Postcolonial Urban Outcasts: City Margins in South Asian Literature, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Postcolonial Urban Outcasts

City Margins in South Asian Literature, 1st Edition

Edited by Madhurima Chakraborty, Umme Al-wazedi


282 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138677234
pub: 2016-11-01
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pub: 2016-10-14
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Extending current scholarship on South Asian Urban and Literary Studies, this volume examines the role of the discontents of the South Asian city. The collection investigates how South Asian literature and literature about South Asia attends to urban margins, regardless of whether the definition of margin is spatial, psychological, gendered, or sociopolitical. That cities are a site of profound paradoxes is nowhere clearer than in South Asia, where urban areas simultaneously represent both the frontiers of globalization as well as the deeply troubling social and political inequalities of the global south. Additionally, because South Asian cities are defined by the palimpsestic confluence of, among other things, colonial oppression, anticolonial nationalism, postcolonial governance, and twenty-first century transnational capital, they are sites where the many faces of empowerment and disempowerment are elaborated. The volume brings together essays that emphasize myriad critical approaches—geospatial, urban-theoretical, diasporic, subaltern, and others. United in their critical empathy for urban outcasts, the chapters respond to central questions such as: What is the relationship between the politico-economic narratives of globally emerging South Asian cities and the dispossessed? How do South Asian cities stand in relationship to the nation and, conversely, how might South Asians in diaspora construct these cities within larger narratives of development, globalization, or as sources of authentic ethnic identities? How is the very skeleton—the space, the territory—of South Asian cities marked with and by exclusionary politics? How do the aesthetic and formal choices undertaken by writers determine the potential for and limit to emancipation of urban outcasts from their oppressive circumstances? Considering fiction, nonfiction, comics, and genre fiction from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka; literature from the twentieth and the twenty-first century; and works that are Anglophone and those that are in translation, this book will be valuable to a range of disciplines.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Madhurima Chakraborty

Section One: Urban Outcasts, Urban Subalterns

1. Recasting the Outcast: Hyderabadi Subjectivities in Two Literary Texts

Nazia Akhtar

2. The Margins of Postcolonial Urbanity: Reading Critical Irrealism in Nabarun Bhattacharya’s Fiction

Sourit Bhattacharya

3. "Someone called India": Urban Space and the Tribal Subject in Mahasweta Devi’s "Douloti

the Bountiful"

Jay Rajiva

4. "Stuck at Pause": Representations of the Comatose City in Delhi Calm

Amit Baishya

Section Two: The National, The Global, and the Diaspora

5. Unmoored: Passing, Slumming, and Return-Writing in New India

Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan

6. Lahore, Lahore Aye: Bapsi Sidhwa and Mohsin Hamid’s City Fictions

Claire Chambers

7. Between Aspiration and Imagination: Exploring Native-Cosmopolitanism in Adib

Khan’s Spiral Road and Mohammad Hanif’s Our Lady of Alice Bhatti

Payel Chattopadhyay Mukherjee, Arnapurna Rath and Koshy Tharakan

8. Portrayal of a Dystopic Dhaka: On Diaspora Reproductions of Bangladeshi Urbanity

Maswood Akhter

Section Three: The Space of the Margins

9. Imag(in)ing the city: A Study of Ahmed Ali’s Twilight in Delhi

Nishat Haider

10. Gendering Place and Possibility in Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence and Kavery

Nambisan’s A Town Like Ours

Lauren J. Lacey and Joy E. Ochs

11. Delhi at the Margins: Heterotopic Imagination, Bricolage, and Alternative Urbanity in Trickster City

Sanjukta Poddar

Section Four: Forms of Urban Outcasting

12. Carl Muller’s Palimpsestic Urban Elegy in Colombo: A Novel

Maryse Jayasuriya

13. The fiction of Anosh Irani: the magic of a traumatized community

Kelly A. Minerva

14. New Capital? Representing Bangalore in Recent Crime Fiction

Anna Guttman

About the Editors

Madhurima Chakraborty is Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Literature in the Department of English, Columbia College Chicago, USA.

Umme Al-wazedi is Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature in the Department of English and Co-Program Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Augustana College, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures

Edited in collaboration with the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, University of Kent at Canterbury, Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures presents a wide range of research into postcolonial literatures by specialists in the field. Volumes concentrate on writers and writing originating in previously (or presently) colonized areas, and include material from non-anglophone as well as anglophone colonies and literatures.

Part of our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections, this series considers postcolonial literature alongside topics such as gender, race, ecology, religion, politics, and science. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics. Series editors: Donna Landry and Caroline Rooney

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Politics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban