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CTE Series 2, Seminar 5: Writing Memory (20 October 2021, 2-3pm BST)

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Culture, Things, and Empire: Series Two, ‘Remembering Empire’. Seminar 5: Writing Memory (20 October 2021, 2-3pm BST)

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Our second series contains five seminars, each one based on a particular theme, which will take place every month consecutively between June 2021 and October 2021. Each speaker will present their 10 minute paper followed by a response to both papers by their respondents. Group discussion, questions and comments will take place in the time remaining.

Anindita Shome (Centre for the Study of Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad) Virtual Retellings of the South Asian Diaspora Narratives: A Study of the Online Spaces of South Asian Diasporic Histories and Stories

Abstract:

The South Asian diaspora communities have emerged out of the colonial and postcolonial migratory trends from South Asia to different parts of the world. The South Asian diaspora is tied together in the host nations due to their shared histories and cultures, along with the reinforcement of their distinct homeland identities. Literary representations, non-fictional narratives, archives, oral histories, cultural practices and forms, have all been playing a significant part in reinforcing the migratory histories and present trends of the South Asian diaspora. With the dawn of the Internet and unprecedented technologies of communication and dissemination of information, several virtual spaces have been contributing to keep the South Asian immigrant histories and stories alive.

This paper would undertake a study and analysis of the virtual pages which act as digital repositories of the rich and diverse histories of the South Asian diaspora. Selected pages such as- Moving People Changing Places, SAADA, and Komagata Maru - Continuing the Journey: Canada, would be studied to understand how these online spaces can act as the newer diasporic “Third Space”, where binaries between the Global North and Global South are contested. These virtual spaces also remind, in the contemporary times of backlash against immigrants, the role of South Asian immigrants, as well as of other immigrant communities, in the construction of the adopted/host land, a land where they remain “outsiders”, even decades after their movement and settlement. This paper, thus, would try to understand if these virtual South Asian diaspora archives could be considered as postcolonial archives that narrate diasporic histories and stories of hybridity, host nation hegemony, narratives of exclusion in the adopted lands.

Bio:

Anindita Shome is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Centre for the Study of Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad, India. Her research interests lie in the literary and socio-cultural aspects of the South Asian migration and diaspora from the pre-modern times to the contemporary era.

Sarah Quesada (Duke University) Reading Sites, Visiting Texts: Tomás Rivera’s Site of Memory of the British Scramble for the Congo

Abstract:

In both studies on the Global South and World Literature, US Latino writing has been overlooked when it comes to discourses around Britain’s 19th century “scramble for Africa” in traditional South-South axes. Moreover, from African Diaspora discourses such as Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic (1993) to Latino studies tradition of “Indigeneity” focused on American-Indian origins, the effects of a British colonization connected to a plantocracy in the US Southwest dismisses the African archive contained in two of the most prominent Mexican-American writers of the last fifty years: Rudolfo Anaya and Tomás Rivera. This interdisciplinary essay-in-progress will focus on the latter, in which a British “scramble for Africa” haunts Rivera’s poem “Searching at Leal Middle School,” as he evokes Henry M. Stanley and David Livingstone. Pairing up Rivera’s memorialization of the specter of British imperialism in the Congo with physical memorialization along the UNESCO Slave Route (in both the Congo and Malawi), I argue that both Rivera’s poem and physical sites of memory are mutually constitutive of a rehabilitation of a Congo-Latino connection. If Stanley’s discourse distorted the Congo imaginary in his coined “Darkest Africa,” this essay also reveals the ways in which Rivera’s poem functions as a textual memorial that reads against British imperial history.

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Organiser of CTE Series 2, Seminar 5: Writing Memory (20 October 2021, 2-3pm BST)

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