This innovatively organized volume brings together reflections on crisis and community in South Asia by some of the most important authors and scholars writing about the Indian subcontinent today.
The various pieces, including the foreword, the poetic interludes, the nine different essays on a range of topics, as well as the afterword, all seek to understand the precarious state of our planet and its population, and the ways to resist – through both writing and teaching – the forces that render us vulnerable; to create "care communities" in which we look out for, and after, each other on egalitarian rather than authoritarian terms. Turning to literary and cultural criticism in precarious times reveals the immense value of the humanities, including volumes such as this one. This collection is a significant intervention in the on-going global conversation on precarity, vulnerability, and suffering, not only because these issues have preoccupied the human race through the ages, but also because our present moment – the now – is characterized by pervasive hazard that writers, readers, teachers, and humanists must call out, talk and write about, and thus resist.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal South Asian Review.
Table of Contents
Pradyumna S. Chauhan
Guest Editor’s Column: Precarities, Resistance, and Care Communities in South Asia
Poetic Interlude I: After the Deluge
Homi K. Bhabha
Section I - Bodies That Do Not Matter: Gender and Sexual Precarity
1. Brooms of Doom: Notes on Domestic Bodies Gendered to Death in Mughal-e-Azam, Fire, and Earth
Rahul K. Gairola
2. Post-Magic: The Female Naxalite at 50 in Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and Neel Mukherjee’s A State of Freedom
3. The Ethics of Representation and the Figure of the Woman: The Question of Agency in Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s "Can the Subaltern Speak?"
Section II - In A Class of Their Own: Belaboring Precarity
4. The Literary Lumpen: The Naksha Narratives of Binoy Ghosh
5. "No One in the House Knew Her Name": Servant Problems in R. K. Narayan’s Short Stories
Poetic Interlude II: Spaces
Section III - Region and Religion: Eco-Migrant and Minority Precarity
6. Precarity and Resistance in Oceanic Literature
7. Representing the "Other": Minority Discourse in the Postcolonial Indian English Novel
Section IV - Teaching Troubles: The Pedagogy of Precarity
8. Teaching Precarity, Resistance, and Community: Rohini Mohan’s The Seasons of Trouble and Genocide Pedagogy
Colleen Lutz Clemens
9. Teaching Beyond Empathy: The Classroom As Care Community
Poetic Interlude III: Birds Come After Me
Afterword: Precarious Futures, Precarious Pasts: Climate, Terror, and Planetarity
Pallavi Rastogi is Associate Professor of English at Louisiana State University, USA. She has written two books: Postcolonial Disaster and Afrindian Fictions and is also the co-editor of the volume, Before Windrush. She has authored various articles on South Asian and Southern African literature.