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Smudge on an Illuminated Manuscript: a Postcolonial Reading of Shalimar the Clown

Javaid Bhat, University of Kashmir

Abstract:

This Paper begins with Timothy Brennan’s riposte to Amir Mehmud and Sara Suleri, underlining, simultaneously, the problem of Post colonialism as described by Brennan. His rather hasty definition is used to underscore the different postcolonial propensity in Pachigam, a fictional village created by Salman Rusdie in the novel Shalimar the Clown (henceforth SC). This village is posited as hybrid, fluid, and a space marked by difference. It is a typical but not an unproblematic post colonial space, one which Brennan ignores in his categorical definition of post colonialism. Finally, the essay highlights the essentially ambiguous relationship of Pachigam, a microcosm of Kashmir, with the larger ‘postcolonial’, ‘post-imperial’ entities of India and Pakistan.

Stillness of star-less nights: Afghan Women’s Poetry of Exile

Rumpa Das, Maheshtala College, South 24 Parganas, India

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 Abstract

Contemporary English poetry by Afghan women presents a remarkable reading experience. Critical explorations, at ease with post-colonial conditions, minority solitude and feminist readings, have largely remained inimical to the unique, yet chequered history that women poets such as Zohra Saed, Sahar Muradi, Sara Hakeem, Fatana Jahangir Ahrary, Fevziye Rahzigar Barlas and Donia Gobar document in their works. Most of them write in their native Dari and Pushtun languages as well as in English and often their English compositions have smatterings of their native tongues. Even though individual experiences differ, these women delve into the collective memory of oppression, pain and unrest to give vent to their feelings, and seek to reach out towards a sorority of shared angst. This paper seeks to explore the complex cultural contexts which have given birth to Afghan women’s poetry in exile.

Healing through Hip Hop in the Slums of Phnom Penh Cambodia

Romi Grossberg, Independent Researcher and Performance Activist , Australia

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Abstract

Local non-government organisation ‘Tiny Toones’ is the first and only of its kind in Cambodia, to use hip hop to engage with, and empower the most disadvantaged children and youth in Phnom Penh. Working with young people from backgrounds of drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution, gang life, family violence and extreme poverty, it offers creative arts alongside education and life skills. Teaching life lessons through break-dance, hip hop dance, lyric writing, rapping, and art, Tiny Toones ‘speaks street’ to those that need it most, empowering them to believe in themselves, trust themselves and make better choices about their futures. The staff and students of Tiny Toones are living proof of how the creative arts can be used to change lives and free young people from their past.

Drama and the Politics of Climate Change in Nigeria: A Critical Appraisal of Greg Mbajiorgu’s Wake Up Everyone

Norbert Oyibo Eze, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka

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 Abstract

Johnny Igbonekwu observes that ‘an obvious primal instinctive human quest” is to “conquer the world” but he equally notes that man has not been able to achieve this goal, in spite of his “formidable intellectual assaults on the multifarious stupendous mysteries of the world” (Talk About Man 1). The quest for all manner of domination-economic, political, territorial, and spatial, etc, has driven man into invention and mindless application of technology which in choking nature, cause it to frequently retaliate through global warming, tsunami, landslide, erosion, and flooding of different dimensions. The constant decimation of human lives, businesses, buildings, and municipal services as well as the emergence of perturbing diseases owing to these palpable effects of natural disaster, force the issue of climate change to occupy a significant place in the world of environmental studies and research. This paper seeks to explain the place of drama in tackling the problem of climate change through a detailed analysis and interpretation of Greg Mbajiorgu’s Wake Up Everyone considered to be a giant impact assessment study and provocative wake-up call.

Kittens in the Oven: Race Relations, Traumatic Memory, and the Search for Identity in Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

Natalie Carter, George Washington University, USA

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Abstract

The search for an ever-elusive home is a thread that runs throughout much literature by authors who have immigrated to the United States.  Dominican authors are particularly susceptible to this search for a home because “for many Dominicans, home is synonymous with political and/or economic repression and is all too often a point of departure on a journey of survival” (Bonilla 200).  This “journey of survival” is a direct reference to the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, who controlled the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. The pain and trauma that Trujillo inflicted upon virtually everyone associated with the Dominican Republic during this era is still heartbreakingly apparent, and perhaps nowhere is that trauma more thoroughly illustrated than in the literature of Julia Alvarez.  Alvarez is a prime example of an author who utilizes narrative in a clear attempt to come to grips with lingering traumatic memories.  After her father’s role in an attempt to overthrow the dictator is revealed, Alvarez’s family is forced to flee the Dominican Republic as political exiles, and a sense of displacement has haunted her since.  Because both the Dominican Republic and the United States are extraordinary racially charged, concepts of home and identity are inextricably bound to race relations in much of Alvarez’s art.  Using theoretical concepts drawn from the fields of trauma studies and Black cultural studies, this essay examines Alvarez’s debut novel in order to illustrate the myriad ways in which culture, politics, and race converge and speak through each other, largely in the form of traumas that can irreparably alter one’s sense of home, voice, and identity.

Re-narrating Globalization: Hybridity and Resistance in Amores Perros, Santitos and El Jardín del Edén

Brent Smith, University of New Mexico, USA

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Abstract

This paper explores the articulation of resistance to neoliberal globalization in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros, Alejandro Springall’s Santitos and Maria Novaro’s El Jardín del Edén.  I argue that this resistance is enunciated within what Homi Bhabha terms ‘Third Space’, the in-between space of cultural translation and negotiation where notions of an essential national identity are destroyed and a contingent and indeterminate hybrid identity is constructed. Speaking from this hybrid space, these films employ Western cinematic conventions to construct narratives of the disjunctive experience of postcolonial time and space that disrupt the dominant temporality and imaginative geography of Western grand narratives of historical progress and global economic development, while at the same time deterritorializing the space and time of national imagining.

México de afuera in Northern Missouri: The Creation of Porfiriato Society in America’s Heartland

Craig Dennison,Westminster College, USA

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Abstract

This essay examines the ideology of México de afuera in the novel La patria perdida by Teodoro Torres.  Torres, who fled Mexico after the onset of the Mexican Revolution, found a job as lead editor of La Prensa, the successful Spanish-language newspaper owned by Ignacio Lozano.  Living in San Antonio during the 1910s, Torres became familiar with the ideology of México de afuera before returning to Mexico.  His novel, which begins in northern Missouri, follows the return of Luis Alfaro to his homeland only to discover that he feels more at home, more in Mexico, on his farm north of Kansas City.  When studying the work and the life of Torres, the plot of this novel become problematic.  A man who lived in the United States for nine years before returning to Mexico, Torres certainly had the insight to provide psychological and emotional analyses of the immigrants and the understanding to write about the thoughts and feelings that many had experienced upon their return to the homeland.  Yet, why does Torres, who had returned to Mexico and done well for himself for over a decade before he penned this novel, invent an immigrant utopia on a farm in Missouri?  It is not a question that is easily answered, but after examining Torres’s life, the basic tenets of México de afuera and the novel itself, a conclusion can be reached.  Torres idolized Porfiriato society and Luis Alfaro’s farm is an idealized version of fin-de-siècle Mexico.

Political Economy, Alexander Von Humboldt, and Mexico’s 1810 and 1910 Revolutions

José Enrique Covarrubias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico

 Richard Weiner,Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA

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 Introduction

2010 is a significant year in Mexico since it is the centennial of the 1910 Revolution and the bicentennial of the 1810 Revolution for independence.[i] Next year will also be historic since it will mark the bicentennial of the publication of Alexander von Humboldt’s highly influential 1811 study about Mexico, Ensayo político sobre el reino de la Nueva España.  One of the novel features of this article is that it examines the ties between Humboldt’s famous 1811 work and Mexico’s Revolutions of 1810 and 1910. While Humboldt’s impact has been stressed for the independence era, it has been entirely unnoticed for the 1910 Revolution. By showing Humboldt’s enduring influence, this essay will demonstrate an important connection between the two Revolutions that has been overlooked. While Humboldt remained prominent throughout, the discourse about him varied significantly in the 1810 and 1910 Revolutions. Additionally, this essay will suggest that Humboldt’s influence during the age of the 1810 Revolution was more complex and varied than conventional wisdom—which emphasizes his contribution to the idea of Mexico as a land of vast natural abundance—acknowledges.[ii]

Finding the voice of the Peasant: Agriculture, Neocolonialism and Mulk Raj Anand’s Punjab trilogy

Jonathan Highfield, Rhode Island School of Design, Rhode Island, USA

 Abstract

Mulk Raj Anand’s Punjab trilogy–The Village (1939), Across the Black Waters (1940), and The Sword and the Sickle (1942)–speaks directly to the destruction of traditional agricultural systems under colonial rule and the absorption of the agricultural goods and human labor of India into a global economic system. The Punjab trilogy traces the life of a character searching for another India, an India free of oppression, misery, and classism. Lalu Singh looks at the situation in the Punjab from an ever-widening orbit, only to recognize that global movements devalue the very people they purport to help. In the end he rejects theory for action, returning to the peasant society he fled as a youth. His decision has resonance in the twenty-first century as formerly colonized regions face the neocolonial onslaught of biopiracy and genetic trait control technologies.

The Essentials of Indianness: Tolerance and Sacrifice in Indian Partition Fiction in English and in English Translation

Basudeb Chakraborti, University of Kalyani

Abstract

Indian Partition fiction, on the one hand, records man’s bestiality and savagery and on the other, attests to the fact that man is essentially sincere, committed to upholding humanity to survive and sustain itself.  The paper contends to examine the fundamental goodness of some characters, which the Indian tradition underlines. By analyzing certain characters from Chaman Nahal’s Azadi, Khuswant Singh’s Train to Pakistan, Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy-Man, Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas, Saadat Hasan Manto’s short stories and two Indian films, Mr. and Mrs. Iyar, directed by Aparna Sen and Meghe Dhaka Tara by Ritwik Ghatak, the writer tries to bring home the truth that frenzy of insanity is not final and amidst the pall of darkness and threats of insanity, there is a ray of hope.

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