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Dress as metaphor in diasporic fiction

Dress as metaphor in diasporic fiction

Begum, Yasmin (2018) Dress as metaphor in diasporic fiction. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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This thesis examines the significance of dress in literary constructions of gendered, especially female, diasporic identities and examines patterns of dressing as strategies that allow for engagement with a grander narrative that takes into consideration history and politics, mapped through changes in dress, during and post colonisation. The thesis is primarily concerned with the metaphorical uses of dress in literary, political and cultural discourses. More broadly, the thesis is concerned with how shifts in style, as presented in literature, reflect and inform transitions in social structures in South Asia, and its diasporic communities, in the aftermath of colonialism and in the contemporary context of transnationalism. Writers examined span the colonial period to the twenty-first century and are drawn from a broad geographical range; their texts inform an understanding of dressing patterns as politically, socially and historically constructed across time, geography and literature. I first establish a theoretical framework with which to explore the contexts for modes of dressing and their literary and cultural representation. Chapter one provides a history of South Asian dress to illustrate how the notion of cultural authenticity is problematised through an understanding of centuries of exchange and the hybrid forms of colonial encounters. In subsequent chapters, I examine the work of Santha Rama Rau, in particular her memoir Home to India (1945), and the dilemma in articulating Indian identity. Attia Hosain’s Sunlight on a Broken Column (1961) reveals an emerging, modernist feminism at the juncture of Indian independence. Chapters four and five focus on diasporic communities in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2003) and Nadeem Aslam’s Maps for Lost Lovers (2004) and representations of conflict, identity and dress. Finally, Kamila Shamsie’s novels are considered in chapter six as contributions to a world literature that attempts to transcend the enduring colonial legacy of constructed and debilitating nationalisms.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fiction; literary criticism; gender; identity; political and cultural discourse; metaphor; dress
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2019 15:49

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