenge to the shallow city life. “The Pit” is also set in a private place: a small flat in London, comprising “two adequate rooms” (1994, 138). Sarah, a divorced woman expecting her ex-husband, is arranging flowers, a “final spring of flowering cherry among white lilac and yellow jonquils, in a fat white jug” (1994, 138). The flowers, the rooms, and the main character’s distress recall Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925): Sarah is a fifty-five-year-old divorced woman contemplating the wrong choices she has made. She does not leave her flat, which makes the perspective of the narrative limited; like Mrs. Khan’s apartment, her room is a closed place, hidden and detached, suggesting that Sarah’s story is yet another invisible narrative in London Observed that is incompatible with the theatrical spectacle of London ironized throughout the book. Although the setting makes the narrative perspective limited in “The Pit,” we still get a glimpse of the world beyond the walls of the room through a series of references that evoke a more intense, translocal world. The reader learns, for instance, that Sarah is constantly on the move: “Because of her work she had lived in Paris, New York, various towns in England, always moving, and good at moving. She never felt she lived in one place more than another” (Lessing 1994, 142–43). Despite this apparently exciting and vibrant life, Sarah feels stuck: The image of the pit implies that she, like Mrs. Khan, is dwelling palimpsestically, cut off from other people and places. She

DRAFT

[6.31]

[6.32]

[6.33]

DRAFT

Emotional Geographies of London

often thinks of Rose, her ex-husband’s wife, trying to understand this mysterious and seductive woman who claims to be a Holocaust survivor. We see her character unfold through Sarah’s eyes, but Sarah refuses to engage fully with her story: [6.34]

Rose had been—so she had told some people—in a concentration camp. Had told others, more than that. Her mother had died in a camp. Her father was a fabulously rich South American who had had this amazing love affair with her beautiful mother, but he was married and had gone back to his wife. True? Who knew! (Who cared, Sarah had added, in moments of moral exhaustion). (1994, 164)

[6.35]

Rose is portrayed as the ultimate Other in “The Pit”: she is a primitive, dark, Jewish, mongrel, a dishonest and devious “foreign histrionic” (1994, 156). Although Sarah comes from a socially sensitive, altruistic family (after the war, her parents helped refugees), the way she sees Rose is both utterly simple and astonishingly malicious. At some point she feels “invaded by some understanding” (1994, 163), but the emotion is too overwhelming: “Sarah had closed a door in herself. Rather, she had refused to open it. And yes, she believed she was right. One needn’t allow oneself to wallow in horrors” (1994, 164). As in “The Mother of the Child in Question,” the moment of empathetic identification appears as a passing challenge in the indifferent capital. At the end of the story, Sarah resolves to withdraw from human relationships and go on a walking trip to Norway, leaving both the pit and the city behind. The reader is left with the image of the telephone ringing at the very end of story, reflecting on Sarah’s decision to refuse connection and attachment. Her narrative, then, and her decision to walk elsewhere suggest that empathy has no place in the indifferent metropolis. As I have argued, Doris Lessing’s writings point toward new directions in diaspora studies: they depict the diasporic condition as a translocal, affective entanglement. Flânerie in her early novels sheds light on the emotional dimension of intercultural trespass performed by her characters in London, while in her later writings, translocal interiors become invested with an affective significance that has no place in the indifferent city. As with Teju Cole’s New York, Lessing’s London is haunted by unseen narratives of suffering and alienation; “aboveground,” her characters are, like Cole’s, “with thousands of others in their solitude” (Cole 2012, 7), while in the private realm the solitude intensifies. This controlled yet all-the-more-pervasive affective intensity explored by London Observed suggests that Lessing’s later fiction prefigures the cities that postmillennial diasporic novels imagine.

[6.36]

Ágnes Györke

DRAFT

NOTES

[6.37]

1. This research was supported by the ÚNKP-17-4 New National Excellence Programme of the Ministry of Human Capacities, Hungary. 2. Louise Yelin, for instance, claimed that even In Pursuit of the English, Lessing’s most autobiographical novel, is primarily an English text, which elides the racialized discourse on immigration (1998, 60). 3. Fredric Jameson has written extensively on the waning of affect in Postmodernism; or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), which he defines as one of the key features of postmodern cultures. The general affectlessness of postmodern culture, which Jameson explores through the analysis of Andy Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes (1980), is juxtaposed by extreme moments of intense emotion, which Jameson aligns with schizophrenia and addiction (1991, 28–29). 4. For more about the significance of the walk in Lessing’s fiction, see Ágnes Györke, “Stories from Elsewhere: Walking as a Transnational Practice in Doris Lessing’s Fiction” (forthcoming). 5. The Benjaminian flâneur controls the city with his gaze, despite the fact that he also loses himself in the crowd. As Deborah Parsons puts it, the flâneur “becomes embroiled in the discourse of observation and visual control in and of urban space. Walter Benjamin’s late nineteenth-century flâneur, who retreats to the balcony or the window for authoritative control, is just such a figure who has lost the involved sensation of walking” (2003, 225). 6. According to Parsons, Martha in The Four-Gated City retreats into a “subjective awareness of the city that Martha retreats into, finding it ideal. At the same time there is something unnerving in this loss of ego, described by Virginia Woolf in ‘Street Haunting’ as a vulnerable observing eye without the protection of identity and the stabilizing demands of the home” (2003, 217). 7. According to Yelin,

[6n1] [6n2] [6n3]

[6n4] [6n5]

[6n6]

[6n7]

The debate about English identity is dramatized in In Pursuit of the English in the depiction of the boardinghouse where the narrator rents a room soon after arriving in London. This house is a satiric, urban, dystopian version of one of the constitutive figures of English literature and one that is associated with a particularly English literary tradition, that of the house—usually a country estate like Ben Jonson’s Penshurst or Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park—that stands for England. (1998, 63) 8. In The Golden Notebook, the London flat that appears in the very first line of the narrative (“The two women were alone in the London flat” [Lessing 1962, 3]) does not provide safety and comfort for Anna, nor does it offer any kind of stability for Martha in The FourGated City, who takes care of Lynda, a schizophrenic woman locked in the basement. In “To Room Nineteen” (1978), interiors have an even darker function: unable to deal with the burden of family life, the main character rents a room in a hotel in order to find peace of mind, where she finally commits suicide at the end of the short story. 9. Virginia Woolf has famously claimed that, in or about December 1910, human character changed in “Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Brown,” referring to the arrival of modernism that undermined the Edwardian prewar idyll. 10. Though Sufiya allegorizes the repressed stories of the Pakistani nation, she is also a transnational figure whose character grows out of the corpse of a Pakistani girl murdered in East London by her own father. The cruel act is committed in the name of propriety: “by making love to a white boy she had brought such dishonour upon her family that only her blood could wash away the stain” (Rushdie 1983, 123). 11. In one of the metafictional passages, the narrator points out, “To build Pakistan it was necessary to cover up Indian history, to deny that Indian centuries lay just beneath the surface of Pakistani Standard Time” (Rushdie 1983, 91). 12. For a detailed analysis of the public space in London Observed, see Györke (2017).

[6n8]

[6n9] [6n10]

[6n11] [6n12]

DRAFT

Chapter Seven

Everyday Emotions and Migration

1

Affect in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane Sibyl Adam

[7.0]

Affect is a difficult concept to define. Depending on the disciplinary context, it can be understood as the “things that happen” in ordinary life (Stewart 2007, 2), the emotional vehicles for an individual’s daily drives akin to the subject matter of psychoanalysis (Thrift 2004, 61), or how certain people’s bodies—“affect aliens”—have negative feelings attached to them as part of wider social hegemonies (Ahmed 2004). Affect is often discussed in abstract terms that may initially seem incompatible with the seemingly event-based narrations of migrant experience that are grounded in sociopolitical contexts. Yet the fluid nature of affect has the potential to inform diasporic envisionings of everyday life that engage with established postcolonial frameworks in innovative ways. This chapter addresses the imperative to analyze everyday migrant life in diasporic fiction through the use of affect theory. This both complements an increasing interest in affect in diasporic studies and demonstrates how literature can inform affect theories by showing how “various bodies through their racialized, gendered and sexualized markedness, magnetize various capacities for being affected” (Tolia-Kelly 2006, 215). Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2003) typifies this contemporary literary movement toward portraying everyday affective migrant experience. This novel is used later in this chapter to substantiate my position that migration as a process in everyday life is a major concern for diasporic writers. While critics have focused on the use of realism and plot development in the novel, scant attention has been paid to how these intersect with descriptions of affective experience. In order to address this, I discuss how Brick Lane portrays affect both as a type of experience and as a style of narrative. Ultimately, I argue for affect as a generic style particular to the subject matter of contemporary diasporic fic-

Sibyl Adam

tion. More widely, this signals the imperative to bring diaspora studies into the realm of the everyday. Affect has the capacity to extend the work of diaspora studies to show how it circulates as a specifically everyday process. Diaspora studies has traditionally concerned itself with the role of collective identity, especially after global events or historical trauma, such as the transatlantic slave trade. Khachig Tölölyan describes the primary characteristic of diaspora as a “culture and a collective identity that preserves elements of the homeland’s language, or religious, social, and cultural practice, either intact or, as time passes, in mixed, bicultural forms” (2007, 649). Works of literature are often referred to as diasporic if they share the same cultural traits of a geographical location, including both migrants and those with migrant heritage. Considering recent critical moves toward the everyday, discussions of diasporic identity, collective or otherwise, need to be understood via affect in order to fully understand how individuals’ daily lives are affected by being diasporic. The affective narrative style particular to diasporic fiction shows how the micropolitical elements of themes associated with such writing, such as xenophobia, homeliness, and hybridity, are negotiated by individuals in daily life. As Stuart Hall argues, cultural identity as it relates to diaspora is about processes of becoming as well as being: cultural identity “belongs to the future as much as to the past. It is not something which already exists, transcending place, time, history and culture. . . . Far from being eternally fixed in some essentialized past, [cultural identities] are subject to the continuous ‘play’ of history, culture and power” (2003, 236). Applying an affective framework to diaspora highlights identity as process, transforming static notions of diaspora. I suggest that diaspora readily lends itself to affective readings precisely because it encompasses a range of differences under umbrella identifications. There are particular affective experiences based on marginality and alterity that influence diasporic individuals even when these individuals have substantially different lives. I see Nazneen’s experience as a migrant in Brick Lane as extending the concept of diaspora by showing the role of affective knowledge in the quotidian processes that inform the life of diasporic individuals. It is in everyday life that we can see evidence of the way affects shape people’s lives. According to Kathleen Stewart, the ordinary as a type of experience is a “shifting assemblage of practices and practical knowledges” characterized by the “varied, surging capacities to affect and to be affected,” which gives everyday life the “quality of a continual motion” (2007). The usefulness of this notion for literary analysis lies in its transitory nature, where movement of feeling echoes the movement of migration. Exploring the flexible boundary between public and private, Stewart lists some examples of where affect can be found: “impulses, sensations, expectations, daydreams, encounters, and habits of relating, in strategies and their failures, in

DRAFT

[7.1]

[7.2]

[7.3]

DRAFT

[7.4]

[7.5]

[7.6]

Everyday Emotions and Migration

forms of persuasion, contagion, and compulsion, in modes of attention, attachment, and agency, and in public and social worlds of all kinds that catch people up in something” (2007, 1–2). Using Stewart’s emphasis on movement, I contend that, by concentrating on that which is relationally existent, if fleeting, between emotions, bodies, and space, we can understand more fully how sociopolitical realities are negotiated in quotidian life. Affect’s power is also its weakness. As Brian Massumi notes, affect cannot be easily qualified, owned, or recognized and is “thus resistant to critique” (2002, 28). Troubled by scholars’ dismissal of affect, Nigel Thrift argues that, if affect is a “different kind of intelligence about the world,” this should not be a way of dismissing it as irrational or sublime (2004, 60). Feminist concerns highlight the association of affect with the feminine and the resultant downgrading of such knowledge about the world. As Divya Tolia-Kelly argues, geographers writing on affect have been “inattentive to issues of power” because they have situated it in a universalist sensibility. The particularities behind social bodies need to be considered because the “affective capacities of any body are signified unequally within social spaces of being and feeling” (2006, 213–14). There has been an increased interest in affect in literary and cultural studies, reflective of the wider affect and spatial turns in the humanities. While there is yet to be a sustained study of affect in diasporic literary studies, the popular use of spatial theory signals a move toward understanding the literary in terms of emotions, fluidity, and how the imaginary informs the physical. For instance, studies on localized literary cultures, including John McLeod’s Postcolonial London (2004) and Lynne Pearce, Corinne Fowler, and Robert Crawshaw’s Postcolonial Manchester (2013), centralize the relationship of both physical and imagined space to localized narratives. In the context of migrant narratives, space is one strand of affect due to the role it plays in the relationships between postcolonial subjects and issues of belonging, marginalization, and integration. As such, an affectual approach serves to complement this interest in the spatial in postcolonial literature. There is also a trend toward using affect to understand the role of reading or storytelling within ethical frameworks. In the context of asylum seeking, David Farrier argues that there is a particular “affective economy in which asylum narratives circulate” (2012, 60). This entails that asylum seekers must narrate their stories in such a way as to enact a particular state response. While Farrier understands burdensome narratives within affective economies and the resultant, specifically postcolonial, ways of reading these narratives, Madhu Krishnan suggests that fictional texts create affective modes of being read as attuned to their circulation within the global literary marketplace. Krishnan argues that novels about African conflict use unreliable narrative voices to recreate literature as an active site of ethical engagement, which also calls “into question the normativity of categories of affective and em-

Sibyl Adam

pathic response in a transnational context” (2017, 4). In both these articles, affect is relegated to the space between the text and the reader/listener. It is through the act of reading that empathy can be produced and thus an ethical impact is produced outside the text. Texts still play a role in the creation of affect; indeed, they orchestrate an intended emotional response, meaning critical analysis tends toward reader response and the text’s specific role in relation to outside contexts. Building on this work, I argue that emotional knowledge is a generic quality of diasporic fiction, and as such, stylistic qualities need to be analyzed for how they show these experiences as primarily affective. Much of this criticism goes hand in hand with the goals of affect theory, but there is yet to be a sustained justification for the use of affect when analyzing narrations of migration. 2 My contribution to these debates is one that focuses on how affect works as narration, as a stylistic technique within the novel in balance with representations of affective experience. Affect as a style is prominent in and particularly suited to diasporic literature. Affect theory as a tool for literary analysis responds to what James Procter terms the “postcolonial everyday.” Procter argues, “Transfixed by the exotic, or driven to represent and account for a series of exceptional, pivotal or heroic moments—the colonial encounter, war, catastrophe, independence struggles, migration—the everyday tends to form the constitutive outside of postcolonial thinking” (2006, 62). Postcolonial studies tend to value the exceptional that often characterizes political resistance or cultural difference over mundane life. While the extraordinary may be studied precisely because it is more noteworthy or has a political urgency, this also presents the ongoing danger of exoticism (see Huggan 2001). I propose that writers may employ a strategically mundane subject matter to counter, for example, negative stereotyping. Procter argues for a renewed interest in the everyday that neither offers it as a “tactic” nor as an uncritical equalization of the everyday with resistance. Instead, he suggests that the “habitual, the mundane and the taken-for-granted are all performing, or capable of performing, important cultural tasks after empire” (Procter 2006, 64). The point here is not that the everyday is diametrically opposed to the political but rather that the triviality of the everyday is rife with the structures of power with which postcolonialism is most concerned. My inquiry into literary representations of affect encounters the problem of how we can pin something down that by definition is fleeting. While Procter lists examples of the repetitive daily rituals (in the context of contemporary British Asian film, “sleeping and waking, preparing meals, going to the toilet, eating, passing time” [2006, 67]), it is more difficult to quantify how affect fits into these routines. Kathleen Stewart’s categorization of ordinary affects suggests,

DRAFT

[7.7]

[7.8]

DRAFT

[7.9]

[7.10]

[7.11]

[7.12]

Everyday Emotions and Migration They are not the kind of analytic object that can be laid out on a single, static plane of analysis, and they don’t lend themselves to a perfect, three-tiered parallelism between analytic subject, concept, and world. They are, instead, a problem or question emergent in disparate scenes and incommensurate forms and registers; a tangle of potential connections. (2007, 3–4)

The ambivalent nature of affect is where agency lies, which enables diasporic literature to engage with the realities of marginal experience through the ability to represent what is usually fleeting. This stylistic use, especially in realism, also asks fundamental questions about identity formation and human relations. The fluid nature of affect interweaves these questions with political realities, thus helping to alleviate possible authorial tensions associated with diasporic writers, such as the “burden of representation” and the tendency to be exoticized by a white middle-class readership. Kobena Mercer (1990) describes the “burden of representation” as moments where, due to their minority status, artists of color are seen both as spokespeople for their supposed communities and as holding the responsibility for representing these communities in positive lights. I suggest that an affective literary style goes some way to destabilizing such burdens by showing diasporic experience as both mundane and political. Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2003) exemplifies this use of affect as a “tangle of potential connections.” This popular post-9/11 novel follows the life of a Bengali woman, Nazneen, who moves to Tower Hamlets in London to be with her older husband, Chanu, a product of an arranged marriage. Despite being at the center of controversies about questions of cultural representation, particularly due to the film version being filmed on Brick Lane itself, the novel is still typically read as popular fiction. As Bethan Benwell, James Procter, and Gemma Robinson explain, even though “sales of almost a million copies clearly do[es] not constitute a readership of ‘everyone’ . . . that it was a best selling novel is without a doubt” (2011, 100). Brick Lane is a prime example of the affectual generic style seen in diasporic literature. Most of the narrative is set in the domestic space of their home. Over the course of the novel, they have three children, one of whom dies as a baby, and Nazneen gets a job as a seamstress from her home. Nazneen begins an affair with the “middle man” of this operation, Karim, as they get to know each other when he comes to her house to collect the clothes she has sewn. Despite her life being marked by depressive and anxious episodes, the novel ends on a celebratory note as Nazneen makes important choices about her future: the choice to break off her affair with Karim and not to travel home to Bangladesh with her husband. Affect is conveyed through an insular, intimate narrative style, one that Brick Lane shares with other contemporary women’s fiction about migration, most comparably Leila Aboulela’s. This affective style as commonly used to

Sibyl Adam

describe women’s domestic experiences is intriguing for how it shows micropolitical moments in everyday life. As such, this particular narrative style is particular to literature about diasporic fiction and the issues and themes most commonly conveyed in such writing. The stylistic features of Brick Lane produce the micropolitical as interrogated through narratives of affect. Indeed, scholarly interest in Brick Lane has centered on narrative style. Lydia Efthymia Roupakia discusses the use of shifts between an omniscient narrator to free indirect speech, through the effect of “subtle, alternating close-ups and fade-outs on Nazneen’s thoughts,” as a way of translating religious thoughts to a nonreligious audience (2016, 4). Meanwhile, Dave Gunning locates the intimacy of the realist style as part of a movement in postcolonial literature “away from the representation of the knowable ethnic community and toward the idea of striving to understand others” (2012, 810). Critics have yet to sustain a critique of the role of affect in the novel. I contend that the novel uses affect connectively in relation to two aspects that Rehana Ahmed has identified as the “anthropological” and the “universal” (2015, 142). This duality is portrayed through both affect as plot content, in terms of everyday emotions, and affect as a writing style associated with the thematic characteristics of realism, bildungsroman, and intimate character voices. For Nazneen, affect is a type of knowledge about the world. The novel shows how this knowledge is particularly heightened in migrant experience, where language and cultural differences prevent easy movement, thus heightening feeling as a route to understanding. I argue for this affective knowledge in two contexts—in domestic settings, showing the gendered nature of migration, and in Nazneen’s relationship to the city, where her perception opens up Sara Ahmed’s (2000) theorization of “strange encounters,” how strangeness is produced through encounters between individuals, where emotions are attached to bodies. Affect in Brick Lane is conveyed in different modes. If we consider the novel as a whole, then we can evaluate the rhythms of emotion and feeling as they relate to the plot. At the beginning of Nazneen’s time in London, when her “head was still spinning” (Ali 2004, 28), the repeated descriptions of everyday activities within the domestic space, especially cleaning and cooking, engineer a sense of contemplation. This part of the narrative is not infused with any particularly strong emotion. In contrast, nearing the end, where the storyline works toward the narrative climax of the family’s possible departure back to Bangladesh, the tempo speeds up, coinciding with Nazneen’s multiple trips outside of her home. In this period, Nazneen’s sexuality comes to the forefront through the way it is affectively conveyed. Her younger lover, Karim, moves around her living room, which makes Nazeen feel an “electric current run from her nipples to her big toes” and then like her “skin was attached to thousands of fine silk threads, all of them pulling” (2004, 261). Other moments made significant for how they change

DRAFT

[7.13]

[7.14]

DRAFT

[7.15]

Everyday Emotions and Migration

the affective narrative rhythm include the jump of approximately thirteen years (1988–2001) following the death of Nazneen and Chanu’s first child. This is intriguing because, as Rehana Ahmed points out, this period contains events that were significant for Britain’s Muslim minority, including the Rushdie affair and the First Gulf War (2015, 140). Affect is what constitutes the in-betweenness of entities, that which cannot be entirely grasped but which gives a sense of “texture” to social moments (Katz 1999, 343). Nazneen’s narrated thoughts often give examples that exemplify the wider atmosphere. For instance, her contemplation over the differences between her childhood in Bangladesh and present life in London echoes the overarching slow processes of migration characteristic of the rhythms of this section of the novel:

[7.16]

What she missed most was people. . . . If she put her ear to the wall she could hear sounds. The television on. Coughing. Sometimes the lavatory flushing. Someone upstairs scraping a chair. A shouting match below. Everyone in their boxes, counting their possessions. In all her eighteen years, she could scarcely remember a moment that she had spent alone. Until she married. And came to London to sit day after day in this large box with the furniture to dust, and the muffled sound of private lives sealed away above, below and around her. (Ali 2004, 24)

[7.17]

Many of the actions described constitute Procter’s sense of the everyday, but the level of detail shows their affective capacity in light of the feeling they inspire. The separation of individuals into distinct physical “boxes” where these actions are carried out represents the loneliness of Nazneen’s relationship to her surroundings. This combines the precise context (housing estates with poor quality of housing, particular Western styles of living in flats) to larger epistemological challenges concerning the purpose of life. Indeed, later in the novel she describes the flats as a “vast dump of people rotting away” (2004, 364). Characteristic of the use of affect throughout the novel, this particular extract signifies the general mood that Nazneen experiences in this transitional period. Perhaps due to the uncanny nature of migration, the narration of Nazneen’s first few months in London show her feelings located vis-à-vis objects. The process of being supplanted into a new culture with differing, and therefore competing, social codes and environments is mimicked by her narration of objects. For instance, Nazneen’s fascination with ice-skating, culminating in the celebratory ending, where she goes skating with her daughters and best friend, begins when she sees it on the television. While sitting on the floor watching ice-skating in the afternoons, Nazneen is described as “no longer a collection of the hopes, random thoughts, petty anxieties and selfish wants that made her, but . . . whole and pure” (2004, 41). These affective elements of her being are only described in relation to the action of

[7.18]

Sibyl Adam

watching television. This moment demonstrates the importance of direction in affect. Emotions and associated feelings only come to the forefront through their relationship to the surrounding domestic space and particularly resonant objects, in this case the television. These particular, fleeting moments are key to the plot development because they show Nazneen’s feelings as fluid. Affect, then, shows migration as a daily negotiation that cannot be homogenized by a particular feeling or as wholly positive or negative. These examples raise the question, What is the difference between affect and emotion? Affect is not synonymous with emotion; rather, it is part of the transitory movement of emotions, how they travel between bodies, in space, and through time. Brian Massumi’s understanding of affect in relation to intensity is helpful here for bridging the gap between affect and the quotidian. Massumi distinguishes affect (which he also calls “intensity”) from emotion through their differing logics and orders:

DRAFT

[7.19]

An emotion is a subjective content, the sociolinguistic fixing of the quality of an experience which is from that point onward defined as personal. Emotion is qualified intensity, the conventional, consensual point of insertion of intensity into semantically and semiotically formed progressions, into narrativizable action-reaction circuits, into function and meaning. It is intensity owned and recognized. (2002, 27–28)

[7.20]

Nazneen’s bodily reaction to watching the television is an intensity, whereas the particular emotions (hope, anxiety, desire) are quantifiable, but it would be difficult or indeed unproductive to try to separate these entities. Massumi’s definition of “emotion [as] qualified intensity” helps substantiate my contention about the atmospheric nature of the plot progression. Particular events contain quantifiable emotions, but their relation to the plot is overall produced as affective. While we can pinpoint evidence that contributes to the way a section of the novel feels and we can plot its relation to the rest of the novel, this also shows the fluidity of reader response, which is less quantifiable. Divya Tolia-Kelly argues that, just as differentiated bodies are differently affected, so, too, are specific emotions changed by their relation to gender: “A contextual node of understanding ‘pain,’ ‘fear,’ ‘anger’ and ‘loss’ in relation to . . . geometries of difference is essential to effect an embodied theorization of affect and emotion” (2006, 215). Considering the gendered domestic setting of the novel, the repetitive acts of cleaning and cooking contribute to an overall feeling that Nazneen’s life is “just a matter of waiting” (Ali 2004, 46). These moments are seemingly banal, but their weight lies in their repetitive nature, which comes to constitute the relationship between Nazneen’s sense of self and her sense of her environment. In this way, they make time affectual. The passage of time becomes nonlinear, where life “made its pattern around and beneath and through her” (2004,

[7.21]

[7.22]

DRAFT

[7.23]

[7.24]

[7.25]

Everyday Emotions and Migration

40–41). In a bid to make order from this time, she starts praying five times a day, in line with her beliefs as a Muslim. Only later on in the novel does Nazneen reflect on this particular feeling as connected to her gender: “For years she had felt she must not relax. If she relaxed, things would fall apart. Only the constant vigilance and planning, the low-level, unremarked and unrewarded activity of a woman, kept the household from crumbing” (2004, 329). This moment demonstrates the movement from Nazneen’s thoughts to the omniscient narrator’s comment about the “unremarked and unrewarded activity” of women. This particular narrative style contributes to the way affect is related to social contexts. Overlooked by the tattooed woman with the “same look of boredom and detachment” (2004, 18) who lives across from her, Nazneen does household chores and occasionally receives visitors. These repetitive “days were tolerable and the evenings were nothing to complain about” (2004, 41). Negative feelings occasionally threaten to take over the general “waiting” feeling of her mundane domesticity. In one instance, the narrative evaluates Nazneen’s feelings: “Regular prayer, regular housework, regular visits with Razia. She told her mind to be still. She told her heart, do not beat with fear, do not beat with desire” (2004, 51). These repetitive phrases echo the quotidian nature of her life, as well as the overall affective rhythm of this section of the novel. Yet desire and fear threaten to converge onto the scene. The fluid nature of the narrative voice, where third-person narrative has access to Nazneen’s thoughts, adds to this tension. Looking out over the estate, the focus turns to the “tattoo lady” in her embodied form: Where her appearance signifies poverty, the narrative asks, “How can she just sit and sit? What is she waiting for? What is there to see?” (2004, 87). As well as considering the culmination of affective actions in the novel, there are sustained examples of Nazneen gaining knowledge of her surroundings through affective knowledge. Nazneen’s first exploration around the city has been a particular preoccupation for critics. Angelia Poon, for instance, describes it as an ontological exploration of her experience, whereby the production of knowledge “re-stages the problem [of home for the migrant] in terms of how one comes to know one’s place in the world” (2009, 428). I take this discussion further to highlight Nazneen’s journey of affectual self-knowledge as caught up with the realities of the British class system. Nazneen’s walk around the city illustrates Sara Ahmed’s (2000) articulation of the way foreignness is produced through encounters between individuals and the way affect is attached to certain individuals. Nazneen’s understanding of class through feeling undermines her position as necessarily foreign by illuminating how, within British society, there is an inherent alienation of people in poverty. The class system is one of the most divisive factors in contemporary British society, yet the degree to which it marks diasporic experience is often

Sibyl Adam

ignored in critical discussions of diasporic fiction. The process of creating meaning through affect is similar to the process of producing foreignness through encounters. The style of Nazneen’s narrative while walking around the city concentrates on white working-class and professional individuals in the 1980s while simultaneously drawing attention to the way she reads people as a migrant. The way Nazneen reads class is thus inextricably linked to her outlook as a new migrant. This particular viewpoint destabilizes perceptions of class by showing the processes through which we come to understand someone’s class identity through affective referents. Nazneen’s affective journey through London, therefore, complicates the figuration of the immigrant as a guest in a host country, where space is owned by the privileged, by showing how this space is already hostile to some of its own through the class system. This relationship between migrant perspective and the process of understanding the British class system is central to the descriptions of affect in Brick Lane. The text interrogates what Sara Ahmed has theorized as “strange encounters,” how foreignness comes into existence through encounters between individuals and how this is attached to bodies through the “stickiness” of emotionally charged speech acts. As Ahmed describes, distant cultures only become strange through their proximity to us, through coming “too close to home” (2000, 12). In a discussion of the spatial function of the “alien” and the relations of proximity and distance within the home(land), Ahmed describes how

DRAFT

[7.26]

[a]liens allow the demarcation of spaces of belonging: by coming too close to home, they establish the very necessity of policing the borders of knowable and inhabitable terrains. The techniques for differentiating between citizens and aliens, as well as between humans and aliens, allows the familiar to be established as the familial. (2000, 3)

[7.27]

If the familiar is only identifiable as the familial through its contrast with the alien, then there is always an inherent unhomeliness in the class system because such a system necessitates different levels of belonging. In this sense, Nazneen as a figure complicates us/them dichotomies between citizens and immigrants by showing that the class hierarchies within British society already Other some individuals. Inequality is shown through affect and emotion, negotiated through Nazneen’s gaze. The period in which this scene is set, the late 1980s, is distinct for the growth of neoliberalism, seen through Nazneen’s walk from her home, through Brick Lane, to the city of London. Ahmed argues that the “alien stranger is . . . not beyond human, but a mechanism for allowing us to face that which we have already designated as the beyond” (2000, 3). This suggests that an encounter between a stranger and a nonstranger carries the

[7.28]

[7.29]

DRAFT

[7.30]

[7.31]

Everyday Emotions and Migration

weight of that which constitutes the “strange.” Previous connotations from particular spaces are attached to the body of the migrant, which produces the encounter as a particularly embodied moment. Nazneen understands the class system in her neighborhood through embodiment. The morning that she leaves the house to explore, she narrates the movements of the “tattoo lady” who is “still in her nightdress,” a sign that she is unemployed, and “fat like a baby.” The narrative concludes, “[That] this woman was poor and fat . . . was unfathomable. In Bangladesh it was no more possible to be both poor and fat than to be rich and starving” (Ali 2004, 53). Rather than showing that Nazneen’s information about class comes from bodily signifiers, this suggests that she attaches her knowledge of the deprived housing estate and of Bangladeshi poverty to the situation. Thus fatness, tattoos, and inactivity comes to signify poverty. The “tattoo lady” is seen as strange by Nazneen through their interaction, and Nazneen is gaining knowledge of the how class operates through the affects given off by this woman’s body. Moving from her observation of the “tattoo lady,” Nazneen leaves the flat and walks down the stairs. She describes how the front doors are all the same with “peeling red paint showing splinters of pale wood,” one of whom has an unfriendly owner: “A door flew open and a head bobbed out in front of her. It was bald and red with unknown rage. She nodded but today he did not acknowledge her” (2004, 53). This “unknown rage” has a double meaning. It pertains to the man’s personal rage that Nazneen cannot access from her position but also a rage that is connected to the history of the area, which shows her position outside of the culture. She may not be fully aware of the history of the area and the causes of deprivation that may lead to the man’s rage. The location of this moment between the peeling front doors and graffiti of a “pair of buttocks” (2004, 53–54) indicates a link between this emotion and the signs of deprivation. Strangeness only comes to fruition through Nazneen’s encounter with this man, which suggests, as Ahmed argues, that “identity does not simply happen in the privatized realm of the subject’s relation to itself. Rather, in daily meetings with others, subjects are perpetually reconstituted: the work of identity formation is never over” (2000, 7). Ahmed’s argument, therefore, entails that differences are not to be found on the body of others but rather in the encounters between individuals. As Nazneen goes from a deprived area to a wealthy one, the narrative layers her understanding. Walking through multicultural Brick Lane, she experiences schoolchildren as “pale as rice and loud as peacocks” and waiters in Indian restaurants who will be waited on, in turn, by their wives at home (Ali 2004, 55). After walking more, she arrives at the city of London, the financial center. The narrative structure paints a picture of a dichotomous “tale of two cities” through the affective residue. Where, in Tower Hamlets, the people have “unknown rage,” in the city, everyone moves with haste with no “pause even to shrug” (2004, 59). Nazneen’s grasp of the main difference

Sibyl Adam

DRAFT

between the two aspects of London is through the way time as a commodity is used to further personal gain. In the deprived area, there is too much time; even a “gang of pigeons turned weary circles on the grass like prisoners in an exercise yard” (2004, 54). In the city, Nazneen observes, “people carried white paper bags with sandwiches poking out. Some ate and walked to save time” (2004, 60). Nazneen goes at a slower pace and is thus ignored. This area contrasts with the previous description of her housing estate: Every person who brushed past her on the pavement, every back she saw, was on a private, urgent mission to execute a precise and demanding plan: to get a promotion today, to be exactly on time for an appointment, to buy a newspaper with the right coins so that the exchange was swift and seamless, to walk without wasting a second and to reach the roadside just as the lights turned red. (2004, 56)

[7.32]

These actions combined give off particularly capitalist affects marked by competitiveness, urgency, and individualism. Like the characterization of the man’s unknown rage, the narrative here is stabilizing the knowledge of the new area through emotive language. The selfish demands of capitalism with every individual on a “private, urgent mission” grants a sense of competition and desperation through movement, even risking danger in an attempt to save seconds crossing the road. To Nazneen then, the pursuit of capital looks inhospitable. The man with unknown rage would be as invisible here as Nazneen is, which suggests that poverty and foreignness are concomitant. Nazneen is witnessing the performances of class and capitalism before encountering anyone, as she is deemed invisible to these businesspeople. This changes when, in the space of the city, a man taps her on the shoulder, which causes her to jump like a “dog away from a whip snake.” The man, “brown-face in a dark coat and tie” with a “handkerchief arranged like an exotic flower in his breast pocket” (2004, 60), indicating a high-class status, speaks to Nazneen first in Hindi, then Urdu. She does not speak Hindi and speaks some Urdu but does not understand because of his accent. This puts Nazneen in an interesting predicament due to the position of the man of possible South Asian heritage as encompassing the place in the conversation as the local. In line with Sara Ahmed’s argument, there is a symbolic resonance of the moment of encounter between a local and a foreigner because it is the encounter itself that makes the stranger strange. Eventually, Nazneen speaks English to the man, saying “sorry,” which leads her to feel a sense of pride because “she had spoken, in English, to a stranger, and she had been understood and acknowledged. It was very little. But it was something” (2004, 60). From her point of view, the man is the stranger through class differences, despite his attempt at solidarity through potential shared languages. The narrative has already mapped out Nazneen’s journey through affective knowledge, which grants a sense of ownership through understand-

[7.33]

[7.34]

DRAFT

[7.35]

[7.36]

Everyday Emotions and Migration

ing. The intimate narrative positions Nazneen’s affective knowledge as just as legitimate as other knowledges, whether social or historical, which in turn undermines these “strange encounters.” Indeed, in this moment, identifying who is the foreigner is no simple task. This encounter highlights the importance of affect in particularly diasporic situations, where the intricacies of difference and identity are brought to the fore. Nazneen is a recent migrant, and the man is of possible migrant heritage, yet they are connected by a collectivity brought about by diaspora. Rehana Ahmed’s materialist critical outlook informs her reading of this city scene as surprisingly “frictionless” for Nazneen, despite the great cultural and material differences between the two spaces of the council estate and the financial city. Ahmed suggests that Nazneen’s detached vision has the effect of diluting the “conflictual social relations that fix her and her community into a subordinate position within Britain,” and as a result, “[h]er detachment suggests placelessness; it de-places her, and to an extent, despatialises Britain” (2015, 132–33). Although the break in the narrative helps position Nazneen outside of her material circumstances in order to produce a specific point of view, her positioning vis-à-vis affective knowledge also helps her to evaluate the material circumstances around her. In this way, rather than denying the social and material particularities of the location, the focalization of Nazneen’s narrative as specifically diasporic provides us with a fresh account of the class system and diasporic individuals’ roles within it. The narrative gaze is decentered, giving Nazneen a position of agency without necessarily absolving other people’s social circumstances. This particular narrative gaze from Nazneen shows her awareness of difference, especially class, as shown through affect. Ultimately, this shows the way an awareness of affect can open diaspora literature by showing how the concept travels in everyday life. Nazneen carries knowledge learned from affective experience during her physical movement around the city, which illustrates the crucial role it plays in her specifically diasporic understanding of the world. Brick Lane is characteristic of the growing trend of affectual realist style in contemporary diasporic fiction, including such writers as Leila Aboulela, Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Fadia Faqir. Through the use of both plot development that is permeated by overarching emotions, sustained by the repeated everyday actions of gendered domestic life, and precise moments that show Nazneen’s perspective of affective knowledge, the novel evidences the need for a consideration of literary descriptions of migration through affect. This suits the purposes of much postcolonial and diasporic literary criticism in a British context, namely to explore the social systems of power that inform the lives of individuals from minority backgrounds and to examine how British culture is constituted by these colonial and diasporic histories. In particular, the novel opens the specificities of the British class system through affect. This in turn demonstrates the imperative to approach social

Sibyl Adam

structures through intersections; Nazneen’s class position cannot be separated from her perspective as a migrant and a woman of color. Affect theory, with its emphasis on fluidity, is well suited to complement the growing interest in the spatial and reader responses in the field. Diasporic literature is usually grounded in social realities, and as such, scholars are often politically motivated in their responses. An affective critical stance does not serve to replace such views but instead aims to highlight the importance of the interconnected issues of feeling, the everyday, emotions, and the subtleties of experience to the social and political realities of the subject matter. As affect is arguably to be found everywhere (it is the very stuff that comprises everyday life), it is clear that there needs to be more attention paid to it in criticism, especially to the way it informs literary style and narrative.

DRAFT

[7.37]

NOTES

[7.38]

1. I acknowledge the financial support of the Wolfson Foundation for this research. 2. The closest work is Douglas Robinson’s Displacement and the Somatics of Postcolonial Cultures (2013), which uses somatic theory to look at affect as a normative regulatory system in experiences of displacement. This study comes from a linguistic-psychological perspective and does not draw on the vast array of work in philosophy and cultural studies (most notably Sara Ahmed), to the detriment of the argument.

[7n1] [7n2]

DRAFT

Part IV

Precarious and Silent Diasporas

DRAFT

Chapter Eight

British New Slaveries in Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand and Caryl Phillips’s In the Falling Snow Diachronic and Synchronic Reflections Pietro Deandrea

[8.0]

[8.1]

This chapter is centered on the similarities and points of divergence between British new slaveries and established concept(s) of diaspora. I intend to verify how far diaspora, as a critical category, can be applied to a multifarious phenomenon, such as British new slaveries resulting from globalization. The phenomenon of “new slaveries,” which has developed in Britain from the early 1990s, is characterized by the trafficking, exploitation, and enslavement of globalization’s underprivileged migrants. Creative and critical literature often describe these new slaves as marked by a hidden and invisible existence, with its consequent recurrent trope of the ghost, while their widespread and extremely diverse forms of imprisonment point at the trope of the concentration camp. These two main features (with their entailed violence, vulnerability, and blackmailing) cause an extreme fragmentation and isolation, shaping a nationwide “concentrationary archipelago” (Deandrea 2015). Britain’s extreme flexibility in its labor market, coupled with the unparalleled criminalizing attitude of its immigration policies, 1 contribute to exacerbating the spectralization, enslavement, and atomization of these migrants, whereby several categories of people (be they documented or undocumented, economic migrants or refugees and asylum seekers, forming what I call in this chapter “globalization’s underprivileged migrants”) are turned into labor fodder (Deandrea 2015, 4–7). 2

Pietro Deandrea

DRAFT

In this chapter I argue that British new slaveries are the product of the intersection and overlapping of many different migratory movements scattered throughout the country that form a constantly changing coexistence of multiple diasporas. They therefore resist any rigid classification of diasporas into separate types, thus requiring new approaches to diaspora studies. Starting from Tölölyan’s widely inclusive definition of diaspora, I espouse the need to avoid overgeneralizing paradigms in favor of particularized phenomena. On these theoretical premises, I then problematize the complex relationship between diasporas and new slaveries in Britain through two key themes: the concept of community and diasporic black Britain, respectively examined in the novels The Other Hand (2008) by Chris Cleave and In the Falling Snow (2009) by Caryl Phillips. Cleave’s protagonist clearly embodies the shattering of any possible form of communal solidarity among contemporary migrants, while Phillips’s novel subtextually hints at the disquieting connections between British new slaveries and black Britain’s historic and present issues.

[8.2]

NEW SLAVERIES AND DIASPORA STUDIES

[8.3]

The earliest writings on British new slaveries appeared in the first half of the 1990s with the publication of Bridget Anderson’s sociological report Britain’s Secret Slaves (1993), covering the enslavement of migrant domestic workers in British homes; this work soon inspired Ruth Rendell’s crime novel Simisola (1995 [1994]). 3 Curiously, these pioneer works were contemporaneous with the rise of diaspora studies: Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies was inaugurated in 1991, while Paul Gilroy’s seminal The Black Atlantic was published in 1993. British new slaveries constitute an appropriate case study for researching diasporas because they concretize some theoretical formulations characteristic of diaspora studies, such as their links with the phenomenon of globalization and the coexistence of various migratory movements. Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur write, “Diaspora offers myriad, dislocated sites of contestation to the hegemonic, homogenizing forces of globalization. . . . We are in a unique historical moment wherein different diasporic trajectories intersect and overlap” (2003, 10, 12). These reflections are an apposite description of the British concentrationary archipelago. 4 Moreover, they ask a question that is crucial for any research on the literature related to British new slaveries: “What are the subjective, psychological and social dimensions of diasporas and other modern forms of geographical displacements and dislocations?” (2003, 15). At the same time, the specific concepts of diaspora developed in Braziel and Mannur’s reader are marked by the discontinuities from—rather than the

[8.4]

[8.5]

[8.6]

DRAFT

British New Slaveries in The Other Hand and In the Falling Snow

similarities with—the features pertaining to British new slaveries. Arjun Appadurai, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, and Kobena Mercer tend to focus on issues regarding ethnic, cultural, and gender identity and the relationship between host and home nation, which are extremely tangential, if present at all, in the literature on spectralized and imprisoned new slaves. The pages that follow problematize the inclusion of British new slaveries in the field of diaspora studies by focusing on the category of community and the contested relationship between British new slaveries and the historic black British diaspora. [8.7]

COMMUNITY AND GROUP SOLIDARITY: “NO FLAG FOR US FLOATING PEOPLE”

[8.8]

Introducing the historic first issue of the journal Diaspora, Kachig Tölölyan (1991, 4–5) proposes a wide range of dislocated people who could be covered by the definition of diaspora, including guest workers. 5 However, in the same issue, William Safran claims that the term should be limited to peoples who meet a list of six criteria, which may be roughly summarized as (1) dispersal from original center, (2) retention of a collective vision, (3) incomplete acceptance by host societies, (4) wish to return, (5) myth of the homeland, and (6) collective consciousness and solidarity as a consequence of that bond with the homeland (1991, 83). What I am concerned with here, with regards to British new slaveries, is Safran’s emphasis on group identity, community, and “they.” The collective dimension of his vision is shared by most diaspora scholars. Appadurai also writes of “moving groups” in his famous definition of the concept of “ethnoscapes” (1996, 34). British new slaveries, however, are characterized by a tendency toward extreme fragmentation and isolation of enslaved individuals. Literary and artistic productions on British new slaveries show that this is the consequence of both external and internal factors: the need to hide, the many forms of imprisonment, physical and psychological violence and/or forms of deprivation, the constant threat of deportability, the traumatic backgrounds of many of the immigrants involved, divisive immigration policies, and the various institutional forms of persecution all contribute to undermine the very possibility of collective bonds and solidarity (see Deandrea 2015). In Cleave’s (2009) The Other Hand, the Nigerian narrator/protagonist Little Bee (an oil-war refugee) finds herself unexpectedly dismissed from a migrant center after a two-year detention, together with a motley group of asylumseeking girls from Jamaica and the Indian subcontinent. They are sensitive to one another’s needs and apparently get on well as a small group, but they are set free only because one of them had sex with an immigration officer. Hence, they are still undocumented. When one of them hangs herself during their first night out as a consequence of her post-traumatic stress disorder,

[8.9]

Pietro Deandrea

DRAFT

Little Bee decides to escape on her own, afraid of being caught again. In her naïve sixteen-year-old voice, she captures the fragmented condition of British new slaves: [T]hat was the hardest thing I had to do since I left my village. But if you are a refugee, when death comes you do not stay for one minute in the place it has visited. Many things arrive after death—sadness, questions, and policemen— and none of these can be answered when your papers are not in order. Truly, there is no flag for us floating people. We are millions, but we are not a nation. We cannot stay together. Maybe we get together in ones and twos, for a day or a month or even a year, but then the wind changes and carries the hope away. Death came and I left in fear. (Cleave 2009, 114–15)

[8.10]

Earlier on, Little Bee fantasizes about the color of the flag of the world’s refugees being gray (2009, 109), but the girl’s suicide shatters even this imaginary, dispiritingly colorless token of community. 6 This clash between wishful thinking and harsh reality, together with Little Bee’s reference to the changing wind, is reminiscent of what Appadurai writes about the fate of ethno-scapes: “[A]s international capital shifts its needs, . . . as nation-states shift their policies on refugee populations, these moving groups can never afford to let their imaginations rest too long, even if they wish to” (1996, 34). While emphasizing their helplessness in the face of globalization’s powers that be, Appadurai’s vision maintains its focus on “groups” and “communities,” thus differing from the fragmented and dispersed forms of diaspora emerging in British new slaveries. Michele Reis rightly asserts that “very few modern-day diasporas ascribe to all of the aforementioned [Safran’s] characteristics” (2004, 43), and the study of British new slaveries makes it quite clear that points 2 and 6 of Safran’s list (concerning collective vision and consciousness) do not apply much to this specific phenomenon. This is also not to mention the first point, regarding the single origin of diasporic groups: in British new slaveries, there is no original center because they are the product of the overlaps among many different diasporas from all over the world that are constantly being scattered throughout the country, as shown by Little Bee’s short-lived group. It is important, then, to reflect on what qualifies British new slaveries to be included in the category of diasporas. With regard to this, reference can be made to Sudesh Mishra’s classification of diaspora studies. He divides diaspora scholars into three categories: those who emphasize the divided pull between “homeland” and “hostland” and concentrate on “dual territoriality”; those who go beyond this duality for the sake of a more complex “strategic positioning,” in Stuart Hall’s words; and those who escape “more generalist paradigms in favour of an interrogative specificity . . . an archaeology of specific diasporas” (2006, 15–18). The study of British new slaveries recognizably falls under this third category, not least because it results from many

[8.11]

[8.12]

[8.13]

DRAFT

[8.14]

[8.15]

British New Slaveries in The Other Hand and In the Falling Snow

intersecting diasporas from all over the world. Mishra’s third type, then, validates the inclusion under the umbrella of diaspora studies of contexts eluding Safran’s (and others’) general definitions. Rebecca Walsh is equally encouraging in this sense, privileging, in the essays that she has edited on this topic, “particularized geographical contexts with their own distinct histories . . . the material spatiotemporal realities of diasporic formations”—in short, a “bottom-up, site-specific understanding of global diasporas” (2003, 5–7). Mishra’s analysis is particularly appropriate for the study of British new slaveries for another theoretical reason. He argues that diasporists concerned with present-day diasporas often neglect the “economic assumptions underpinning many of their assertions . . . the actual workings of transnational capital. . . . This lack of engagement with discourses of globalization forms the Achilles heel of diaspora criticism” (2006, 19). Mishra’s following arguments (2006, 147–55) analyze the very workings of transnational capital and its financial markets—how they create a reservoir of stagnant labor in the peripheries, how they often leave illegal emigration as the only choice, and how they profit from these migrants with the help of nation-states that criminalize them. This scenario is not dissimilar from that of British new slaveries, where the socially disruptive effects of financial markets are coupled with criminalizing immigration policies, resulting in divided and fragmented living conditions for (the highly exploitable) new slaves. These divisions, it is worth repeating, can be so deep as to prevent any sort of communal initiatives. Among these, one should mention the involvement of new slaves in the trafficking industry at various levels: “Migration networks . . . embrace a continuum from the migrant-benign to the migrant abusive,” writes Nicholas Van Hear (1998, 257). Obviously, British new slaveries are still a recent and in-progress phenomenon. Developments and changes, especially regarding the agency of new slaves, might well be already underway. It may be that the coexistence of several diasporas on British soil will engender new communities. 7 Braziel and Mannur mention a “nomadic turn in which the very parameters of specific historical moments are embodied and . . . scattered and regrouped into new points of becoming” (2003, 3, emphasis mine). It is possible that literature and the arts will start showing this kind of change in terms of the agency and communal identity of enslaved migrants when new slaves themselves produce artistic works about their own experience. So far, almost all the literature and visual arts on the subject has been produced by external observers, be they white or black Britons, and this may account for a widespread interest in the relationship between citizens and new slaves (including Cleave’s The Other Hand) rather than among new slaves themselves. The artists’ identity is one evident difference between British new slaves and black Brit-

Pietro Deandrea

DRAFT

ish cultural productions. With regards to this issue, the relationship between these two diasporas is examined in the next sections. BLACK BRITAIN AND BRITISH NEW SLAVERIES

[8.16]

Some literary works regarding British new slaveries include characters linked to the black British diaspora. In most of these cases, the two diasporas are presented as separated by a cultural, economic, and institutional divide that is extremely wide, if not unbridgeable 8: on one side the well-established, and often well-integrated, black Britain; on the other, the ghostly new slaves. Among the examples are two crime novels: Ruth Rendell’s Simisola (1995 [1994]) and Ian Rankin’s Fleshmarket Close (2004). In the latter, black immigration official Felix Storey describes British new slaves to the main sleuth Rebus:

[8.17]

My own parents arrived here in the fifties: Jamaica to Brixton, just two among many. A proper migration that was, but dwarfed by the situation we’ve got now. Ten thousand a year, coming ashore illegally . . . often paying handsomely for the privilege. Illegals have become big business, Inspector. Thing is, you never see them until something goes wrong. (2004, 210, emphasis mine)

[8.18]

The language of this excerpt significantly points to the divide previously mentioned. Proper refers to the 1949 Nationality Act that prompted the “Windrush” migrations from the British colonies (Dawson 2007, 8–12). This term, signaling legitimacy, stands in contrast with the illegality that this officer is investigating, leading to these contemporary migrants’ state of invisibility and consequent dehumanization. In some cases, a different picture is shown. Benjamin Zephaniah’s (1996) poem “The Death of Joy Gardner” is about a woman suffocated by immigration officers in 1993. Through his confrontational, heart-on-sleeve attitude, Zephaniah presents the situation as less clear cut and more disquieting: his poetical voice expresses the fear that a simple mistake by the deportation squad might end up with “[o]fficials who may tie my feet” (1996, 11). The relative integration of the Empire Windrush diaspora is here undermined by Zephaniah. Today’s “extradition squad” resonates with the long-standing issue of institutional racism and the many “mistake(s)” that have persecuted the historic black British diaspora. In the rest of this chapter, I analyze Caryl Phillips’s novel In the Falling Snow precisely because, similarly to Zephaniah’s lines, it subtly traces a series of connections between black Britain and British new slaveries while avoiding a pacified picture of the former.

[8.19]

[8.20]

DRAFT

British New Slaveries in The Other Hand and In the Falling Snow

[8.21]

LEAVING THE SAFETY OF SHADOWS

[8.22]

In the Falling Snow might at first sight seem a simpler, less experimental novel than Phillips’s earlier fiction. It is certainly less fragmentary in its structure, based as it is on the midlife crisis of Afro-Caribbean Briton Keith Gordon and his flashbacks to the earlier stages of his life; three years after the separation from his white British wife Annabelle, “he is drifting” (Phillips 2010, 139). The book’s more traditional structure is probably the reason it was initially received quite coolly by Phillips’s numerous readers and critics (Vyncke 2010, 7). My argument is that the novel is actually quite complex in its weaving of different historical and diasporic phenomena (both diachronically and synchronically), problematizing issues that, to some, might already appear to have been overcome. I argue that this problematization is mostly developed through Keith’s ambivalent attitude toward Danuta, a young Polish immigrant. The novel is composed of three different strands related to multicultural Britain. The first has to do with black Britain and its first, second, and third generations. The very beginning of the book sees Keith walking “in one of those leafy suburbs of London,” and “it is painfully clear that, as far as some people are concerned, he simply doesn’t belong in this part of the city” (Phillips 2010, 3). His flashbacks look back on the aggressive attitude of his white father-in-law (2010, 29, 44) and the racism that his son Laurie had to bear as a child, when called “halfie” or attacked by racists (2010, 17, 29). Keith’s career as a council race relations liaison officer and his present post as head of a race equality unit places him at the very center of the unresolved questions of black Britain. In the course of the novel, these matters are increasingly related to the psychologically unstable character of Keith’s father, culminating in the climax. 9 The second thread has to do with his son, Laurie, black Britain’s third generation, and more generally twenty-first-century British youth. Keith sees them as a generation for whom race has a limited importance, intersecting as it does with such categories as class and power (2010, 14–15). Laurie embodies that phase of black Britain when representation gives way to an articulation of ethnicity with other categories, showing a more complex degree of cultural and political complexity (Hall 1988). When Laurie is arrested, Keith is afraid that the police may have racially abused him, but the surprising answer is “What are you on? The copper who interviewed me was black” (Phillips 2010, 227). In her analysis of In the Falling Snow, Petra TournayTheodotou detects in Laurie’s generation the rising importance of class over race (2016, 55); similarly, in his wide-ranging reflections on black British literature, John McLeod sees the generational gap between Keith and his son as paradigmatic of the distinctly twenty-first-century polycultural sense of the national in what he calls “contemporary black writing of Britain” (2010,

[8.23]

[8.24]

Pietro Deandrea

DRAFT

46). As far as changes in diasporic waves are concerned, this chapter argues that In the Falling Snow represents another important shift related to new migratory movements. More interestingly for this chapter, the third strand related to multicultural Britain is constituted by globalization’s underprivileged migrants. The difficulties of tackling this issue are evident from the very start, through Annabelle’s new partner Bruce:

[8.25]

You see the asylum seekers, and those migrants from the subcontinent who come here to marry their cousins, they have every right to be here no matter how hard some of us may find it to accept them. But this cheap Eastern European labour in the wake of EU expansion, well to Old Labour men like myself this just doesn’t seem fair. (Phillips 2010, 50–51; see also 238)

[8.26]

Bruce’s smugness may be seen as embodying the puzzlement of self-appointed “progressive citizens.” In the preceding extract, the juxtaposition between Labour and labour creates a bitterly ironic contrast where the capitalized citizen objects to the small-letter migrant, thus rejecting an Other who is, politically and linguistically, only slightly different from himself. It is hard not to think of the shortcomings of Blair’s “New Labour” here and the ways in which it concretized Stuart Hall’s 1980 analysis of Thatcherism as a vision of society that would remain long after Thatcher’s leadership (Hall 1989, 104). Later in the novel, Keith first meets the young Polish woman Danuta in a public library. He finds her look of unkempt innocence sexually attractive, but his first attempt to kiss her meets with her withdrawal and disappointment. It is at this point that she reveals her occupation and therefore the social gap between them: “At night I am a cleaner. I work in an office building so I must go and do my job” (Phillips 2010, 77). From the very start of their conversations, Danuta’s ironic attitude teases Keith with scathing remarks and questions that may be seen as probing the role and goal of his life. For example, Keith’s casual remark about going to a quiet pub to think about what he would like to do prompts her reply: “And what is it that you would like to do, Mr. Keith? Do you have a big plan?” (2010, 68). Keith is intrigued by her attitude and personality, and his feeling of being sexually attracted is slowly replaced by a rising curiosity: “The more he gazes at this Danuta’s mop of blonde hair, and her chewed nails and nicotine-stained fingers, the more he wants to know about her” (2010, 74–75). Her character provokes Keith to a sort of self-probing into his past. Danuta’s pressing questions on a photograph he keeps in his flat (the picture of Brenda, his white British stepmother) start a long flashback into his memories (2010, 75, 80–88) that mirrors the close connections between black Britain and British new slaveries that recur in the novel.

[8.27]

[8.28]

DRAFT

British New Slaveries in The Other Hand and In the Falling Snow

[8.29]

In other words, there are textual reverberations sparked by the acquaintance between Keith and Danuta that establish links (at times between excerpts positioned extremely far apart) bridging the two diasporic waves. Keith’s reflections and feelings toward his personal and family history are often echoed by Danuta’s character. In the previously mentioned flashback, he recalls visiting his father, Earl, in the mental asylum where he was hospitalized for five years and being shocked at the sight of this silent man staring “out into the garden. . . . [H]e didn’t understand what the man was staring at” (2010, 86). Later, this is connected with Danuta’s enigmatic silences: “I am happy with silence. Unlike you English, I do not have to talk to fill in the silence” (2010, 102). Earl’s and Danuta’s behavior could be construed through Dave Gunning’s reflections on the role of silence in some novels on undocumented migrants. Even though neither Earl nor Danuta was/is undocumented, their refusal to speak may be conceived of as a sort of defense. Being narrowly seen as determined by their basic needs for survival (work, food, etc.), they resort to silence to reject this “truncated” vision of their humanity, to defend their “deeper sense of personhood” (Gunning 2011, 145). As often happens in Phillips’s works, his style is lyrically evocative of his key issues. One example of this is to be found in Keith’s increasing curiosity about Danuta, which kindles and is experienced alongside his wish to know more about his father’s mental suffering and his own past: “[H]e realised that the girl held some kind of grip on his imagination, although he was too fatigued to try and fathom the source of his fascination” (Phillips 2010, 90). The alliteration significantly connects three key words for this novel, namely fascination (for Danuta), fathom (Keith’s reflections on his own past), and fatigue (caused by Keith’s existential crisis or in Danuta by her deprivations). Keith’s curiosity is expressed through an increasing concern. When he says bluntly, “Look, I’m not weird or anything. I’m just concerned. I care,” she replies, “Why should you care? Who are you to care?” (2010, 98). Keith cannot find an answer to that question, not least because that would require speaking about the depths of his self and family probing, of which he is only partly aware. He resorts to secretly following her to the building where she works as a cleaner at night, imagining dangers ready to pounce on her: “[H]e imagines that the building has in some way swallowed her whole. Perhaps she is in danger, but he cannot leave the safety of the tree’s shadow and show himself” (2010, 100). This excerpt is highly symbolic of the situation in which Keith finds himself and as representative of some sectors of black Britain: torn between the urge to care, to help these new diasporic waves, and the lure of safety, of being satisfied with one’s established privileges. Again, Phillips’s lyrical penchant is evident: the sentence is dotted by a series of sibilant sounds that reinforce Keith’s secrecy and culminate in the alliterative

[8.30]

[8.31]

Pietro Deandrea

opposition shadow and show, which embodies Keith’s dilemma both thematically and phonetically. Keith’s ambivalent attitude leads to the conclusion of his meetings with Danuta. Shortly afterward, he withdraws from his concern, calling it “his unbecoming obsession” (2010, 105). The use of this adjective is indicative of his awareness that he is further derailing the course of his life, after ending his marriage and jeopardizing his job because of two sexual relationships. His wife warns him that his recent affair has been made public by his dumped and embittered colleague: “I don’t want you making a fool of yourself. . . . People look up to you. For heaven’s sake, don’t let some desperate girl drag your name through the mud” (2010, 113–14). All these feelings build up to Keith’s rejection of Danuta when she asks for his hospitality in order to escape her flatmate and colleague Rolf (who is in unrequited love with her). At first, Keith still wants to care for her, describing her as a sort of epitome of British new slaveries: “Strangely enough, he simply wants to protect her, for she suddenly appears to be painfully young and liable to be exploited” (2010, 144). Then, once again, he withdraws into a self-defending posture: “[H]e reminds himself that he owes her nothing, and that he can’t risk unmooring his life for her” (2010, 146). When advised that she should leave in the morning, she goes without saying a word. Keith feels relieved: “She has gone. The problem is solved, and he knows that she will not come back and ask him for any help. She has gone” (2010, 148). This marks the end of their friendship. Danuta does not appear in the last 182 pages of the novel—that is to say the second half of the book. On the whole, she occupies only forty-one pages—less than 13 percent of the total. Some days later, Rolf comes to Keith’s to look for her, claiming that she has stolen all his money and that she has a husband and three children back in Poland. While saying that Danuta is not a respectable woman, he adds something about himself: he was a rough sleeper in England before finding a job on a building site, to which he had to add a cleaning job to make ends meet: “[T]hen I get a room. A room with a divan, and I wash, cook, eat in this one room, but this is not civilised even if it is how the English do it. Then I must get a second job as a cleaner to pay for the stinking room. . . . [N]ow she is gone. I have only my clothes but why should the English police care for what one foreigner does to another foreigner? She is probably somewhere in Poland with her family, so what are your English police going to do? I will tell you the truth, English attitudes disappoint me. Do you know what it is like to stand in a shop with money in your pocket and discover that nobody wants to serve you? Telling with their eyes before you are even asking for anything? Do you know what this is like or how it feels?” The man points to his head. “Can you imagine this?” (2010, 209–10, emphases mine)

DRAFT

[8.32]

[8.33]

[8.34]

DRAFT

British New Slaveries in The Other Hand and In the Falling Snow

[8.35]

At this point in the novel, readers are left with some suggestions about globalization’s underprivileged migrants (including yet another example of the difficulty of establishing interpersonal solidarity among them), whereas Keith is relieved that Danuta did not steal his things, too, at one point thinking (hoping?) that she genuinely liked him (2010, 211, 213). And then, as said earlier, British new slaveries disappear from the novel. The rest of it is centered around the family crisis concerning Keith’s son and especially the deterioration of Keith’s father’s health, with his long, touching monologue before dying in a hospital bed. Danuta’s and Rolf’s quantitatively limited presence led many critics to downplay, if not completely neglect, their significance for the book and therefore the intricate relationship between the black British diaspora and later migrations. Tournay-Theodotou considers Danuta as simply further evidence of the postracial, class-oriented conflict pervading the novel and today’s Britain (2016, 55–56). In his wider perspective, McLeod does stress the book’s importance for the “polycultural and international frame” of black writing in Britain but does not mention the international echoes represented by Danuta and Rolf (2010, 47). I find this surprising, especially in light of the fact that Phillips’s popularity lies in, among other things, the (transhistorically) international breadth of his plots. Bénédicte Ledent points to a crucial element for this chapter when she writes that Danuta’s sudden disappearance is symptomatic of the “growing complexity” of Phillips’s writing; to her mind, this indicates that In the Falling Snow should not be seen as simply a development of the Caribbean experience in Britain “but that it bespeaks a form of maturity whereby the strictly English-Caribbean divide . . . is being questioned and yet remains central to his imagination” (2015, 90). I pursue Ledent’s observation by arguing that, textually, the presence of Danuta and Rolf keeps reverberating in Keith’s father’s memories and Laurie’s troubles. To be more precise, they reverberate subtextually, as the following paragraphs show, because Keith makes no more open references to them. Against the narrator’s manifest preoccupations and leaving aside any question regarding authorial intention, readers are left to trace the connections and take cognizance of the fact that the overall scenario linking postwar black Britain with today’s issues cannot exclude British new slaveries. Keith’s father used to work as a cleaner in the university of the northern town where he lived, and this is the first parallel with Danuta’s situation in Britain. But Earl’s deathbed monologue starts from an earlier period: from the frustrations, hopes, and expectations surrounding his life in Jamaica and departure for England in 1960. In England, he suffered two nervous breakdowns, with two long spells in hospitals; according to the white British Brenda—Earl’s former partner and the woman who raised Keith as a mother—they “changed him, both times, from a quiet man who used to read all the time, and who kept himself to himself, into a depressed and anxious man.

[8.36]

[8.37]

[8.38]

Pietro Deandrea

DRAFT

But the doctors told me that’s the risk with the shock treatment” (Phillips 2010, 190). Keith recalls Brenda saying to him that “England had hurt his head” (2010, 221). What emerges for the first time in Earl’s final monologue is how that hurt developed. He describes the racist attitudes and rejections experienced in England (and their bottling up) as the root cause of his malaise: I know then, right then at the start, that serious pressure reach my head because my mind don’t understand what my eyes looking upon, but I have to keep this worry lock up inside of me so nobody can tell what it is that I feeling. . . . [E]ven before I get off the boat I looking at this new place and I feel my heart pounding, for what I looking down upon don’t make no sense, and the hurting in my head begin right there. (2010, 271)

[8.39]

His first English experiences, predictably, did not help to alleviate his suffering: “Lord man, I’m in a place where people give me a form to fill out and then ask me if I can read, and on the bus they prefer to stand rather than sit down next to me. I travel all this way for what? . . . A West Indian can’t afford to be sensitive and decent in a country like this” (2010, 293). Things reached a point of no return after Earl’s best friend Ralph was beaten up and killed by a gang of racist thugs. One year later, Earl took Brenda out to an Indian restaurant for their first date, and he received a cold welcome from the staff:

[8.40]

I don’t want no reminder of my friend because the police still don’t prosecute anybody and every time I think of Ralph my head hurt like hell and the voices start up again. . . . I can hear the voices in my head making all kind of loud noise and so I just lean over and push the rice bowl on to the floor and watch it break into pieces and Brenda stop talking, but everybody else in my head still talking, including Ralph, who is talking the loudest. (2010, 313–15)

[8.42]

Comparing Earl’s monologue on his racial suffering with Rolf’s complaint, caused by what Ambalavaner Sivanandan calls “xeno-racism” (2001, 2), the similarities are manifold: they recognizably share a frustration at the lack of civilization, at the indifference and hostility of the natives and of institutions, and at the effect of all this on one’s mind (besides the similarity between the names Rolf and Ralph). As for Danuta, her praise and practice of silence are very likely to be interpreted as an analogous impossibility to come to terms with reality, just like Earl’s lifelong, silent withdrawal before the eruption of his final monologue. Thanks to this speech, Keith discovers the real stuff that his father’s suffering was made of: that Keith’s mother, with whom he spent the first, half-forgotten five years of his life, was Ralph’s sister; therefore, the victim of that racist attack was his uncle. In other words, Keith is the embodi-

[8.43]

[8.41]

DRAFT

British New Slaveries in The Other Hand and In the Falling Snow

ment of that black British history of racism and rejection. He recalls that his mother’s partner, too, would [8.44]

promise his mother that one day they would get out of this one room and start living like English people until, that is, the morning when he discovered dogshit smeared all over the bottles of milk on the doorstep. . . . [Keith’s] world began to go quiet and maybe it’s this sudden silence, which fell on him like a heavy blanket and smothered the light and life from his world, which accounts for the fact that to this day he has no clear memories of his mother. (Phillips 2010, 220)

[8.45]

Keith is the product of this silence, as he acknowledges also in relation to his father, “His father’s silence has meant that his son has never been able to properly explain himself to anybody” (2010, 285). Not surprisingly, as the novel progresses, a crucial question imposes itself: What kind of Britain was formed with the coming of black Britain? Earl’s friend Baron explicitly asks Keith, “Look at us. The sons of Empire. The men who came to this country to make life better for ourselves. What have we got to be proud about, aside from the fact that we’re still alive? Have we made this country a better place for you? You can be honest and tell me, have we?” (2010, 196). Through Keith’s self-probing, this issue embraces the most recent migrations to Britain. Baron’s question echoes in Keith’s mind some twenty pages later in a conversation with Annabelle on the topic of their son’s problems, significantly spurred by the hateful image of Margaret Thatcher: “The more I think about it the more I wonder about this place. . . . I mean, Britain. It’s not like it’s done a lot for Laurie” (2010, 218). Caught between his father’s generation and his son’s difficult present, it is immediately obvious that Keith identifies Britain’s shortcomings with his dissatisfaction with his own role in it: “I’m so bored with myself, and fed up with what’s become of my life” (2010, 219). I see the textual (or subtextual) threads highlighted here as directing this key question to include British new slaveries: What has been done to make Britain a better country—by Earl’s generation and by Keith’s, too—in relation to both young people like Laurie and new migrants like Danuta and Rolf? 10 The ending of the novel adds further significance to the question lingering in the protagonist’s mind. Earl is dead, and Keith goes back to Annabelle and Laurie’s house in London. Suddenly, Laurie’s problems seem solved, and Annabelle seems keen to let Keith move back into their family house. Keith’s life then looks ready to be resettled onto its safe tracks. However, his restlessness and disquietude are not placated. Firstly, he does not tell Annabelle of Earl’s death (“Nothing. I just wanted to come back”), as if the silence characterizing his family and personal history (his father’s, mother’s, and Danuta’s silence) still worked on him. He is described as feeling “like a stranger in his own bedroom” (2010, 328). Thus, the novel’s ending is left

[8.46]

Pietro Deandrea

DRAFT

open. Ledent rightly observes that Phillips “in all his texts steers clear of a sense of closure” (2015, 92). In the case of this novel, it is as if that crucial question concerning today’s Britain were still hanging suspended in Keith’s mind, troubling him and preventing any sort of full appeasement. CONCLUSION: SYNCHRONIC AND DIACHRONIC PERSPECTIVES

[8.47]

In After Empire, Gilroy warns against the lack of historical depth around migration issues: “[F]ascination with the figure of the migrant must be made part of Europe’s history rather than its contemporary geography” (2004a, 165). However, Mishra complains of the opposite tendency: he describes globalization as the Achilles heel of diaspora criticism, not least because too many diasporists “have been able to paint a complex picture of the breaks between displaced populations on the historical horizon . . . [but] seldom has this occurred in relation to the contradictions that haunt each dimension of the discourse on the synchronic plane” (Sudesh 2006, 153–54). Both warnings are well founded, and both are echoed in Phillips’s novel. In the Falling Snow paints a picture where both diasporic perspectives—the diachronic and the synchronic—are conveyed. A pivotal (albeit sometimes unaware) and contradictory character, Keith Gordon offers crucial connections between Danuta and Rolf and, on one hand, Earl’s Windrush generation and, on the other hand, Laurie’s twenty-first-century multicultural Britain. Keith embodies the divide between black Britain and British new slaveries while showing readers illuminating glimpses about what they share—both historically and in our present times. By doing so, he brings to light how the inclusion of British new slaveries in the area of diaspora studies is certainly problematic, given the elusiveness produced by new slaves’ pervasive fragmentation (embodied, in this chapter, by Little Bee’s outlook in Cleave’s novel) and the unresolved tensions generated by their encounter with the more established black British diaspora. At the same time, Keith’s anxiety and restlessness demonstrate the urgency of a diasporic approach to British new slaveries, together with a reappraisal of the confines of diaspora studies.

[8.48]

NOTES

[8.50]

1. Until March 2015, Britain lacked a modern slavery bill, and when it was finally passed, it was criticized for its many shortcomings by experts in the field (Skrivankova 2015, 3). Only two months later, new criminalizing immigration policies were announced by the British government (Wintour 2015). 2. While postcolonial studies are my main research area, in my work on British new slaveries, my postcolonial paradigms require the establishment of a critical dialogue with other theoretical areas, such as Holocaust studies. Moreover, it is important to reflect on the fact that

[8n1]

[8.49]

[8n2]

DRAFT

[8n3] [8n4]

[8n5] [8n6] [8n7]

[8n8] [8n9]

[8n10]

British New Slaveries in The Other Hand and In the Falling Snow British new slaveries tend to stretch the accepted boundaries of postcolonial studies because many “new slaves” (and the authors writing about them) do not come from former British colonies (Deandrea 2015, 14–18, 187–94). I also consider the present chapter in a crossdisciplinary way, given its analysis of British new slaveries from the perspective of diaspora studies. 3. For a study of these works, see Deandrea (2015, 33–48). 4. As for the critical edge, in the same year, something similar is identified by Rebecca Walsh when introducing a journal issue devoted to the topic. The study of diasporas, she writes, is “frequently inseparable from the study of postcolonialism and imperialism in its various forms,” and their intersection is productive “for destabilizing hierarchical, cultural, economic, and political arrangements” (2003, 2). 5. The idea that economic migrants who escape conditions of extremely restricted opportunities should also be considered diasporic has been shared by an increasing number of scholars (Di Maio 2010, 85). 6. For an analysis of the novel, see Deandrea (2015, 66–76). 7. Marina Lewycka’s novel Two Caravans (2007) represents the one notable exception to the general picture described earlier (and the only humorous novel around the topic): the book centers on a community composed of (exploited) agricultural workers from Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Far East. 8. For example, in Bola Agbaje’s play Detaining Justice, the black British Home Office clerk becomes the ruthless oppressor of the detained migrant (Agbaje 2009, 241). 9. Incidentally, Keith’s involvement with racial and cultural issues is not limited to Britain because, after the end of an affair with one of his colleagues, he is forced to go on leave and therefore devotes himself to his longtime project of writing a book on black music, entailing reflections that move the book into a wider, “Black Atlantic” sphere (see Ward 2011). 10. See also the ambiguous beginning of part III (Phillips 2010, 123), where Keith is described as standing by the gate of the school: Is it Danuta’s language school? Laurie’s name comes up only some lines later, clarifying the ambiguity. The novel is aptly composed of this kind of deft subtle hinting at the connections between these different categories of people. More generally, in this complex network of connections spun by Phillips, I perceive the echo of Étienne Balibar’s warning about exploited migrants representing a general, impending phenomenon of “regression of citizenship . . . an increased vulnerability of all workers” (2004, 41).

DRAFT

Chapter Nine

Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives Karen D’Souza

[9.0]

[9.1]

Whether in the real world or the fictional, diaspora is clearly a dynamic and evolving space and one that alludes to numerous political and literary histories of belonging. It might be that we are indeed “living through a period of heightened interconnection,” as Susan Stanford Friedman suggests, but her critique of the “new migration” illustrates how the term functions to entrench both old and new binaries (2009, 7). Yet, while Friedman is productively concerned with how women’s diasporic writing can tease out elements that are frequently suppressed by the various dichotomies of the West and its others, my reading of Kamila Shamsie’s Salt and Saffron (2000) and Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2003) examines more closely how women are written into transnational spaces and what that reveals about diaspora, that is, to determine the conditions that impinge on gender and the permissible modes of interaction. My analysis of these novels, while attentive to material conditions, registers the discursive positioning of women as migrant subalterns and determines how literature responds to and differentiates the effects of diasporic experience. By invoking subalternity as a discursive and fluid concept—rather than a fixed socioeconomic category—in order to privilege individual experience within the specificity of the transnational location, I offer a critique that questions the diasporic dynamic as a constant referral to the mythically homogenized past. As diaspora has become an increasingly invoked but simultaneously diversified frame of reference, it is inevitably in danger of unhelpful dilutions and pollutions to its signification. The ensuing debates that claim its provenance, along with a profusion of definitions to prevent such seepage, are well rehearsed and can be constructive. Certainly, as a critical space, diaspora has

Karen D’Souza

become a valuable domain in which to examine migrant, postcolonial, and transnational experience. Yet, the contingent questions of nationality and citizenship similarly dwell within the conditionality of the multicultural and intercultural and contribute to a contentious relationship between space and place. 1 As the growing field of diaspora studies argues for a diverse and complex web of critical tensions, it is some solace to find that “almost everyone seems to agree that diaspora, in its most basic sense, refers to a scattering of peoples who are nonetheless connected by a sense of a homeland, imaginary or otherwise,” as Lily Cho asserts (2007, 12). Despite its intended generality, such statements do have some currency, but I move within its parameters to offer an understanding that retains an awareness of specific histories and the evocations of a homeland and one that also considers how figurations of diaspora might be foregrounded as negotiations of the interrelationship between geographic and cultural spaces. Therefore, rather than attempt to further define diaspora(s) in any material or ostensibly objective way, I consider the subjective conditionality of women that is marked by particular histories of displacement while alert to issues of mobility. I suggest here that the affective entanglements of a diasporic consciousness both inhere a sense of enforced separation from place and embrace the optimism of voluntary migration. Though the transnational spaces depicted in the two fictional works examined accrue from postcolonial perspectives, Salt and Saffron is distinguished by its cosmopolitanism and Brick Lane by its affinities with black British writing. It seems pertinent, then, to consider the gendered diasporic condition in ways that draw on established elements of postcolonial feminism while maintaining an awareness of its limitations with regard to the specificities involved in the different spaces. The critical move from diaspora as an object of analysis to the recognition of a diasporic imaginary allows for fruitful insights within the fields of both social sciences and humanities. Yet, there remains a certain conundrum in literary approaches to diaspora contingent on the transnational turn, as it is an approach that brings both enabling tropes and possible fractures. Paul Jay notes how, in the humanities, there have been historically a number of paradigms for “studying literature in a transnational framework”—commonwealth studies, comparative literature, postcolonial studies—but each of these impose attendant restrictions. He also notes that, since the late 1990s, “discourses of multiculturalism, border studies, diaspora studies, and cosmopolitanism” have been called on to establish a transnational approach to literary studies that enables us to think in global rather than national contexts (Jay 2010, 5). By complicating the dominance of nationalist paradigms, transnationalism has focused attention on forms of cultural production that take place in liminal spaces, between real and imagined borders. As an interpretive framework, however, transnationalism is not without its critics. Rashmi Varma is among those calling for a new politics for reading literature,

DRAFT

[9.2]

DRAFT

[9.3]

[9.4]

Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives

claiming it should be repoliticized and territorialized rather than placed in the transnational realm (see Varma 2012). Yet, as transnationalism refers to a condition of in-betweenness, flexibility, nonidentification, and mobility and, as Donald Pease notes, it frequently “bears the traces of the violent sociohistorical processes to which it alludes” (2011, 5), it seems an apt point of entry to the diasporic. The observation by Jay that cosmopolitanism and diaspora studies have each been called on to inform a transnational approach also seems to indicate a move that might foster narrowly conceived and perhaps competing paradigms that are limiting and reductive rather than attendant to the connections and distinctions between cosmopolitan and diasporic spaces. To address this, I advocate readjusting the conceptual paradigm to which Jay alludes so as to understand how particular imbrications of the transnational with the postcolonial point to the specificities of diasporic and cosmopolitan imaginaries. While Brick Lane and Salt and Saffron individually challenge the generic markers of the postcolonial novel, a comparative reading that registers their commonalties and divergences as transnational texts illuminates particular fault lines of diaspora that are manifest in the intersections of various global trajectories. Brick Lane and Salt and Saffron differ in terms of specific geographic and social affiliations, but both bear the traces of violent sociohistorical processes imposed by British colonialism. Nevertheless, they are concerned with motifs of mobility and displacement and the criss-crossings of inward and outward journeys, both real and imagined, material and psychological, that affect elaborations of voice and silence and thus bear insightful comparison. Using these texts, I situate an analysis of diaspora at the intersection of the national and transnational and also examine how, as a concept, it usefully conflates or collapses questions of multiculturalism with those of cosmopolitanism, enabling new considerations of gender and culture. As Robert Spencer notes, cosmopolites are perhaps not unfairly “viewed as freefloating and ethereal creatures” (2011, 2), and the mobility of the younger generation in Shamsie’s novel contrasts in this respect with the economically deprived characters of Brick Lane, whose sense of entrapment within discrete and segregated spaces of multicultural Britain is conveyed. Yet Spencer argues for cosmopolitanism as an “intellectual, moral and political process” and one that is concerned with a “system of trans-national relationships embodied in structures and institutions” (2011, 6). For this reason, I suggest that, as both novelists seek to address the “moral and political dimensions of the postcolonial situation” (Spencer 2011, 7), they raise similar concerns with regard to the methodologies of diaspora studies. Within this swirling milieu of diasporic contexts and considerations, the individuated stories of women are often lost, the distinctions of conditionality and experience frequently subsumed within the “main” event, of race, ethnicity, faith, or nation. So, this develops further understanding of inter-

Karen D’Souza

secting claims and contingencies that press on women as they interact with the transnational spheres. While avoiding any reading of the texts as social documentary, I suggest they provide an archive of experience that may indeed be singular but also resonant of wider significances for a gendered diaspora. The two novels are certainly rich and multilayered with regard to postcolonial and transnational themes. Salt and Saffron is resonant with the culturally disruptive effects of British colonial policy, which results in the Dard-e-dil family’s division and dispersal to Pakistan, India, and Britain; in Brick Lane colonial legacies bear on the migrant’s relationship with the metropolitan center, as depicted, for example, by Chanu’s entrapment between professional failure and his increasing desire for return. The historicizing of transnational experience underpins the present concerns of the central female characters, but their narratives are given substance by the array of complex cameos that contribute to overall meaning. As such, the themes covered and issues raised allude to “new migration[s],” specific colonial histories, both Western and non-Western diasporic configurations and intergenerational structures (Friedman 2009, 7). Within such contexts, it is pertinent to register how women, as traveling subalterns, experience being out of place. The focus on gendered stagings of silence in transnational narratives— resonant with multiplicities of space—by necessity creates a dialogue between voice and the dynamics of agency, which is a conventional concern of (postcolonial) feminist critiques. Gayatri Spivak (1994) claims that the female subaltern cannot speak, arguing for the impossibility of an autonomous voice. This foreclosure of possibility by Spivak is provocatively limiting, but she usefully complicates the locations of voice, noting its determinations within the hegemonic discourses that effectively undermine apparent acts of agency. Her disavowal of voice consciousness is later recast in terms of the failure of speech rather than its absence, and while this change in emphasis is subtle, it registers the mediating, and thus silencing, role of interpretive frameworks. Yet Spivak’s focus on voice as autonomy overlooks the conditions of silence that might signal a richer source of engagement: how silence interacts with voice rather than being purely oppositional. Spivak’s assertions also seem to neglect the counterpoints of voice and silence as they emerge within the specificities and conflations of culture with space and place. However, a more nuanced understanding of agency might be acknowledged in the gendered, diasporic figure by drawing on concepts that moderate the poststructuralist constructions of the self. Gabriela Basterra’s (2010) conceptualization of “auto-heteronomy” and the practice of “reading otherwise” can be used to resituate Spivak’s model of the female subaltern to determine how voice and silence may be differentiated by multiple cultural affiliations mediated through temporal and spatial locations. Without the space to rehearse Basterra’s argument here in full, I briefly allude to her

DRAFT

[9.5]

DRAFT

[9.6]

[9.7]

Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives

point: “Freedom and autonomy, [are] the principles that constitute the subject of modern liberal politics” (Basterra 2010, 109). In arguing that Levinas seeks to “signify an ethical event that exists beyond representation through the impact it has on the subject constituted by that event” (Basterra 2010, 111), her intervention into notions of subjectivity is useful to a consideration of cultures and individuals who intersect or interact with Western liberal ethics of being. I suggest that both Ali and Shamsie explore how dominant notions of freedom and autonomy might be revealed as illusory or falsely celebrated when inscriptions of self-discovery fail to register the specific modes of (re)settlement. The conditions of possibility for the (self-)representation of the subaltern figure have of course proven problematic and contingent on the intersection of local, national, and global structures. Spivak has long since alerted us as to how the subaltern figure is gendered and is simultaneously inserted into and marginalized within national cultures that have been complicated by the experience of colonialism, the continuing effects of which are manifest in both the postcolonial nation and the metropolitan center—and between these two spheres, the critical and material space of diaspora resides. Through waves of immigration and flows of globalized capitalism, in essence, the traffic between the two continues with a series of spatial reversals whereby the contentious relationship between what has been couched as tradition and modernity becomes more vexed for the gendered subaltern. The community formations of elsewhere that make up the diasporic culture require, as Avtar Brah notes, to be “understood in terms of historically contingent ‘genealogies’” (1996, 180). Brah argues that the “concept of diaspora offers a critique of discourses of fixed origins, while taking account of a homing desire” (1996, 180). While Brick Lane and Salt and Saffron exemplify this creative tension, Ali and Shamsie restage the notion of a nationally rooted gendered subaltern through a negotiation of diverse transnational spaces, which ultimately destabilizes the concept of home as a constant “mythic place of desire” (Brah 1996, 192). Salt and Saffron foregrounds the shared history of Pakistan and India while also negotiating a specific contemporary Pakistani identity and its interaction with global structures. The novel’s setting moves between Karachi and London and is narrated by the protagonist, Aliya, a member of the Dard-e-Dils, an elite Pakistani family with an aristocratic lineage. Storytelling is a motif in the novel that functions thematically at both personal and national levels, as Aliya relates her own contemporary story interwoven with tales about her ancestors in a manner that mythologizes the family and constitutes the Dard-e-Dil identity. Shamsie foregrounds notions of voice and silence as Aliya seeks to construct the story of her absent aunt, Mariam Apa, who eloped with the family cook, Masood. Aliya’s attempts to understand this transgressive “love-marriage”—which subverts not only the rigid class

Karen D’Souza

hierarchies but also the cultural codes devolved from the practices of purdah and arranged marriage—are problematized by her own desire for the socially inferior Khaleel, an American Pakistani she meets in the symbolically void space of a flight from the United States to London. Gendered agency here is operative through sexual desire—which is ostensibly conventional in its affirmation of heterosexual romance—but the cultural constituency in which these attractions develop in fact thwart dominant hegemonies. The setting of Brick Lane similarly moves between the postcolonial nation and transnational space, interweaving the stories of two sisters and their experiences of marriage viewed through the prism of cultural orthodoxies. As the third-person narrative focalizes the experience of the “exiled,” London-based Nazneen, the complementary voice of Hasina, conveyed in her letters, presents a mode of female experience that seemingly pits agency against fate. In contrast to Nazneen’s arranged marriage, Hasina’s elopement is an obvious and serious transgression but might be seen to register an enactment of will. The string of unsuitable attachments that follow the breakdown of this marriage are counterpointed by the clandestine relationship on which Nazneen embarks with the politically active, British-born Bangladeshi Karim. While the novel schematically contrasts a love-marriage with a conventionally arranged marriage, it resists the possibility of easy resolutions, as the protagonist’s affirmation of self ultimately lies outside either orthodox or transgressive heterosexual unions. Within postcolonial paradigms, maps and mapping are frequently deployed motifs, and Shamsie and Ali both delineate the historical and geographical constructions of the contemporary nation and its global connections. Yet, the singular authority of maps suppresses myriad small histories and diverse journeys; as J. Edward Mallot observes, “maps generally tell single stories, alternative versions of a past are either ignored or erased” (2007, 262). The allegorical connections between family and national history that inform the narrative of Salt and Saffron articulate Mallot’s point that “to draw a map anew—as in the case of the quickly determined, hastily arranged partition of 1947—is to visually wipe away a particular ‘past’” (2007, 262). As such, maps uphold dominant accounts that seek to silence the complementary and fragmented archives that may be embedded in the dialogic processes of narrative. Through their fiction, Shamsie and Ali enrich the historical and geographical detail by charting (as a work in progress) the possibilities and the points of limitation for the gendered, traveling subaltern within the transnational space that complicate the narratives of migrant experience. For Spivak, subalterns are recognizable through their silence: Salt and Saffron’s Aliya, a cosmopolitan elite, is unable to “speak” outside hegemonic discourses in a manner reminiscent of Brick Lane’s Nazneen, whose status as an impoverished immigrant might render her more identifiably subaltern.

DRAFT

[9.8]

[9.9]

DRAFT

Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives

Yet, finally, both women strike a note of self-conscious resistance as they each register the gendered silences in the dominant narratives of home. [9.10]

READING SILENCES

[9.11]

Mariam’s silence in Salt and Saffron is complex and enigmatic, as it offers the potential for exploring the different forms of communication that function beyond or in place of speech as dialogue. The culturally specific nature of silence is revealed in the various ways it is (un)acknowledged or interpreted accordingly. Despite her silence, Mariam has ways of endearing herself to the extended family and complies with the cultural expectations of gender. Aliya recounts how, on first meeting the estranged Mariam, the warmth of her mother’s reaction to Mariam Apa’s smile “was so overwhelming that whole minutes went by before my father realized that Mariam Apa hadn’t said a word” (2001, 55). I follow Muneeza Shamsie, who points out that Mariam Apa’s silence and complete social inclusion “because she has a lovely smile and is a good listener—says much about gender roles in Pakistan” (2009, 150). Mariam speaks only to Masood, and only then to order food, as she had done from the moment she first encountered him. Within minutes of her arrival, she addresses Masood in Urdu to order Ami’s favorite meal of “Aloo ka bhurta, achaar gosh, pulao, masoor ki daal, kachooma” (2001, 56). Masood’s culinary skills exist as a language of communication between the otherwise-silent Mariam Apa and the cook for nearly twenty years. In effect and affect, this process of communication becomes a means of transcending the social barriers between the couple within a highly structured hierarchical culture. They renegotiate the domestic space while avoiding rejection by the extended family. Food, as a catalyst to consolidate both erotic and social relationships, is emphasized throughout the text. In a novel concerned with past familial and national divisions triggered by partition and reflected through a cosmopolitan purview, the lavish descriptions of family meals that punctuate the narrative at various moments of crisis or celebration, the arrivals and departures, are engraved as memories of home and culture. During Ramadan, Masood customarily shoos all but Mariam from the kitchen, warning, “If you smell my food you will be so overcome by temptation” (2001, 75). The sensuous culmination of Masood’s cooking is, however, achieved through his collaborations with Mariam Apa; fittingly, the novel concludes with a succulent meal sent by the exiled lovers as Aliya introduces lowerclass Khaleel to her family. In Brick Lane, the silences are staged through the correspondence between Nazneen and her sister, Hasina, who lives in Bangladesh. The letters construct an important counternarrative that informs the diasporic London

[9.12]

[9.13]

Karen D’Souza

setting. While there are problems attendant on Ali’s stylistic device here— and this point has already been widely debated—there is some currency in reading the letters as a productive strategy that anchors Nazneen’s experience within the rhetoric of postcolonial identity and gendered resistance. 2 It seems productive to consider the letters as fully integral to readings of diasporic experience and also perhaps to understand the letter as “metaphor for the self” within the distancing and mediating nature of its place in fiction (see Campbell 1995, 336). Indeed, Hasina’s letters may be accounted for within a particular mode of agency, but it is a journey of self-discovery that remains inward and thus comparable to that of Mariam Apa in Salt and Saffron; it is one that negates the possibilities of social transformation. Hasina’s letters create a space of possibility for the subaltern figure to know and speak herself, yet the foreclosure of voice consciousness is affirmed by her inability comprehensively to recognize the poignancy of her own words. For example, Hasina describes how her second husband is very pleased with her and goes on to say, “He have me sit in bed and put my hair in certain way over one shoulder. . . . But light is never right. . . . It hard for him not to get angry he trying to make something perfect. Sometime he say my face have change and he tell me to change it back but I soothe and he is quiet again” (Ali 2003, 143, italics in original). Elizabeth Campbell notes the significance of letter writing as a frequently used device in fictional depictions of postcolonial societies, where “women have been doubly oppressed, from outside by a chauvinistic imperialism and from within by a patriarchy which itself has felt oppressed by outside forces” (1995, 332). Brick Lane is not an epistolary novel, but the letters are significant and do indeed act as psychological motivators on characters in the narrative. Also, as Alistair Cormack points out, the letters convey a “world beyond the reach of the voice that represents Nazneen’s thoughts and experiences in London, so the letters that tell this story are presented unmediated by any metalanguage” (2006, 715). They also complete a family archive and a specifically gendered cultural history when Hasina finally reveals her long-held secret about her mother’s staged suicide: “At the end only she act. She who think all path is closed for her. She take the only one forbidden” (2003, 363). The fragmentary knowledge that Nazneen possesses about her mother is supplemented in a piecemeal fashion through the letters from “home.” The interplay of information from both past and present contained in Hasina’s letters, acknowledged alongside the omissions and the strategic hiatuses in the correspondence, affect Nazneen’s growing self-awareness and resistance to the family’s intended return to Bangladesh. There is, then, within a discourse of transformation, only a partial sense of self-discovery and in effect only a limited assertion of will by both Mariam and Hasina. The failure of voice in terms of self-knowledge and/or being heard merely endorses Spivak’s point about the failure of speech. The reason for Mariam’s silence remains a mystery, yet as Rajeswari Sunder Rajan

DRAFT

[9.14]

DRAFT

Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives

notes, “silence is not always a signifier of subalternity,” but the “subaltern condition is invariably characterized and often successfully represented . . . by silence” (1993, 85). Plotting and understanding women’s speech and silence are established enterprises within various strands of feminism, yet while cultural imperatives seek to silence women, as Rajan argues, the “counter to silence in the politics of representing silence cannot, or cannot only, be speech” (1993, 84). Perhaps here, Rajan alludes to a feminist politics in which speech is identified as agency and is contrasted with silence as selferasure. Conventionally then, speech and silence are closely bound up with notions of subject constitution, but the proviso that “silence and speech are never absolutely distinct categories” (Rajan 1993, 84) gestures toward more culturally nuanced determinations of agency. [9.15]

DIASPORIC SUBALTERNS

[9.16]

Shamsie’s Salt and Saffron provides a key point on a literary trajectory from the world of elite cosmopolitans to that of the subaltern migrant, and one that mirrors the evolution of Spivak’s changing focus regarding the materiality of the subaltern figure. While Salt and Saffron conveys the historically privileged social milieu of colonial India and its reconfiguration in the postcolonial nation and contemporary transnational spheres, Brick Lane offers a contrasting insight into the postcolonial subject that is afforded only a passing glimpse in the former novel. Reading Brick Lane alongside Salt and Saffron differentiates the structures that press on the immigrant and thus exacerbate rather than dissipate indigenous nationalist patriarchies. The novels reflect a time when, as Rashmi Varma notes, London is “simultaneously an asylum for the world’s beleaguered, an English city coming to terms with a post imperial world, the world’s capital city, and the cultural hub of an increasingly world culture” (2012, 160). Such material differences, reflected in the two novels, affect the diasporic condition, as elites are able to move through the world without restrictions, and thus any sense of dislocation is ameliorated and memory is less tinged with the sense of loss or rupture. It is worth noting some distinctions in the characteristics of Bangladeshi migration to Britain that illuminate the specificities of diasporic experience and thus register the imbrications of the material and the discursive aspects. The partition of British India ultimately produced three nations whose experience of state formation and national identity was accompanied by the mass movement of people displaced on grounds of ethnicity and religion (see Gillan 2002). The collective narrative of Bangladesh is further complicated by its religious and former national affiliations with Pakistan, alongside regional and cultural connections with neighboring provinces of India. The aggressive reaction of Pakistan to the Bengali demands for regional autono-

[9.17]

Karen D’Souza

DRAFT

my led to the exodus of more than nine million people into India. Consequently, patterns of regional displacement and migration have played a significant role in nation formation, affecting migrant identities and the social formations of diasporic communities. These are then further inflected by the constantly evolving relationships between the different migrant communities and British mainstream society. Notably, Indian migration to Britain followed soon after independence. These immigrants were mostly Hindu or Sikh and came from prosperous peasant areas, peppered also with a high percentage of people from the professional elite classes. Generally settling in prosperous parts of Britain, they gained a relatively high socioeconomic profile. While migration from Pakistan followed similarly, certain cultural differences had a notable effect on economic conditions and lived experience, as this group mainly relocated to industrial areas and were employed as unskilled workers. 3 Predominantly Muslim, they were reluctant about their wives and families being exposed to British culture, and the custom of purdah discouraged women from formal employment. The Bangladeshi community, portrayed in Brick Lane, shares many of these religious and cultural mores, but their arrival as part of a later wave of migration, in the 1970s and 1980s following independence from Pakistan, has a distinct effect on the diasporic formations, as these migrants were settled almost entirely in the impoverished district of Tower Hamlets in London. Evidently, the creation of the Bangladeshi nation complicates the regional narratives of Pakistani independence delineated in Salt and Saffron and likewise the dialogic relationship between the diasporic community and host nation. Ali reflects this through the construction of several characters in Brick Lane. For example, Karim’s sense of self is conditional and becomes increasingly destabilized by a particular set of competing notions of national and migrant identity. During the period of Bangladeshi migration into Britain, anti-immigration rhetoric was increasingly pitted against discourses of multiculturalism that called for tolerance and a recognition of how the nation was enriched by its ethnic diversity. However, the novel makes gestures toward the change of mood in the post-9/11 climate, whereby increasing Islamophobia legitimizes or takes the place of older forms of racism. Yet within the diasporic community, there remain conflicts of identity compounded by the narrative of nation formation. It is within this context that Karim struggles to assimilate his sense of being Bangladeshi, Muslim, and British. Statistics indicate that, among South Asian migrant communities, Bangladeshi segregation from the white population is the highest and also from that of other ethnicities (see Peach 1996, 224). The novel illuminates a number of factors that underline the sense of exclusion. Ali reflects how there was a desire by this recently established ethnic minority, largely from the Sylheti District, to cluster around religion and family networks. Ironically, and perhaps counterproductively, Bangladeshi immigrants “benefited”

[9.18]

DRAFT

[9.19]

Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives

from antiracist implementation of local authority housing policies, which in effect compounded their isolation. These variations in the patterns and experiences of migration from the subcontinent produce a set of corresponding differences in the everyday lives of migrant women in Britain. For example, Avtar Brah notes how the concerns of a recently arrived Bangladeshi woman living in council housing in East London are very different to those of the long-established community of Sikh women, a high proportion of whom are in paid work (1996, 68). Brick Lane is attentive to how patriarchal racism underpins the Asian women’s experience, as it intersects with racialized discourses and policies of the host nation. Brah’s aim to identify the ways in which these women are “channeling their specific oppressions in their own ways, and marking new cultural and political trajectories” (1996, 69) anticipates Nazneen’s negotiation of the diasporic space in Brick Lane. An awareness of the specificities of the Bangladeshi migrant community illustrates how the particular structures of belonging impinge on experience. In the novel, Brick Lane functions as a space that reveals the conditions of possibility as the structures that limit experience are recharted. This generates questions about the possibility of a transformative agency exercised by the “true” subaltern who functions on the margins of middle-class gendered spaces. The voice consciousness of Nazneen is neither fully articulate nor fully self-realized, but Ali’s construction of her character gestures toward a comprehensively envisioned agency when notions of autonomy are reconsidered within the complex cultural affiliations of the diasporic space.

[9.20]

FROM SILENCE TO VOICE?

[9.21]

To register the voice generated in the fiction, a qualified feminist approach is required as the local, national, and international practices converge to create specific circumstances that are contingent on Nazneen as she negotiates the liminal space of Brick Lane. Critical perspectives in postcolonial and diaspora studies based on materialist methodologies advertise the different configurations of migrancy and how experience is modified by class, nationality, gender, education, and race. The attention to historical specificity in this approach is also embraced by Spivak, but the privileging of textuality within her methodology determines its usefulness for considering diaspora as what Cho terms a “condition of subjectivity” (2007, 14). That imbrication of the concrete and the conceptual, the material and the textual, is usefully borne in mind when reading fiction. As Angelia Poon urges, it is imperative that postcolonial [and diasporic] approaches should not “compromise the specificity of literary discourse” nor “underestimate literature’s capacity for instigating social and political change” (2009, 428). Such a claim might suggest

Karen D’Souza

that it is not by any strident polemic but more through the interrogation of seemingly naturalized or internalized assumptions that literature has the potential to be transformative or resistant. It is perhaps also a reminder to be alert not only to the social text presented in the novel but also to how the text is always in dialogue with specific literary canons. Indeed, Poon examines the text for its claims to knowledge rather than for the more “standard question of where home might be for the migrant subject” (2009, 428). She suggests that Ali restages the problem in terms of coming to know one’s place in the world, so that the notion of “home” functions less as a physical place or as a memory but more a “(phantastical) state of epistemological certainty and full knowledge” (2009, 428). This “coming to know one’s place” might also be recast, in gendered terms, as a journey of selfdiscovery within the specific patriarchal discourses that seek to appropriate alternative spaces. That Ali charts rather than maps the growing consciousness of Nazneen alongside a parallel narrative of “home” illustrates the (im)possibilities for the gendered and diasporic subaltern. Brick Lane unearths the consciousness of those subaltern figures who have frequently featured as cameos or shadowy supporting roles in migrant fictions. Nevertheless, critics have been reluctant to locate female agency in the novel, as this occludes its more considered note of epistemic uncertainty (see Poon 2009). Michael Perfect concludes that the major concern of the novel is a celebration of integration, coupled with the “veneration of the potential for adaptation in both individuals and societies” (2008, 110). Perfect believes Nazneen’s final integration into British society identifies the novel as a “multicultural Bildungsroman” (2008, 110). Conceivably, the narrative conveys the protagonist’s gesture to claim her place, but whether that location is within mainstream British society remains hugely questionable. The novel strikes a positive note in that it presents a crucial renegotiation of the colonial relationship in its contemporary manifestation rather than portraying migrant experience as one of unrelenting alienation. In that respect, Brick Lane might invite comparison with Leila Aboulela’s Minaret (2006), which similarly stages its female protagonist, Najwa, relinquishing intimate relationships with men in favor of the more fulfilling bonds of a female community. Najwa is from an elite, secular Sudanese family but, following a series of reversals, is exiled in London and works as a maid. Without family or community connections, she finds the social freedoms of London spiritually vacuous. Like Nazneen, she finds comfort and escape from the alienating cityscape by embracing the religious traditions of her homeland. Yet in comparison, the withdrawal of Najwa in Minaret into a supportive but cloistered Muslim community of women at a local mosque casts Nazneen’s journey of selfdiscovery, and eventual commitment to London, as more socially engaged and thus transformative.

DRAFT

[9.22]

DRAFT

Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives

[9.23]

Both Brick Lane and Salt and Saffron call into question conventional critiques of globalization to unpick the cross-cultural currents that position the subaltern as object. Aliya and Nazneen signify the promise of change enabled by their revised understandings of the past and its relation to the present. Ali’s novel presents a critique of nationalist culture through the interplay of parallel narratives that illustrate how the tensions between tradition and modernity overlap and inform the sisters’ lives in various ways. While Hasina’s letters reveal that the overarching principles of purdah continue in Dhaka, the impact of globalization is manifest through the presence of corporate organizations and the international consumerism it fosters among the capital’s elites. In London, the structures of subcontinental society are sustained by an inward-looking community that is revealed as being ambivalent about its identity and self-representation. As in Salt and Saffron, to some extent London operates as a strangely neutral space in which the migrant engages with their own sense of national identity. Although Shamsie and Ali articulate concerns relating to national and migrant identities, it is remarkable that neither Aliya nor Nazneen directly encounter personal racial antagonisms, thus suggesting that the London context here functions differently to its counterpart in the novels of say, Hanif Kureishi and Zadie Smith or even Leila Aboulela. 4 Indeed, Shamsie has described the function of Britain and America in her novels as negligible and makes a comparison with “all those Empire novels that pretend to be about India or Africa but are only ever about England” (2002, 90). Rehana Ahmed asserts that this collapsing of racial hierarchies and the “disconnection of Britain from the Indian subcontinent . . . and the repression of their historical and economic relationship limit the potential for . . . political challenge” (2002, 25). Ahmed’s point acknowledges the dialogic qualities of Shamsie’s novel that are implicit in its negotiation of national social structures and that are more overtly registered in Brick Lane. The prism of transnational space intensifies the lens through which to examine the originary culture as it affects the diasporic condition. Each of the novels explores how the historical experience of colonialism overshadows the project of nation building in numerous ways and, significantly, offers critiques on how this affects women. More usefully, each moves the debate forward by problematizing the relationship between colonial history and the postcolonial nation through the introduction of differentiated constructions of transnational experience. Set within the context of national and family history, Aliya’s narrative presents a “voyage out” that is completed in parallel and through reading otherwise the story of the absent Mariam. In so doing, rather than being a mere “performer” of extant social text, Aliya takes possession of her own narrative, revising history in the process. She must resist the official (family) line in which Mariam has been recast as an imposter who, having arrived with no birth certificate to prove her Dard-eDil pedigree, exploited the goodwill of the family. While Mariam acts on her

[9.24]

Karen D’Souza

own desire, it is an action that consigns her to a space of exile, thus consolidating her silence. Aliya negotiates a less radical position while claiming a place within the family for her lower-class boyfriend (although his acceptability is to some extent made possible through his family’s migration to America). Nevertheless, she both challenges and complies with the cultural encodings, and her will is ultimately transformative. Brick Lane presents an account of migrant experience differentiated by social class, yet as in Salt and Saffron, it generates questions about the diaporic space and how London functions as a site of multicultural belonging. Nazneen, as an agent, emerges from within the migrant discourses that perpetuate fictions of “home” and “here” and gestures toward alternative models of attachment. The “clash of cultures,” repeatedly referred to as the “immigrant tragedy” by Nazneen’s husband, Chanu, is actually internalized by him in the form of a destructive ambivalence that challenges the celebratory hybridity frequently associated with Salman Rushdie and Homi Bhabha. 5 A similarly ambivalent impulse in Karim is shown in his hope to resolve this inner conflict through his attachment to Nazneen, who he perceives as the “real thing.” Nazneen is thus figuratively trapped between the oppositional “two types” of British Muslim women—the fully “westernised girl” and the argumentative “religious girl” (Ali 2003, 320). Karim’s tenets register the changing relationship between an evolving diaspora and the contemporary politics of the host society. The realization by Nazneen that the “immigrant tragedy” is in fact a specifically masculine one occurs when she comes to understand her daughter’s subversive act of walking in front of her father as less about being British and more about a rejection of patriarchy. This is an epiphany that is consolidated by the effect of Hasina’s final letter and the revealing of her mother’s ultimate (self-destructive) act against a “woman’s fate.” Nazneen’s resignation that “[t]here was no escape” (2003, 365) is paradoxically a marker of her agency. The effect for Nazneen is that a oncealien space is becoming a place endowed with its own particular structures of diasporic belonging. The negotiations of gendered silence by the two protagonists as they inhabit transnational spaces demonstrate particular ways of negotiating the intersecting of cultures through a practice of reading otherwise the cultural archives that are presented as patterns of presence and absence. A reading otherwise and resistance to the conventions of foreclosure registers the transformative gestures in both novels. However, Nazneen remains the more enigmatic figure and worthy of further speculation in terms of the diasporic condition. Her husband and her lover are representatives of different stages of a postcolonial trajectory, but the curious decision not to return “home” with her husband invites questions about diaspora and its relationships with “here” as much as “there.” How women are written into the diasporic space complicates what might be called a politics of interaction.

DRAFT

[9.25]

[9.26]

DRAFT

Gendered Silence in Transnational Narratives

[9.27]

NOTES

[9n1]

1. Here I follow John Thieme in drawing on Yi-Fu Tuan’s notion that “undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better and endow it with value” (see Thieme 2016, 1–15). 2. With regard to the critical reception of the letters, see, for example, Jane Hiddleston’s claims that the banality of the “stilted, pidgin style” of Hasina’s correspondence is baffling, as both sisters speak Bengali (2005, 63). Perhaps more helpfully, Alistair Cormack states that, without any account from the novel’s narrator, “it is hard to know exactly [whether] we are reading . . . inept attempts at English or . . . a free translation from illiterate Bengali” (2006, 715). A further common objection to the letters points to the crudity of the cultural information mediated through Hasina’s accounts of her life; Hiddleston claims the relentless descriptions of oppression reinforce Western stereotypical perceptions of the subordination of women in Islamic societies (2005, 62). 3. See Ceri Peach (1996, 2006) for a detailed breakdown and statistics regarding South Asian immigrant populations in Britain. 4. The point refers in particular to The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi (1990), White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000), and Minaret by Leila Aboulela (2006). 5. See, for example, Salman Rushdie (1991) and Homi Bhabha (1990). While their writing is of course critical of British colonialism and its continuing impact, their work argues for the potential for a positive migrant hybridity and an embrace of cultural diversity.

[9n2]

[9n3] [9n4] [9n5]

DRAFT

Bibliography

[D01.0] [D01.1] [D01.2] [D01.3] [D01.4] [D01.5] [D01.6] [D01.7] [D01.8] [D01.9] [D01.11] [D01.12] [D01.13] [D01.14] [D01.15] [D01.16] [D01.17] [D01.18] [D01.19]

Aboulela, Leila. 2006. Minaret. London: Bloomsbury. Achebe, Chinua. 1988. “What Has Literature Got to Do with It?” In Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays, 1965–1987, 154–70. London: Heinemann. Adelson, Leslie. 2005. The Turkish Turn in Contemporary German Literature: Toward a New Critical Grammar of Migration. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Agbaje, Bola. 2009. Detaining Justice. In Not Black and White, by Roy Williams, Kwame Kwei-Armah, and Bola Agbaje, 185–269. London: Methuen. Ahmed, Rehana. 2002. “Unsettling Cosmopolitanisms: Representations of London in Kamila Shamsie’s Salt and Saffron.” World Literature in English 40, no. 1: 12–28. ———. 2015. Writing British Muslims: Religion, Class and Multiculturalism. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. Ahmed, Rehana, Peter Morey, and Amina Yaqin, eds. 2012. Culture, Diaspora, and Modernity in Muslim Writing. New York: Routledge. Ahmed, Riz. 2016. “Airports and Auditions.” In The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla, 159–68. London: Unbound. Ahmed, Sara. 2000. Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality. London: Routledge. ———. 2004. “Not in the Mood.” New Formations 82, no. 1: 13–28. Ali, Monica. 2003. Brick Lane. London: Doubleday. ———. 2004. Brick Lane. London: Black Swan. ———. 2009. In the Kitchen: A Novel. New York: Scribner. Amberstone, Celu. 2004. “Refugees.” In So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, 161–82. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press. Ammons, Elizabeth. 2010. Brave New Words: How Literature Will Save the Planet. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. Anderson, Bridget. 1993. Britain’s Secret Slaves: An Investigation into the Plight of Overseas Domestic Workers. London: Anti-Slavery International and Kalayaan. Andrews, Kehinde. 2014. “Exhibit B, the Human Zoo, Is a Grotesque Parody—Boycott It.” Guardian, September 12, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/aug/11/-sp-exhibit-bhuman-zoo-edinburgh-festivals-most-controversial. Anthias, Floya. 1998. “Evaluating ‘Diaspora’: Beyond Ethnicity?” Sociology 32, no. 3: 557–80. Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Bibliography ———. 2000. “Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination.” Public Culture 12: 1–19. Appiah, Anthony. 2006. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York: W. W. Norton. Apraku, Eva. 2008. “Madonna, Blondie, Grandmaster Flash, HipHop, Graffiti, Breakdance: Wild Style-Regisseur Charlie Ahearn über New York 1982: Alle waren so neugierig aufeinander.” Berliner Zeitung, August 16. Arapoglou, Eleftheria, Mónika Fodor, and Jopi Nyman. 2014. Introduction. In Mobile Narratives: Travel, Migration, and Transculturation, edited by Eleftheria Arapoglou, Mónika Fodor, and Jopi Nyman, 1–14. New York: Routledge. Arias, Rosario. 2005. “‘All the World’s a Stage’: Theatricality, Spectacle and the Flaneuse in Doris Lessing’s Vision of London.” Journal of Gender Studies 14, no. 1: 3–11. Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. 2002. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures. London: Routledge. Assman, Jan. 1995. “Collective Memory and Cultural Identity.” New German Critique 65 (Spring): 125–33. ———. 2008. “Communicative and Cultural Memory.” In Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook, edited by Astrid Erll and Ansgar Nunning, 109–18. Berlin: de Gruyter. Balibar, Étienne. 2004. We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship. Translated by James Swenson. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Baronian, Marie-Aude, Stephan Besser, and Yolande Jansen. 2007. “Introduction: Diaspora and Memory: Figures of Displacement in Contemporary Literature.” In Diaspora and Memory: Figures of Displacement in Contemporary Literature, Arts and Politics, edited by Marie-Aude Baronian, Stephan Besser, and Yolande Jansen, 9–16. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Basterra, Gabriela. 2010. “Auto-Heteronomy, or Levinas’ Philosophy of the Same.” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 31, no. 1: 109–32. Beck, Ulrich. 2006. Cosmopolitan Vision. Cambridge: Polity. Ben Chikha, Chokri, and Karel Arnaut. 2013. “Staging/Caging ‘Otherness’ in the Postcolony: Spectres of the Human Zoo.” Critical Arts 27, no. 6: 661–83. Benessaieh, Afef. 2010. Transcultural America [Amériques transculturelles]. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. Benwell, Bethan, James Procter, and Gemma Robinson. 2011. “Not Reading Brick Lane.” New Formations 73, no. 1: 90–116. Bhabha, Homi K., ed. 1990. Nation and Narration. London: Routledge. ———. 1994. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge. Bhambra, Gurminder K. 2014. “Postcolonial and Decolonial Dialogues.” Postcolonial Studies 17, no. 2: 115–21. Blair, Ruth. 2007. “‘Transported Landscapes’: Reflections on Empire and Environment in the Pacific.” In Five Emus to the King of Siam: Environment and Empire, edited by Helen Tiffin, 85–111. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Blevins, Steven. 2016. Living Cargo: How Black Britain Performs Its Past. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Bozdag, Cigdem, and Johanna Möller. 2015. “Transkulturalität, Migration und Diaspora.” In Handbuch Cultural Studies und Medienanalyse, edited by Andreas Hepp, F. Krotz, S. Lingenberg, and J. Wimmer, 333–42. Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer Fachmedien. Brah, Avtar. 1996. Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities. London: Routledge. Branche, Jerome C. 2015. The Poetics and Politics of Diaspora: Transatlantic Musings. New York: Routledge. Braziel, Jana Evans. 2008. Diaspora: An Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Braziel, Jana Evans, and Anita Mannur, eds. 2003. Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Breger, Claudia. 2015. “Transnationalism, Colonial Loops, and the Vicissitudes of Cosmopolitan Affect: Christian Kracht’s Imperium and Teju Cole’s Open City.” In Transnationalism in Contemporary German-Language Literature, edited by Elisabeth Herrmann, Carrie SmithPrei, and Stuart Taberner, 106–24. Rochester, NY: Camden House.

DRAFT

[D01.20] [D01.21] [D01.22] [D01.24] [D01.25] [D01.26] [D01.27] [D01.28] [D01.29] [D01.30]

[D01.32] [D01.33] [D01.34] [D01.35] [D01.36] [D01.37] [D01.38] [D01.39] [D01.40] [D01.41] [D01.42] [D01.43] [D01.44] [D01.46] [D01.47] [D01.48]

DRAFT

Bibliography

[D01.49] Brenner, Neil, and Christian Schmid. 2015. “Towards a New Epistemology of the Urban?” City 19, nos. 2–3: 151–82.

[D01.51] Brickell, Katherine, and Ayona Datta. 2011. Translocal Geographies: Spaces, Places, Connections. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

[D01.52] Broderick, Damien. 1995. Reading by Starlight: Postmodern Science Fiction. London: Routledge.

[D01.53] Brown, Jacqueline Nassy. 1998. “Black Liverpool, Black America, and the Gendering of Diasporic Space.” Cultural Anthropology 13, no. 3: 291–325.

[D01.54] ———. 2006. “Diaspora and Desire: Gendering ‘Black America’ in Black Liverpool.” In

[D01.55] [D01.56] [D01.57] [D01.58] [D01.59] [D01.60] [D01.61] [D01.62] [D01.63] [D01.64] [D01.65] [D01.66] [D01.67]

[D01.68] [D01.69] [D01.70] [D01.71] [D01.72] [D01.73] [D01.74] [D01.75] [D01.76]

Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness, edited by Kamari Maxine Clarke and Deborah A. Thomas, 73–92. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ———. 2009. “Black Europe and the African Diaspora: A Discourse on Location.” In Black Europe and the African Diaspora, edited by Darlene Clark Hine, Trica Danielle Keaton, and Stephen Small, 201–11. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Buckley, Michelle, and Kendra Strauss. 2016. “With, against and beyond Lefebvre: Planetary Urbanization and Epistemic Plurality.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 34, no. 4: 617–36. Butler, Kim. 2001. “Defining Diaspora, Refining a Discourse.” Diaspora 10, no. 2: 198–99. Campbell, Elizabeth. 1995. “Re-visions, Re-flections, Re-creations: Epistolary in Novels by Contemporary Women.” Twentieth Century Literature 41, no. 3: 332–48. Campt, Tina M. 2009. “Pictures of ‘US’? Blackness, Diaspora, and the Afro-German Subject.” In Black Europe and the African Diaspora, edited by Darlene Clark Hine, Trica Danielle Keaton, and Stephen Small, 63–83. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Casey, Edward S. 1996. “How to Get from Space to Place in a Fairly Short Stretch of Time: Phenomenological Prolegomena.” In Senses of Place, edited by Steven Feld and Keith H. Basso, 13–52. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2009. “The Climate of History: Four Theses.” Critical Inquiry 35, no. 2: 197–222. Charim, Isolde, and Gertraud Auer Borea, eds. 2012. Lebensmodell Diaspora: Über moderne Nomaden. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag. Cheyette, Bryan. 2017. “Enthusiast.” Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Enquiry 5, no. 1: 1–5. Cho, Lily. 2007. “The Turn to Diaspora.” Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 17: 11–29. Chrisman, Laura. 2003. Postcolonial Contraventions: Cultural Readings of Race, Imperialism, and Transnationalism. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. “CityLeaks: Cologne Urban Art Festival 2.–22. September 2013.” 2013. Festival brochure. Clarke, Kamari Maxine, and Deborah A. Thomas. 2006. “Introduction: Globalization and the Transformations of Race.” In Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness, edited by Kamari Maxine Clarke and Deborah Thomas, 1–34. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Cleave, Chris. 2009 [2008]. The Other Hand. London: Sceptre. Clifford, James. 1994. “Cultural Diasporas.” Cultural Anthropology 9, no. 3: 302–38. ———. 1997. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Codell, Julie, ed. 2012. Transculturalism in British Art, 1770–1930. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. Cohen, Robin. 2008. Global Diasporas: An Introduction. 2nd ed. London: Routledge. Cole, Teju. 2011. Open City. New York: Random House. ———. 2012. Open City. London: Faber. “‘Complicit Racism’: Protests Close ‘Human Zoo’ Show with Black Actors.” 2014. RT News, September 24. https://www.rt.com/uk/190248-slavery-exhibition-black-actors. Cormack, Alistair. 2006. “Migration and the Politics of Narrative Form: Realism and the Postcolonial Subject in Brick Lane.” Contemporary Literature 47, no. 4: 695–721. Crang, Mike, and Penny S. Travlou. 2001. “The City and Topologies of Memory.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19, no. 2: 161–77.

Bibliography Creech, Brian, and Anandam Kavoori, 2016. “Transcultural Subjectivity: Beyond the Global/ Local Divide—Towards a Transcultural Understanding of Mediated Subjectivity.” In PostColonial Studies Meets Media Studies, edited by Kai Merten and Lucia Krämer, 67–84. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag. Daines, Gary. 2014. “NASA’s Journey to Mars.” Accessed June 30, 2016.http://www.nasa. gov/content/nasas-journey-to-mars. Dalley, Hamish. 2013. “The Idea of ‘Third Generation Nigerian Literature’: Conceptualizing Historical Change and Territorial Affiliation in the Contemporary Nigerian Novel.” Research in African Literatures 44, no. 4: 15–34. Dawson, Ashley. 2007. Mongrel Nation: Diasporic Culture and the Making of Postcolonial Britain. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Deandrea, Pietro. 2015. New Slaveries in Contemporary British Literature and Visual Arts: The Ghost and the Camp. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. Demissie, Fassil, ed. 2010. African Diaspora and the Metropolis: Reading the African, African American and Caribbean Experience. Oxon, UK: Routledge. Di Maio, Alessandra. 2010. “Perle per il mondo: Origine ed evoluzione della diaspora postcoloniale.” In Gli studi postcoloniali: Un’introduzione, edited by Shaul Bassi and Andrea Sirotti, 79–100. Florence: Le Lettere. Dolan, Jill. 2005. Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theatre. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Eder, Klaus. 2006. “Europe’s Borders: The Narrative Construction of the Boundaries of Europe.” European Journal of Social Theory 9, no. 2: 255–71. El-Tayeb, Fatima. 2011. European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Erll, Astrid. 2011. “Travelling Memory.” Parallax 17, no. 4: 4–18. Escobar, Arturo. 2008. Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Esty, Jed. 2012. Unseasonable Youth: Modernism, Colonialism, and the Fiction of Development, Modernist Literature and Culture. New York: Oxford University Press. Eyerman, Ron. 2001. Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Farrier, David. 2012. “Reading without Guarantees? Affect in Asylum Seeker Narratives.” Moving Worlds 12, no. 2: 58–70. Fischer-Lichter, Erika. 2009. “Interweaving Cultures in Performance: Different States of Being In-Between.” New Theatre Quarterly 25, no. 4: 391–401. Fisher, Mark. 2009. Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Hants, UK: O Books. Fleetwood, Nicole R. 2010. Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Fleishman, Mark. 2015. “Beyond Capture: The Indifference of Performance as Research.” Paper presented at IFTR Conference, Hyderabad, India. https://www.academia.edu/ 13921266/Beyond_Capture_The_Indifference_of_Performance_as_Research. Flockemann, Miki. 2013. “Repeating and Disrupting Embodied Histories through Performance. Exhibit A, Mies Julie and Itsoseng.” Critical Arts 27, no. 4: 403–17. Friedman, Rebecca, and Markus Thiel. 2012. “Introduction: Culture and Narratives of Transnational Belonging.” In European Identity and Culture: Narratives of Transnational Belonging, edited by Rebecca Friedman and Markus Thiel, 1–16. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. Friedman, Susan Stanford. 2009. “The ‘New Migration’: Clashes, Connections and Diaspora Women’s Writing.” Contemporary Women’s Writing 3, no. 1: 6–27. Gerber, Tony, and Jesse Moss. 2008. Full Battle Rattle. New York: First Run Features. DVD. Gillan, Michael. 2002. “‘Refugees or Infiltrators?’ The Bharatiya Janata Party and ‘Illegal’ Migration from Bangladesh.” Asian Studies Review 26, no. 1: 73–95. Gilroy, Paul. 1993. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness. London: Verso. ———. 1995. “Roots and Routes: Black Identity as an Outernational Project.” In Racial and Ethnic Identity: Psychological Development and Creative Expression, edited by Herbert W. Harris, Howard C. Blue, and Ezra E. H. Griffith, 15–30. New York: Routledge.

DRAFT

[D01.77]

[D01.78] [D01.79] [D01.80] [D01.81] [D01.82] [D01.83] [D01.84] [D01.85] [D01.86] [D01.87] [D01.88] [D01.89] [D01.90] [D01.91] [D01.92] [D01.93] [D01.94] [D01.96] [D01.97] [D01.98] [D01.99] [D01.100] [D01.101] [D01.102] [D01.103]

DRAFT

Bibliography

[D01.104] ———. 1997. “Diaspora and the Detours of Identity.” In Identity and Difference, edited by K. Woodward, 299–346. London: Sage.

[D01.105] ———. 2000a. Against Race: Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

[D01.106] ———. 2000b. Between Camps: Race, Identity and Nationalism at the End of the Colour Line. London: Allen Lane, Penguin Press.

[D01.107] ———. 2004a. After Empire: Melancholia or Convivial Culture? Abingdon, UK: Routledge. [D01.108] ———. 2004b. “Foreword: Migrancy, Culture, and a New Map of Europe.” Blackening Eu[D01.109] [D01.110] [D01.111] [D01.112] [D01.113] [D01.114] [D01.115] [D01.116] [D01.117] [D01.118] [D01.119] [D01.120] [D01.121] [D01.122] [D01.123] [D01.124] [D01.125] [D01.126] [D01.127] [D01.128] [D01.129] [D01.130]

rope: The African American Presence, edited by Heike Raphael-Hernandez, xi–xxii. New York: Routledge. ———. 2006. Postcolonial Melancholia. New York: Columbia University Press. Glissant, Édouard. 1992. Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. Goebel, Walter, and Saskia Schabio, eds. 2006. Beyond the Black Atlantic: Relocating Modernization and Technology. London: Routledge. Gopinath, Gayatri. 2005. Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Gordon, Avery. 1997. Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Goto, Hiromi. 1994. Chorus of Mushrooms. Edmonton, AB: NeWest Press. ———. 2001. The Kappa Child. Markham, ON: Red Deer Press. Grove, Richard. 1995. Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens, and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600–1860. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gunning, Dave. 2011. “Infrahuman Rights, Silence, and the Possibility of Communication in Recent Narratives of Illegality in Britain.” In Experiences of Freedom in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures, edited by Annalisa Oboe and Shaul Bassi, 141–50. London: Routledge. ———. 2012. “Ethnicity, Authenticity and Empathy in the Realist Novel and Its Alternatives.” Contemporary Literature 53, no. 4: 779–813. Györke, Ágnes. 2017. “Doris Lessing’s London Observed and the Limits of Empathy.” Etudes Anglaises 70, no. 1: 63–77. ———. Forthcoming. “Stories from Elsewhere: Walking as a Transnational Practice in Doris Lessing’s Fiction.” In From Transnational to Translational: Literature, Gender, Translation. Budapest: Central European University Press. Hairston, Andrea. 2004. “Griots of the Galaxy.” In So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, 23–45. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press. Hall, Stuart. 1988. “New Ethnicities.” In ICA Documents 7: Black Film, British Cinema, edited by Kobena Mercer, 27–31. London: Institute of Contemporary Arts. ———. 1989. “Authoritarian Populism: A Reply to Jessop et al.” In Thatcherism: A Tale of Two Nations, edited by Robert Jessop, Kevin Bonnett, Simon Bromley, and Tom Ling, 99–107. London: Polity Press. ———. 1990. “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” In Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, edited by Jonathan Rutherford, 222–37. London: Lawrence and Wishart. ———. 2003. “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” In Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader, edited by Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur, 233–46. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Hallemeier, Katherine. 2013. “Literary Cosmopolitanisms in Teju Cole’s Every Day Is for the Thief and Open City.” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 44, nos. 2–3: 239–50. Haraway, Donna. 1988. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies 14, no. 3: 575–99. Harding, Sandra G. 1991. Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Thinking from Women’s Lives. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. 2000. Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hiddleston, Jane. 2005. “Shapes and Shadows: (Un)veiling the Immigrant in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 40, no. 1: 57–72.

Bibliography Ho, Enseng. 2004. “Empire through Diasporic Eyes: A View from the Other Boat.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 46, no. 2: 210–46. Hopkinson, Nalo. 2000. Midnight Robber. New York: Warner Books. ———. 2004. Introduction. In So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, 7–9. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press. Howell, Anthony. 1999. The Analysis of Performance Art: A Guide to Its Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. Huggan, Graham. 2001. The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins. London: Routledge. Hussain, Yasmin. 2005. Writing Diaspora: South Asian Women, Culture and Ethnicity. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. Hutchison, Yvette. 2015. “Between Word, Image and Movement: Performative Critiques of Colonial Ethnography.” Témoigner: Testimony between History and Memory, Auschwitz Foundation Internationals Quarterly 121: 121–32. Huyssen, Andreas. 2003. Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2014. “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers.” In Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1–32. New York: Cambridge University Press. Irvine, Martin. 2012. “The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture.” In The Handbook of Visual Culture, edited by Ian Heywood and Barry Sandywell, 235–78. London: Bloomsbury. Jameson, Fredric. 1991. Postmodernism; or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ———. 2007. Archaeologies of the Future. London: Verso. Jay, Paul. 2010. Global Matters: The Transnational Turn in Literary Studies. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Jazeel, Tariq. 2011. “Spatializing Difference beyond Cosmopolitanism: Rethinking Planetary Futures.” Theory, Culture and Society 28, no. 5: 75–97. Kakutani, Michiko. 2011. “‘Open City’ by Teju Cole—Review.” New York Times, May 18. Kaplan, Caren. 1996. Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Katz, Jack. 1999. How Emotions Work. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Keown, Michelle, David Murphy, and James Procter, eds. 2009. Comparing Postcolonial Diasporas. Basingstoke, UK: AIAA. King, Nicola. 2000. Memory, Narrative, Identity: Remembering the Self. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Knowles, Ric. 2009. “Introduction: Performing Intercultural Canada.” TRiC/RTaC 30, nos. 1–2: v–xxi. Krishnan, Madhu. 2015. “Postcoloniality, Spatiality and Cosmopolitanism in the Open City.” Textual Practice 29, no. 4: 675–96. ———. 2017. “Affect, Empathy, and Engagement: Reading African Conflict in the Global Literary Marketplace.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 52, no. 2: 212–30. Krishnaswamy, Revathi. 1995. “Mythologies of Migrancy: Postcolonialism, Postmodernism and the Politics of (Dis)location.” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 26, no. 1: 125–46. Kunzru, Hari. 2012a. “Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalisation.” Transactions of the Medical Society of London 125: 25–29. ———. 2012b [2011]. Gods without Men. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Kureishi, Hanif. 1990. The Buddha of Suburbia. New York: Viking. Ladd, Brian. 1998. The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lai, Larissa. 2002. Salt Fish Girl. Toronto: Thomas Allen.

DRAFT

[D01.131] [D01.132] [D01.133] [D01.134] [D01.136] [D01.137] [D01.138] [D01.139] [D01.140]

[D01.141] [D01.142] [D01.143] [D01.144] [D01.145] [D01.146] [D01.148] [D01.149] [D01.150] [D01.151] [D01.152] [D01.153] [D01.154] [D01.155] [D01.156] [D01.157] [D01.158] [D01.159] [D01.160]

DRAFT

Bibliography

[D01.161] Ledent, Bénédicte. 2015. “Caryl Phillips’s Drama: Liminal Fiction under Construction?” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 51, no. 1: 84–94.

[D01.162] Lefebvre, Henri. 1991 [1947]. Critique of Everyday Life, Volume 1. Translated by John Moore. London: Verso.

[D01.163] Legat, Allice. 2008. “Walking Stories; Leaving Footprints.” In Ways of Walking: Ethnography [D01.164] [D01.166] [D01.167] [D01.168] [D01.169] [D01.170] [D01.171] [D01.172] [D01.173] [D01.174] [D01.175] [D01.177] [D01.178] [D01.179] [D01.180] [D01.181] [D01.182] [D01.183] [D01.185] [D01.186] [D01.187] [D01.184] [D01.188] [D01.189] [D01.190] [D01.191]

and Practice on Foot, edited by Jo Lee Vergunst and Tim Ingold, 35–49. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. Leister, Annike. 2013, “Farbexplosionen über Köln.” Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, August 30, 2013. https://www.ksta.de/koeln/streetart-festival-cityleaks-startet-farbexplosionen-ueber-koeln933534. Leonard, Elizabeth Anne. 2003. “Race and Ethnicity in Science Fiction.” In The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, edited by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn, 253–63. New York: Cambridge University Press. Lessing, Doris. 1962. The Golden Notebook. New York: Ballantine. ———. 1974. A Small Personal Voice. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ———. 1978. “To Room Nineteen.” In To Room Nineteen: Collected Stories, vol. 1. London: Jonathan Cape. ———. 1986 [1985]. The Good Terrorist. London: Paladin Grafton. ———. 1989 [1988]. The Fifth Child. London: Paladin Grafton. ———. 1993a [1969]. The Four-Gated City. London: Flamingo. ———. 1993b [1960]. In Pursuit of the English. London: Flamingo. ———. 1993c [1992]. London Observed. London: Flamingo. ———. 1997. Walking in the Shade: Volume Two of My Autobiography, 1949–1962. London: Flamingo. Lewis, Earl. 1995. “To Turn as on a Pivot: Writing African Americans into a History of Overlapping Diasporas.” American Historical Review 100, no. 3: 765–87. Lewycka, Marina. 2007. Two Caravans. London: Penguin. Little, George. 2009. “What Is a Diasporic Community?” Understanding Society: Innovative Thinking about a Global World blog, August 13. http://understandingsociety.blogspot.co.za/ 2009/08/what-is-diasporic-community.html. Lo, Jacqueline, and Helen Gilbert. 2002. “Towards a Topography of Cross-Cultural Theatre Praxis.” Drama Review 46, no. 3: 31–53. Lorimer, Hayden. 2011. “Walking: New Forms and Spaces for Studies of Walking.” In Geographies of Mobilities: Practices, Spaces, Subjects, edited by Tim Cresswell and Peter Merriman, 19–34. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. Mallot, J. Edward. 2007. “‘A Land outside Space, an Expanse without Distances’: Amitav Ghosh, Kamila Shamsie, and the Maps of Memory.” Literature Interpretation Theory 18: 262. Mani, B. Venkat. 2007. Cosmopolitical Claims: Turkish-German Literatures from Nadolny to Pamuk. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. Mars One. 2015a. “Mission Feasibility.” Accessed May 15, 2015. http://www.mars-one.com/ mission/technical-feasibility. ———. 2015b. “Why Should We Go to Mars?” Accessed May 15, 2015. http://www.marsone.com/faq/mission-to-mars/why-should-we-go-to-mars. ———. 2015c. “Will the Mission be Harmful to Mars’ Environment?” Accessed May 15, 2015. http://www.mars-one.com/faq/mission-to-mars/will-the-mission-be-harmful-to-marsenvironment. ———. 2016. “Meet the Mars 100.” Accessed April 20, 2018. https://community.mars-one. com/last_activity/ALL/18/82/ALL/ALL/5/3. Massey, Doreen. 1994. Space, Place and Gender. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ———. 2005. For Space. London: Sage. Massumi, Brian. 2002. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Mayr, Suzette. 2004. “Toot Sweet Matricia.” In So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, 46–52. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.

Bibliography McGuire, Richard. 2014. Here. New York: Pantheon Books. McLeod, John. 2004. Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis. London: Routledge. ———. 2010. “Extra Dimensions, New Routines.” Wasafiri 25, no. 4: 45–52. Mercer, Kobena. 1990. “Black Art and the Burden of Representation.” Third Text 4, no. 10: 61–78. ———, ed. 2008. Exiles, Diasporas and Strangers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Merten, Kai, and Lucia Krämer. 2016. “Introduction.” In Post-Colonial Studies Meets Media Studies, edited by Kai Merten and Lucia Krämer, 7–22. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag. Mignolo, Walter. 1995. The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ———. 2002. “The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference.” South Atlantic Quarterly 101, no.1: 57–96. Mishra, Sudesh. 2006. Diaspora Criticism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Morris, Gay. 2015. “Ubizo—Voices of elok’shini: Listening Afresh to Theatre Voices from Cape Town’s Townships.” In New Territories: Theatre, Drama, and Performance in PostApartheid South Africa, edited by Greg Homann and Mark Maufort, 23–56. Brussels: Peter Lang. Morrison, Toni. 1987. Beloved. New York: Plume. Musk, Elon. 2013. “Elon Musk: The Case for Mars.” Exploring Space, December 5. Accessed September 19, 2015.http://spaceexp.tumblr.com/post/69071024112/elon-musk-the-case-formars. Nail, Thomas. 2015. The Figure of the Migrant. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. NASA. 2016. “Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” Accessed August 16, 2016.http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence. Nayar, Pramrod K. 2014. “From the Gynaecological to the Species Gothic: Lessing’s Post Humanist Visions in the Fifth Child.” Samyukta: A Journal of Women’s Studies 14, no. 1: 30–44. Nguyen, Patrick, and Stuart Mackenzie. 2010. Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art. Berlin: Die Gestalten Verlag. Odunlami, Stella, and Kehinde Andrews. 2014. “Is Art Installation Exhibit B Racist?” Guardian, September 27. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/27/is-artinstallation-exhibit-b-racist. Ortiz, Fernando. 1947. Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar. Translated by Harried de Onỉs. New York: Knopf. Osborne, Brian S. 1996. “Texts of Place: ‘A Secret Landscape Hidden behind the Everyday.’” Geojournal 38, no. 1: 29–39 Osumare, Halifu. 2005. “Global Hip-Hop and the African Diaspora.” In Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture, edited by Harry J. Elam Jr. and Kennell Jackson, 266–88. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. O’Toole, Emer. 2012. “Rights of Representation: An Ethics of Intercultural Theatre Practice.” PhD dissertation in Theatre Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London. Oyeyemi, Helen. 2007. The Opposite House. London: Bloomsbury. Parsons, Deborah L. 2003. Streetwalking the Metropolis: Woman, the City and Modernity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Peach, Ceri. 1996. “Does Britain Have Ghettoes?” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 21, no. 1: 216–35. ———. 2006. “South Asian Migration and Settlement in Great Britain 1951–2001.” Contemporary South Asia 15, no. 2: 133–46. Pearce, Lynne, Corinne Fowler, and Robert H. Crawshaw. 2013. Postcolonial Manchester: Diaspora Space and the Devolution of Literary Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Pease, Donald E. 2011. “Re-mapping the Transnational Turn.” In Re-Framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies, edited by Winifred Fluck, Donald E. Pease and John Carlos Rowe. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College Press.

DRAFT

[D01.192] [D01.193] [D01.194] [D01.195] [D01.196] [D01.197] [D01.198] [D01.199] [D01.201] [D01.203]

[D01.204] [D01.205] [D01.206] [D01.207] [D01.209] [D01.210] [D01.211]

[D01.213] [D01.214] [D01.215] [D01.216] [D01.217] [D01.218] [D01.219] [D01.220] [D01.221]

DRAFT

Bibliography

[D01.222] Perfect, Michael. 2008. “The Multicultural Bildungsroman: Stereotypes in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 43, no. 3: 109–20.

[D01.223] Phillips, Caryl. 2010 [2009]. In the Falling Snow. London: Vintage. [D01.224] Poon, Angelia. 2009. “To Know What’s What: Forms of Migrant Knowing in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 45, no. 4: 426–37.

[D01.226] Price, Patricia L. 2004. Dry Place: Landscapes of Belonging and Exclusion. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[D01.227] Procter, James. 2003. Dwelling Places: Postwar Black British Writing. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

[D01.228] ———. 2006. “The Postcolonial Everyday.” New Formations 58: 62–80. [D01.229] Proulx, Annie. 2016. Barkskins. New York: Scribner. [D01.231] Quayson, Ato. 2014. Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

[D01.233] Rajan, Rajeswari Sunder. 1993. Real and Imagined Women. London: Routledge. [D01.234] Rankin, Ian. 2004. Fleshmarket Close. London: Orion. [D01.235] Refskou, Anne Sophie Haahr. 2011. “Can Transcultural Theatre Raise the Dead? Exploring Kaj [D01.236] [D01.237] [D01.238] [D01.239] [D01.240] [D01.241] [D01.242] [D01.243] [D01.244] [D01.245] [D01.246] [D01.247] [D01.248] [D01.249] [D01.250] [D01.251] [D01.252] [D01.253] [D01.254] [D01.255] [D01.256]

Munk’s Odet [The Word] via Peter Brook’s Essentialist Aesthetic.” Transnational Literature 4, no. 1: 1–10. Regis, Ed. 2015. “Let’s Not Move to Mars.” New York Times, September 21. Reid, Michelle. 2005. “Postcolonial Science Fiction.” Science Fiction Foundation. http://www. sf-foundation.org/publications/essays/reid.html. ———. 2009. “Postcolonialism.” In The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction, edited by Mark Bould, Andrew M. Butler, Adam Roberts, and Sherryl Vint, 256–66. London: Routledge. Reinecke, Julia. 2007. Street-Art: Eine Subkultur zwischen Kunst und Kommerz. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag. Reis, Michele. 2004. “Theorizing Diaspora: Perspectives on ‘Classical’ and ‘Contemporary’ Diaspora.” International Migration 42, no. 2: 41–60. Rendell, Ruth. 1995 [1994]. Simisola. London: Arrow. Rhys, Jean. 1966. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Deutsch. Richardson, Tanya. 2005. “Walking Streets, Talking History: The Making of Odessa.” Ethnology 44, no. 1: 13–33. Rieder, John. 2005. “Science Fiction, Colonialism, and the Plot of Invasion.” Extrapolation 46, no. 3: 373–94. ———. 2008. Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press. Roberts, Adam. 2000. Science Fiction: The New Critical Idiom. London: Routledge. Robinson, Douglas. 2013. Displacement and the Somatics of Postcolonial Cultures. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. Rody, Caroline. 2001. The Daughter’s Return: African-American and Caribbean Women’s Fictions of History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Romig, Rollo. 2012. “Staring into the Void with Hari Kunzru.” New Yorker, March 13.http:// www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/staring-into-the-void-with-hari-kunzru. Rose, Tricia. 2005. “Foreword.” In Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture, edited by Harry J. Elam Jr. and Kennell Jackson, vii–viii. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Rothberg, Michael, and Yasemin Yildiz. 2011. “Memory Citizenship: Migrant Archives of Holocaust Remembrance in Contemporary Germany.” Parallax 17, no. 4: 32–48. Rothstein, Mervyn. 1988. “The Painful Nurturing of Doris Lessing’s Fifth Child.” New York Times, June 14.http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/01/10/specials/lessing-child.html. Roupakia, Lydia Efthymia. 2016. “Cosmopolitanism, Religion and Ethics: Rereading Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 52, no. 6: 1–14. Rushdie, Salman. 1983. Shame. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ———. 1988. The Satanic Verses. London: Viking. ———. 1991. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981–1991. London: Granta.

Bibliography Safran, William. 1991. “Diasporas in Modern Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return.” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 1, no. 1: 83–99. Said, Edward. 2000a. “Intellectual Exile: Expatriates and Marginals.” In The Edward Said Reader, edited by Mustafa Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin, 368–81. New York: Vintage Books. ———. 2000b. “Reflections on Exile.” In Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 174–86. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ———. 2003. Orientalism. London: Penguin. Salvídar, Ramón. 2011. “Historical Fantasy, Speculative Realism, and Postrace Aesthetics in Contemporary American Fiction.” American Literary History 23, no. 3: 574–99. Saunders, Angharad. 2010. “Literary Geography: Reforging the Connections.” Progress in Human Geography 34, no. 4: 436–52. Scherer, Anne. 2014. Streetart Cologne. Cologne, Germany: Kiepenhauer and Witsch. Scholes, Robert. 1976. “The Roots of Science Fiction.” In Science Fiction: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Mark Rose, 46–56. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Sell, Jonathan P. A., ed. 2012. Metaphor and Diaspora in Contemporary Writing. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Shamsie, Kamila. 2000. Salt and Saffron. London: Bloomsbury. ———. 2002. “Tri-Sub-Continental.” Index on Censorship 31, no. 3: 214–22. Shamsie, Muneeza. 2009. “Sunlight and Salt: The Literary Landscapes of a Divided Family.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 44, no. 1: 135–53. Simon, R. I., and C. Eppert. 2005. “Remembering Obligation: Witnessing Testimonies of Historical Trauma.” In The Touch of the Past: Remembrance, Learning, and Ethics, edited by R. I. Simon, 51–64. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Sivanandan, Ambalavaner. 2001. “Poverty Is the New Black.” Race and Class 43, no. 2: 1–5. Sizemore, Christine W. 2008. “In Pursuit of the English: Hybridity and the Local in Doris Lessing’s First Urban Text.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 43, no. 2: 133–44. Skrivankova, Klara. 2015. “Modern Slavery Bill Is Passed!” Reporter (Anti-Slavery International) 21, no. 1: 3. Smith, Ali. 2011. There but for The. London: Penguin. Smith, Andrew. 2004. “Migrancy, Hybridity, and Postcolonial Literary Studies.” In The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Literary Studies, edited by Neil Lazarus, 241–61. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Smith, Zadie. 2000. White Teeth. London: Hamish Hamilton. ———. 2012. NW. New York: Penguin Press. Spencer, Robert. 2011. Cosmopolitan Criticism and Postcolonial Literature. London: Palgrave. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1994. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” In Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory, edited by Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman, 66–111. London: Longman. ———. 2003. Death of a Discipline. New York: Columbia University Press. ———. 2012. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ———. 2014. “The 2012 Antipode AAG Lecture: Scattered Speculations on Geography.” Antipode 46, no. 1: 1–12. Stewart, Kathleen. 2007. Ordinary Affects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Sullivan, Daniel, and Jeff Greenberg. 2011. “Monstrous Children as Harbingers of Mortality: A Psychological Analysis of Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child.” Lit: Literature, Interpretation, Theory 22, no. 2: 113–33. Suvin, Darko. 1988. Positions and Presuppositions in Science Fiction. London: Macmillan. Thieme, John. 2016. Postcolonial Literary Geographies: Out of Place. London: Palgrave. Thomas, Sheree R. 2000. “Introduction: Looking for the Invisible.” In Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, edited by Sheree R. Thomas, ix–xiv. New York: Warner Books. ———. 2004. “The Grassdreaming Tree.” In So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, 108–19. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.

DRAFT

[D01.257] [D01.258]

[D01.260] [D01.261] [D01.262] [D01.263] [D01.264] [D01.265] [D01.266] [D01.267] [D01.268] [D01.269] [D01.270] [D01.271] [D01.272] [D01.273] [D01.274] [D01.276] [D01.277] [D01.278] [D01.279] [D01.281] [D01.282] [D01.284] [D01.285] [D01.286] [D01.287] [D01.288] [D01.289]

DRAFT

Bibliography

[D01.290] Thompson, Cadie. 2015. “Elon Musk: Climate Change Could Cause ‘More Destruction than [D01.291] [D01.292] [D01.293] [D01.294] [D01.295] [D01.296] [D01.297] [D01.298] [D01.299] [D01.300] [D01.302] [D01.301] [D01.303] [D01.304] [D01.305] [D01.306] [D01.307] [D01.308] [D01.309] [D01.310] [D01.311]

[D01.312]

All the Wars in History Combined.’” Tech Insider, December 2.http://www.techinsider.io/ elon-musk-on-climate-change-2015-12. Thrift, Nigel. 2004. “Intensities of Feeling: Towards a Spatial Politics of Affect.” Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 86, no. 1: 57–78. Tiffin, Helen. 2002. “Post-Colonial Literatures and Counter-Discourse.” In The Post-Colonial Studies Reader, edited by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, 95–98. London: Routledge. ———. 2007. “Introduction.” In Five Emus to the King of Siam: Environment and Empire, edited by Helen Tiffin, xi–xxviii. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Till, Karen E. 2005. The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ———. 2008. “Artistic and Activist Memory-Work: Approaching Place-Based Practice.” Memory Studies 1: 99–113. Tolia-Kelly, Divya. 2006. “Affect—An Ethnocentric Encounter? Exploring the ‘Universalist’ Imperative of Emotional/Affectual Geographies.” Area 38, no. 2: 213–18. Tölölyan, Khachig. 1991. “The Nation-State and Its Others: In Lieu of a Preface.” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 1, no. 1: 3–7. ———. 2007. “The Contemporary Discourse of Diaspora Studies.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27, no. 3: 647–55. Tournay-Theodotou, Petra. 2016. “Coming Unmoored: Old and New Ways of Belonging in Caryl Phillips’s In the Falling Snow.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 52, no. 1: 51–63. Tsagarousianou, Roza. 2004. “Rethinking the Concept of Diaspora: Mobility, Connectivity and Communication in a Globalised World.” Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 1, no. 1: 52–65. UNHCR. 2011. “Summary of Deliberations on Climate Change and Displacement.” Accessed June 30, 2016.http://www.unhcr.org/4da2b5e19.pdf. ———. 2015. “Figures at a Glance.” Accessed June 30, 2016.http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/ figures-at-a-glance.html. Urban, Tim. 2015. “How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars.” Wait but Why, August 16. Accessed August 18, 2015.https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/08/how-and-why-spacex-willcolonize-mars.html. U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015. Pub. L. No. 114-90. 114th Cong. November 25, 2015. Van Hear, Nicholas. 1998. New Diasporas: The Mass Exodus, Dispersal and Regrouping of Migrant Communities. London: Routledge. van Treeck, Bernhard. 1996. Street-Art Köln: Legale und illegal Kunst im Stadtbild. Moers, Germany: Aragon Verlagsgesellschaft. Varma, Rashmi. 2012. The Postcolonial City and Its Subjects: London, Nairobi, Bombay. New York: Routledge. Vermeulen, Pieter. 2013. “Flights of Memory: Teju Cole’s Open City and the Limits of Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism.” Journal of Modern Literature 37, no. 1: 40–57. Vyncke, Rini. 2010. “From The Final Passage (1985) to In the Falling Snow (2009): Caryl Phillips as a Second Generation Postcolonial Author.” Masters in comparative modern literature dissertation, Ghent University. Waegner, Cathy Covell. 2004. “Rap, Rebounds, and Rocawear: The ‘Darkening’ of German Youth Culture.” In Blackening Europe: The African American Presence, edited by Heike Raphael-Hernandez, 171–85. New York: Routledge. ———. 2011. “Bildung(sroman): Ethnic Transformations at School in North Rhine-Westphalia, Virginia, Pécs, and Autobiographical Novels.” In Transculturality and Perceptions of the Immigrant Other: “From-Heres” and “Come-Heres” in Virginia and North Rhine-Westphalia, edited by Cathy Covell Waegner, Page R. Laws, and Geoffroy de Laforcade, 106–33. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars. ———. 2015. “‘Buffalo Bill Takes a Scalp’: Mediated Transculturality on Both Sides of the Atlantic with William F. Cody’s Wild West, from Show to Hollywood and YouTube.” In

Bibliography Mediating Indianness, edited by Cathy Covell Waegner, 45–72. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. Walsh, Rebecca. 2003. “Global Diasporas: Introduction.” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 5, no. 1: 1–11. Ward, Abigail. 2011. “‘Looking across the Atlantic’ in Caryl Phillips’s In the Falling Snow.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 47, no. 3: 296–308. Watkins, Susan. 2010. Doris Lessing: Contemporary World Writers. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Welsch, Wolfgang. 1999. “Transculturality—The Puzzling Form of Cultures Today.” In Spaces of Culture: City, Nation, World, edited by Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash, 194–213. London: Sage. Wilson, Elizabeth. 1991. The Sphinx in the City. London: Sorella Press. Wilson, Janet, Cristina Sandru, and Sarah Lawson Welsh, eds. 2010. Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions for the New Millennium. London: Routledge. Wintour, Patrick. 2015. “Cameron’s Immigration Bill to Include Crackdown on Illegal Workers.” Guardian, May 21. http://theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/May/20/immigration-bill-toinclude-crackdown-on-illegal-foreign-workers. Wolff, Janet. 1995. Resident Alien: Feminist Cultural Criticism. Cambridge: Polity. Wood, James. 2011. “The Arrival of Enigmas.” New Yorker, February 28. Woolf, Virginia. 1925. Mrs. Dalloway. London: Hogarth Press. Yelin, Louise. 1998. From the Margins of Empire: Christina Stead, Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Young, Robert J. C. 1994. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race. London: Routledge. Zephaniah, Benjamin. 1996. “The Death of Joy Gardner.” In Propa Propaganda, 11. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Bloodaxe. Zubrin, Robert. 2012. “This Land Is Whose Land?” Commentary 81, no. 2: 81–83. ———. 2014. “Colonising the Red Planet: Human to Mars in Our Time.” Architectural Design 134, no. 2: 46–53.

DRAFT

[D01.313] [D01.314] [D01.315] [D01.316] [D01.317] [D01.318] [D01.319] [D01.320] [D01.321] [D01.322] [D01.323] [D01.324] [D01.325] [D01.326] [D01.327]

DRAFT

Index

Achebe, Chinua, 4.3, 4.32 affect, B05.15, B05.24-B05.26, 6.6, 6.7, 6.14, 6.20, 6.36, 7.0-7.10, 7.12-7.25, 7.29, 7.31, 7.34, 7.37, 9.1; waning of, 6.2, 6.29 agency, B04.7, 1.24, 2.44, 3.11, 5.25-5.26, 7.10, 7.35, 8.15, 9.5, 9.13-9.14, 9.19, 9.25 Ahmed, Rehana, 7.13-7.14, 7.35, 9.23 Ahmed, Sara, 7.0, 7.13, 7.24, 7.26-7.30, 7.34 Ali, Monica, B05.23, B05.25, B05.26, B05.30, 6.27, 7.0, 7.11-7.18, 7.21-7.37, 9.0, 9.2-9.4, 9.6, 9.8, 9.9, 9.13-9.14, 9.18-9.19, 9.22-9.23, 9.25-9.26 Anderson, Bridget, 8.4 Appadurai, Arjun, B05.14, 5.1, 8.7, 8.8, 8.11 Assman, Jan, 1.1, 1.7, 1.37 asylum seekers, B05.3, 1.24, 7.6, 8.1, 8.26 autonomy. See agency Basterra, Gabriela, 9.5 Bhabha, Homi, B05.4 Bhambra, Gurminder, 5.9 black mother-of-history, 3.27, 3.29 Brah, Avtar, B05.0, B05.4, B05.9, B05.11, B05n2, B05n9, 6.12, 9.6, 9.19 Braziel, Jana Evans, and Anita Mannur, B05.8, B05.32, 8.5, 8.15 Broderick, Damien, 3.9, 3.37

Chakrabarty, Dipesh, 4.2, 4.24-4.25, 4.29 CityLeaks Urban Art Festival, 2.0, 2.2, 2.10, 2.12 class, B04.2, B05.7, B05.15, B05.25, B05.28, B05.30, B05n7, 1.20, 6.4, 6.16, 6.25, 6.26, 7.24-7.26, 7.28-7.29, 7.337.36, 8.24, 8.36, 9.7, 9.21, 9.25 Cleave, Chris, B05.29, 8.2, 8.7, 8.9-8.12, 8.15, 8.48 Clifford, James, B05.9 climate change, B05.3, B05.20, 4.0, 4.2, 4.16-4.21, 4.24, 4.31-4.32 cognitive estrangement, 3.2, 3.10, 3.21, 3.33, 3.37 Cohen, Robin, B05.9 Cole, Teju, B04.7, B05.23, B05.26, 5.05.27, 6.36 colonialism, settler, 4.1, 4.11-4.14, 4.19, 4.23-4.32 contact zones, 1.2-1.3, 1.20-1.21, 1.251.26, 1.28, 1.38 cosmopolitanism, B05.3, 2.1, 2.47, 2.48, 2n4, 5.3, 5.5, 5.14, 9.2-9.3 counter-discursive strategies, 3.9 cultural memory, 1.1, 1.6, 1.17-1.18, 1.321.33, 1.37-1.38; trauma and, 1.9, 1.321.33 dark matter, 3.9 Dawson, Ashley, 8.19

Index Deandrea, Pietro, 8.0-8.1, 8.9, 8n2-8n3, 8n6 Deterritorialization, B05.14 Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, B05.9, 8.4, 8.8 displacement, B05.0 emotion, 6.1, 6.3, 6.6, 6.11, 6.20-6.21, 6.27, 6.29, 6.31, 6.35-6.36, 7.13-7.14, 7.19, 7.20-7.23, 7.29, 7.30 Empire Windrush, 8.19-8.20, 8.48 emplacement, 2.34, 2.44-2.45 Escobar, Arturo, 4.30 ethics of representation, 1.23-1.26 ethnoscape, 5.1, 5.5, 5.26, 8.8 Fischer-Lichter, Erika, 1.7, 1.36-1.37 flânerie, 6.2, 6.3, 6.7, 6.13, 6.29, 6.36 gender, B04.2, B05.15, 6.1, 7.4, 7.12, 7.22, 7.36, 9.1-9.26 Gilroy, Paul, B04.1, B05.3, B05.4, B05.8, B05.9, 2.2, 2.47-2.48, 2n1, 2n17, 5.5, 5.21, 8.4, 8.7, 8.48, 8n9 global city, 6.2 globalization, B04.6, B05.3, B05.14, 2.44, 5.2, 5n4, 8.0-8.1, 8.5, 8.11, 8.14, 8.25, 8.35, 8.48, 9.23 god trick, 5.14 Gopinath, Gayatri, B05.11, B05n8 graffiti tag, 2.7, 2.25, 2.30, 2.45, 2n10 Great Britain: and immigration policies, 8.1, 8.9, 8.14, 8n1; and labour market, 8.1 Gunning, Dave, 7.13, 8.29 hacking, 2.0, 2.9-2.11, 2.30 Hall, Stuart, 2.1, 5.9, 5.26, 7.2, 8.7, 8.13, 8.24, 8.27 Haraway, Donna, 5.14, 5.23, 5.25 Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri, B05.8 haunting, 1.32, 5.13, 5.22-5.23, 5.26, 6.156.16, 6.29, 6.36 Hopkinson, Nalo, B05.21, 3.0-3.38 Hoppek, Boris, 2.27-2.31, 2f4 Huyssen, Andreas, B05.23, 5.6 hybridity, B04.6, B05.0, 2.1, 2.4-2.5, 2.46, 2.48, 7.1, 9.25, 9n5

identity formation, B05.21, 1.6, 3.12, 3.29, 3.36, 4.3, 7.30 immigrants. See migrants interculturalism, B04.1, B05.3, 1.13-1.14, 1.23, 1.35, 5.3, 6.1, 6.6, 6.12, 6.36, 9.1 Irvine, Martin, 2.4, 2.6, 2.45, 2n15 Israel, Nico, B05.9 Jazeel, Tariq, 5.14, 5.21 Kaplan, Caren, B05.7 knowledge, B05.18, B05.25-B05.26, 3.26, 5.0, 5.2, 5.4, 5.9, 5.23, 5.25, 5.26, 9.22; affective. See affect Kunzru, Hari, B05.20, 4.5-4.14, 4.24, 4.264.32 Labour Party, 8.26-8.27 Ledent, Bénédicte, 8.36, 8.47 Leonard, Elizabeth Anne, 3.5-3.9 Lessing, Doris, B05.23, B05.26, 6.0-6.36 liminality, B05.0, B05.21, 1.2, 1.36-1.37, 3.29-3.31 locus-colonial novel, 4.5, 4.24, 4.26-4.30, 4.32 Lo, Jacqueline, and Helen Gilbert, 1.14, 1.35 London, B05.24-B05.26, 6.0-6.36, 7.137.16, 7.18, 7.24, 7.25, 7.29, 7.31, 7.35, 9.16-9.17, 9.22-9.23, 9.25 magic black daughter, 3.27, 3.29 Mannur, Anita. See Braziel, Jana Evans Mars, 4.0-4.2, 4.4-4.5, 4.15-4.24, 4.31 Mars One, 4.15-4.19, 4.22 Massey, Doreen, 5.9, 5.14, 5.19, 5.20, 5.21, 5.26 McLeod, John, 6.0, 6.4, 7.5, 8.24, 8.36 Mercer, Kobena, 2.47, 2n17, 7.10, 8.6 Mignolo, Walter, 4.25, 5.9, 5.19 migrants, B04.0, B04.2-B04.5, B05.3, B05.8, B05.15, B05.15-B05.18, B05.25, B05.28-B05.29, B05n2, 2.43, 5.1, 5.4-5.5, 5.12, 6.12, 6.26, 7.0-7.2, 7.5, 7.13, 7.25-7.29, 7.34, 7.36, 9.0-9.1, 9.4, 9.9, 9.16-9.19, 9.22-9.23, 9.25; economic, 8.1, 8.33-8.34, 8.48, 8n5; and silence, 8.29, 8.43-8.46

DRAFT

DRAFT

Index Mishra, Sudesh, B04.0, B05.28, 8.13-8.14, 8.48 narrative style, 7.0, 7.6, 7.7, 7.10-7.13, 7.22, 7.34, 7.36 NASA, 4.15-4.17 Negri, Antonio. See Hardt, Michael Ortiz, Fernando, 1.13 outernational, 2.0-2.1, 2.48 Oyeyemi, Helen, 6.27 palimpsest, 2.27, 2.32, 2.40, 5.6, 5.26, 6.33 performance practice, 1.2-1.3, 1.13-1.14, 1.32-1.34, 1.35, 1.37-1.38; and interculturalism, 1.13-1.14; and transculturalism, 1.13-1.14, 1.29 periphery, B05n2, 6.6, 6.20-6.21 Phillips, Caryl, B05.29, 8.2, 8.20-8.49 planetary, B05.3, 5.5, 5.14, 5.22, 5.23 postcolonialism, B05.4, B05.21, B05.32, 2.0, 4.19, 5.2, 5.9, 5.22, 5.24, 5.26, 5n5, 7.0, 7.5-7.8, 7.17, 8n2, 8n4, 9.1-9.6, 9.8-9.9, 9.13, 9.16, 9.21, 9.24, 9.26; and speculative fiction. See speculative fiction postmillennial, 6.2, 6.6, 6.17, 6.36 postmodern reinscription, 2.19, 2.32, 2.36 psychological violence, 8.29, 8.34, 8.388.40; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 8.9 racism, 8.23-8.24, 8.41-8.45, 9.18-9.19 Rankin, Ian, 8.17-8.18 refugees, B04.0, B05.3, 1.20, 3.36, 4.0, 5.1, 5.5, 8.1, 8.11; refugee crisis, B05.1, B05.7 Reis, Michele, 8.12 remembrance, B04.1, B05.15-B05.16, B05.21, 3.0, 3.2, 3.5, 3.11, 3.12, 3.26, 3.36 Rendell, Ruth, 8.4, 8.17 Rieder, John, 3.4 Rushdie, Salman, 6.14, 6.26, 6n10, 7.14, 9.25, 9n5 Said, Edward, B05.4, 5.5, 5.24

Saldívar, Ramón, 4.26 science fiction. See speculative fiction Shamsie, Kamilla, B05.30, 9.0, 9.2-9.4, 9.6-9.7, 9.9, 9.11-9.12, 9.14, 9.16, 9.18, 9.23-9.25 silence, B05.30, 1.28, 3.9, 8.29, 8.43-8.46, 9.5, 9.7, 9.9, 9.11, 9.13-9.14 SpaceX, 4.15-4.17, 4.31 spatiality, 5.8, 5.9, 5.19, 5.22, 5.25, 5.26, 7.5, 7.14-7.17, 7.24, 7.26, 7.29, 7.35 speculative fiction, B04.7, B05.19-B05.21, 3.0-3.38 speech. See voice Spivak, Gayatri, B05.31, 5.21, 9.5-9.6, 9.9, 9.14, 9.16, 9.21 Stewart, Kathleen, 7.0, 7.3, 7.8 structural fabulation, 3.33, 3.37 subaltern, B05.30, 9.0, 9.5-9.6, 9.9, 9.14, 9.19 subjectivity, 2.47, 9.5, 9.21; diasporic, B05.8, B05n8, 1.2, 1.5-1.6, 1.35-1.37, 2.44; transcultural mediated, 2.2, 2.14, 2.19 Suvin, Darko, 3.5, 3.10, 3.37 Tarek, Aya, 2.14, 2.32, 2f5, 2n11-2n12 Tiffin, Helen, 3.9, 3.30, 4.10 time, 7.14-7.17, 7.31-7.33 Tölölyan, Khachig, B05.9, 7.1, 8.2, 8.8 transculturalism, B05.3, B05.14, B05.17, 1.3, 1.12-1.15 translocality, 5.24, 5.26, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.14, 6.15, 6.17, 6.25, 6.26, 6.27, 6.33, 6.36 transmigration, 6.12 transnationalism, B05.3, B05.14, 1.3, 9.09.6, 9.8-9.9, 9.23-9.24, 9.26 trespass, 6.6, 6.11, 6.13 Trump, Donald, B05.7 Varma, Rashmi, 9.2, 9.16 voice, B05.31, 3.9, 3.31, 5.15-5.16, 9.5, 9.7, 9.14, 9.21 walking, 5.0, 5.3, 5.4, 5.8, 5.23 Welsch, Wolfgang, 2.1, 2n3 Woolf, Virginia, 6.11, 6.32, 6n6

DRAFT

About the Editors and Contributors

[D02.0]

Sarah Ilott is a lecturer in literature and film at Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. Her main research and teaching interests are in postcolonial literature and genre fiction. She has published a monograph, New Postcolonial British Genres: Shifting the Boundaries (2015), and an edited collection with Chloe Buckley, Telling It Slant: Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi (2017). Her publications also include multiple book chapters and journal articles in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, and Postcolonial Text. She serves on the editorial board for the journal Postcolonial Text.

[D02.1]

Ana Cristina Mendes is assistant professor of English studies at the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon and a researcher at the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (CEAUL/ULICES). Her areas of specialization are cultural and postcolonial studies, with an emphasis on the representations and reception of alterity in the global cultural marketplace. Her publications include the coedited book Re-Orientalism and South Asian Identity Politics (2011); the edited collection Salman Rushdie and Visual Culture (2012); the monograph Salman Rushdie in the Cultural Marketplace (2013); and articles published in Third Text, Interventions, Adaptation, the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, and Modern Asian Studies. She serves on the board of the Association of Cultural Studies.

[D02.2]

Lucinda Newns is a lecturer in postcolonial and contemporary literature at the University of Manchester. Her main research interests are in postcolonial and diasporic literature, particularly as it relates to space, place, and gender. She is working on a monograph about domesticity and the everyday in diasporic writing in Britain entitled At Home in the Metropole: Domestic Inter-

About the Editors and Contributors

DRAFT

sections in Contemporary Migration Fiction (forthcoming). Her work has previously appeared in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. Sibyl Adam recently submitted her PhD dissertation, “The Affective Everyday in Narratives of Muslim Women Migrating to the UK 1906–2012,” at the University of Edinburgh, where she also tutors in English and Scottish literature.

[D02.3]

Pietro Deandrea is associate professor in English and postcolonial literature at the University of Torino, Italy. Among his publications are Fertile Crossings: Metamorphoses of Genre in Anglophone West African Literatures (2002) and New Slaveries in Contemporary British Literature and Visual Arts: The Ghost and the Camp (2015).

[D02.4]

Karen D’Souza is senior lecturer in literature at Edge Hill University. Previous publications are within the area of colonial and postcolonial studies. Current research continues her interest in the antagonisms between voice and silence in postcolonial women’s writing and extends this focus across the spectrum of migrant and refugee narratives.

[D02.5]

Miki Flockemann is extraordinary professor in the Department of English at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her primary research interest is the aesthetics of transformation. Her publications include comparative studies of diasporic writings from South Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean. She also has a strong interest in South African performance trends.

[D02.6]

Ágnes Györke is senior lecturer at the University of Debrecen’s Department of British Studies. She gained her PhD in 2009; her dissertation, “Rushdie’s Postmodern Nations,” was published by Debrecen University Press. She was a fellow at Central European University’s Institute for Advanced Study and a visiting scholar at Indiana University, the University of Bristol, King’s College London, and the University of Leeds.

[D02.7]

John McLeod is professor of postcolonial and diaspora literatures at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. His published work includes Life Lines: Writing Transcultural Adoption (2015), Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis (2004), and Beginning Postcolonialism (2nd ed., 2010). His new book, Global Trespassers: Permitted Migration, Prohibited Personhood, is forthcoming.

[D02.8]

DRAFT

About the Editors and Contributors

[D02.9]

Agnieszka Podruczna is a lecturer at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland, and she has recently finished her PhD dissertation on the subject of the body in postcolonial speculative fiction. Her academic interests include postcolonial studies, gender studies, and the theory of science fiction.

[D02.10] Rachel Rochester is pursuing her PhD at the University of Oregon. She

specializes in the literature of social and environmental justice, particularly in the contemporary South Asian novel. Her dissertation focuses on new materialism and the ways in which activists and theorists can collaborate to invoke real-world change. [D02.11] Christiane Steckenbiller is an assistant professor of German studies and

core faculty member of race, ethnicity, and migration studies at Colorado College, Colorado Springs. Her research focuses on contemporary German and postcolonial Anglophone literature, with an emphasis on migration and minority discourses, cultural geography, postcolonial, and urban studies. [D02.12] Cathy Covell Waegner taught American studies at the University of Siegen

in Germany until her retirement in 2013. She obtained degrees from the College of William and Mary (BA) and the University of Virginia (MA, PhD). Waegner has (co)edited volumes on diasporic ethnicities, transculturality, and immigration, as well as mediating “Indianness.”