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Global Challenges - Diasporic Sensibility in Short Stories of Indo-Canadian Women Writers

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  • 1. Global Challenges –Diasporic Sensibility in Short Stories of Indo-Canadian Women Writer26th IACS International Conference on Canadian Studies Jan 20,21 & 22, 2013 Indian Association for Canadian Studies Dept. of English & CLS, Saurashtra University, Rajkot Dilip Barad M.K. Bhavnagar University Bhavnagar – Gujarat – India dilipbarad@gmail.com
  • 2. The theoretical innovations of EdwardSaid, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, StuartHall, Paul Gilroy, James Clifford and others have in recent years vitalized postcolonial and Diaspora studies, challenging ways in which we understand‘culture’ and developing new ways ofthinking beyond theconfines of the Nation state.
  • 3. • The notion of Diaspora in particular has been productive in its attention to the real-life movement of peoples throughout the world, whether these migrations have been through choice or compulsion.• But perhaps of even greater significance to postcolonial theory has been the consideration of the epistemological implications of the term –Diaspora as theory.
  • 4. • Such studies see migrancy in terms of adaptation and construction – adaptation to changes, dislocations and transformations, and the construction of new forms of knowledge and ways of seeing the world.• These “mutual transformations”, as Leela Gandhi has called them, affected colonizer and colonized, migrants as well as indigenous populations, victims and victimizers.
  • 5. Key Issues• Utopianism and its reverse, melancholia, in diaspora theory• A sense of impasse, of blocked movement, of the impossibility of logic – in human thought and condition• Theme of increasing relevance of Diasporas of Violence and Terror, in the post 9/11 world
  • 6. The key issue of utopianism and its reverse, melancholia, in diaspora theory• Eleanor Byrne’s article in Diasporic Literature and Theory – Where Now? (Ed. Mark Shackleton) traces the themes of melancholia and impasse in postcolonial and Diaspora theory.• A sense of impasse, of blocked movement, of the impossibility of logic, is understood by deconstructionists in the field as inherent in human thought, and in the human condition.• Melancholia in postcolonial psychoanalytic thinking is linked to mourning, a shuttling to and fro between the past and the present.
  • 7. The key issue of utopianism and its reverse, melancholia, in diaspora theory• Ranga Rajah’s ‘A Golden Sunset’• Mahtab Narsimha’s ‘Love,Long Distance’• Kalyani Pandya’s ‘My Sister’s Body’• Priscila Uppal’s ‘The Man Who Loved Cats’
  • 8. • “I am wondering, sitting on his wooden bench. Are you wondering what I am talking about? . . . I tried creating a picture I had imagined. But this one on the canvas looks different. There is a missing link.” (Gurmeet’s wife ‘A Golden Sunset)• Razia’s utopian dream about Zubair loving her – Ammi’s doubt breaks the cacoon – sense of melancholia for Razia – “Ammi had been right about Zubair. But I would never admit it to her… will have to come up with money. By tomorrow.” (Love, Long Journey)• Genderless narrator of ‘My Sister’s Body’ – craves for utopian happiness with his/her sister – her death – pushes him/her in remorseful melancholia.
  • 9. Diasporas of Violence and Terror• Neelam Srivastava’s article shows, the ethical question of the use of violence as central to postcolonial liberation struggles in the twentieth century.• Whereas both Mahatma Gandhi and Frantz Fanon saw the refashioning of the self as a vital part of their political decolonization programmes, they disagreed about the role that violence played in that refashioning: Gandhi famously advocates non- violence in India, whereas Fanon, based on his knowledge of the liberation struggle in Algeria, sees violence as a strategic necessity in conditions of oppression.
  • 10. • Srivastava shows how violence acquires an ethical stance in situations of colonial and neo-colonial conflict in the twentieth century, though it remains an open question whether one can truly distinguish between revolutionary ‘cleansing’ violence and the perpetuation of colonial violence in postcolonial forms.• ‘My Sister’s Body’ – allegorically represents the theme of increasing relevance of Diasporas of Violence and Terror, in the post 9/11 world.
  • 11. • Paul Gilroy in After Empire contrasts melancholic Englishness, morbidly obsessed with loss of Empire, with the convivial joyfulness associated with cultural diversity of British youth culture.• Gilroy adopts a Freudian stance in arguing that melancholic ghosts can be exorcised, which puts him out of step with most postcolonial theorizing on melancholia in which the ghosts of the past continue to make their presence felt.• This is illustrated in Priscila Uppal ‘The Man Who Loved Cats’ (retelling of King Lear, daughters remorseless engagement…)
  • 12. • “The Man Who Loved Cats died in his own bed. . . And his daughters came to the funeral, opened black umbrellas and left, and in three different cities, they care for dogs.”• The subtle symbolism in father’s love for ‘cats’ and daughters departing in different cities, caring for ‘dogs’ – is quite obvious. . . Global challenges of cultural clash can be found in plurality of cultures.
  • 13. Thank You! Wo r ks c i te d• Byrne, Eleanor. ‘Diasporic Literature & Theory, Where Now? Passing through the Impasse’.• Ember, Melvin, Carol Ember & Ian Skoggard. ‘Encyclopedia of Diasporas. Immigrant and Refugee Cultures Around the World. Springer. 2005.• Phillips, Caryl & John McLeod. ‘Diaspora and Utopia: Reading the Recent Work of Paul Gilroy’.• Shackleton, Mark. ‘Diasporic Literature and Theory – Where Now?’ Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2008.• Srivastava, Neelam. ‘Decolonizing the Self: Gandhian Non- Violence and Fanonian Violence as Comparative “Ethics of Resistance” in Kanthapura and The Battle of Algiers’.• Image courtesy: http://davidwacks.uoregon.edu/ & urbantick.blogspot.com & web.gc.cuny.edu & bowalleyroad.blogspot.com & thedailybeast.com