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Virtual Diaspora, Postcolonial Literature and Feminism



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ISBN 9781032135144
December 16, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book analyses the resolution of the psychic problem of diasporic existence from a postcolonial feminist perspective, by inscribing and defining the meaning of "virtual diaspora" through the lens of the East/India and the West. It explores the situation that arises when one leaves one’s country and becomes an emigrant/immigrant, which often causes pain both in the departure from one’s motherland and in the adaptation to a new environment.

The book employs the theory of Deleuze and Guattari and explores the interstices of real and virtual diaspora and the aftermath of diaspora as a mental journey. Adding a new interpretation of transcendence, taken from the Indian perspective, the book examines the Deleuze’s theory of immanence and transcendence and the two major concepts of "becoming" and "real/virtual." The book also examines the works of Helene Cixous, J.M. Coetzee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kunal Basu and Tagore in light of the concept of virtual diaspora and from a postcolonial feminist angle. It does so by raising the following questions: When one has emigrated to a different country, can one conceive of that existence as real or virtual or both? Do emigrants or diasporic individuals live a life of both real and virtual diaspora? This comes from the idea that both real and virtual diaspora, under different paradigms, may be related to the power struggle and master-slave dialectic that affects all of humanity.

A valuable addition to the study of postcolonial literature, the book will also be of interest to researchers in the fields of diaspora studies, postcolonial feminist theory, postcolonial literature, feminist philosophy, interdisciplinary studies and Asian Studies, in particular South Asian Studies.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction; Chapter 2. Pamela Sue Anderson and the Postcolonial Feminist Construct; Chapter 3. Lahiri’s In Other Words in Real and Virtual Diaspora; Chapter 4. Virtual Diaspora as Embodied in J.M. Coetzee’s Youth; Chapter 5. Virtual Diaspora Conceived through Japanese Wife; Chapter 6. Tagore’s Kabuliwallah—Is it a Story of Real or Virtual Diaspora or Both?; Chapter 7. Helene Cixous and Virtual Diaspora-Postcolonial Feminism; Chapter 8. Conclusion

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Author(s)

Biography

Ashmita Khasnabish, former Associate of Harvard U. Comparative Literature Department, currently teaches at Lasell University, Massachusetts, USA. A scholar of Postcolonial literature and feminist theory, she has published Negotiating Capability and Diaspora: a Philosophical Politics (2013), Humanitarian Identity and Political Sublime: Intervention of a Postcolonial Feminist (2009) and Jouissance as Ananda: Indian Philosophy, Feminist Theory and Literature (2003) and edited Postcoloniality, Diaspora and Globalization: What’s Next? (2019).

Reviews

"This is a book about the power of literary language to (re)create the space and idea of ‘home’ within the mind of the diasporic subject. Drawing on an impressive range of authors, Khasnabish’s monograph is a timely intervention that dismantles the pervasive division of world literature into politically engaged postcolonial and aesthetically innovative Western writing and challenges the lingering colonial narrative of centre versus periphery."

-Melanie Otto, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

 

"In this highly engaging work of synthesis, Khasnabish refines the painful experiences of being an immigrant into the highly generative concept of virtual diaspora, which incorporates vulnerability, longing, memory, love, and ethico-linguistic translations across national borders. She then skillfully deploys this innovative concept to further her well-established project of a vital conversation between the Indian and Western intellectual traditions." 

-Dr. Paget Henry, Professor, Sociology & Africana Studies, Brown University, USA

 

"Building on her earlier Jouissance as Ananda, Ashmita Khasnabish extends her ambitious interrelation of Indian and Western philosophy, postcolonial studies, and feminist theory. Bringing together the disparate philosophical perspectives of Gilles Deleuze, Sri Aurobindo, and the feminist philosopher Pamela Sue Anderson, Khasnabish advances a new concept of "virtual diaspora." In original readings of an eclectic series of writers, from Kalidasa and Tagore to Jhumpa Lahiri, and Hélène Cixous, she explores the ways in which love can transcend the pain of diasporic separation, a mode of connection she finds exemplified in the virtual space of world literature today."

-David Damrosch, Ernest Bernbaum Professor and Chair, Department of Comparative Literature, Director, Institute for World Literature, Harvard University, USA

 

"Khasnabish’s original category of "virtual diaspora" builds upon a Bergsonian vision of migrant memory and productively intersects "Eastern" and "Western" thought. Its compelling theoretical framework and engaging study of writing across continents (India, South Africa, France…) make the book a prolific resource for scholars in world literature, postcolonialism, diaspora studies, and beyond"

-Markus Arnold, University of Cape Town, South Africa

 

"In this book, Ashmita Khasnabish takes on an ambitious and worthy project: a search for intellectual and aesthetic means of bridging East/West dichotomies, looking for languages that do not reinforce systems of hegemony, seeking ways to stay spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually in concert with one’s country of origin, something most people separate from, whether or not they have emigrated."

Natalie McKnight, Professor of Humanities and Dean, College of General Studies, Boston University, USA