Diasporic Imaginaries: Memory and Negotiation of Belonging in South African and East African Indian Narratives


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


The proposed project rigorously re-examines critical issues that are raised by my doctoral research, with the aim of challenging and extending the scholarship on Indian/Asian experiences in South Africa and East Africa as constructed in selected literary narratives from the two locations. The project grapples with the question of how history is retrospectively constituted in the narratives from specific enunciating moments to advance claims of citizenship and legitimation and to make sense of Asian/Indian marginality in diasporic sites across the continent and in the global north. Focusing on works that imagine key moments in the histories of these regions, the project treats the narratives explored as products of their time of emergence and, as such, as self-consciously political. For a more productive reading, it emphasises how the narratives, in imagining Africa, depict the local, without losing sight of the narratives' diasporic, transnational and global dimensions.