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"I am walking in my city": The Production of Locality in Githa Hariharan’s In Times of Siege, Vikram Chandra’s Love and Longing in Bombay, and Amit Chaudhuri’s Freedom Song
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

At the center of this study are three Indian novels with an urban setting and dealing with political and social issues of the 1990s: Githa Hariharan’s In Times of Siege (2003), Vikram Chandra’s Love and Longing in Bombay (1997) and Amit Chaudhuri’s Freedom Song (1998). The Delhi of In Times of Siege is portrayed as a city infused with power but haunted by a troubled past that is brought to the present by a dissenting professor of history. The Bombay of Love and Longing in Bombay is also a haunted city, but is primarily imagined as a narrative locality in which storytelling is central to both the narrative and the city. The Calcutta of Freedom Song is explored through a resident family, blurring the distinctions between the home and the city. The three novels all negotiate an increasingly sectarian environment.

The three cities of the novels are explored through the framework of anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s concept of the production of locality, which sees place as a value and a dimension of social life. By approaching the cities in the novels through locality, it is possible to discern how the authors construct place as meaningful. This study thus extends the anthropological concept of locality into literature, addressing the specific strategies through which the authors portray and create their respective cities. Key concepts explored in the novels include agency, haunting, storytelling, and memory.

Abstract [en]

Baksidestext

At the center of this study are three Indian novels with an urban setting and dealing with political and social issues of the 1990s: Githa Hariharan’s In Times of Siege (2003), Vikram Chandra’s Love and Longing in Bombay (1997) and Amit Chaudhuri’s Freedom Song (1998). The Delhi of In Times of Siege is portrayed as a city infused with power but also haunted by a troubled past. The Bombay of Love and Longing in Bombay is primarily imagined as a narrative locality in which storytelling is central. The Calcutta of Freedom Song is explored through a resident family, blurring the distinctions between the home and the city. The three novels all negotiate an increasingly sectarian environment.

The three cities of the novels are explored through the framework of anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s concept of the production of locality, which sees place as a value and a dimension of social life. By approaching the cities through locality, it is possible to discern how the authors construct place as meaningful. This study thus extends the anthropological concept of locality into literature, addressing the specific strategies through which the authors portray and create their respective cities. Key concepts explored in the novels include agency, haunting, storytelling, and memory.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling behandlar tre indiska romaner vilka utspelar sig i städer och fokuserar på de politiska och sociala konflikterna under 1990-talet: Githa Hariharans In Times of Siege (2003), Vikram Chandras Love and Longing in Bombay (1997) och Amit Chaudhuris Freedom Song (1998). Delhi i In Times of Siege porträtteras som en politisk stad hemsökt av det förflutna vilket påverkar nutiden. Bombay i Love and Longing in Bombay är också delvis hemsökt, men framförallt framställt som en stad i vilken berättandet är centralt. I Freedom Song blir gränsen mellan hem och stad diffus genom det sätt på vilket en familj gestaltar Calcutta. De tre romanerna behandlar alla en alltmer sekteristisk tid.

Avhandlingens analys bygger på antropologen Arjun Appadurais begrepp the production of locality, dvs. hur känslan av plats skapas. ”Locality” är ett begrepp som täcker in en plats kapacitet att också ha ett värde och vara en social konstruktion. Genom att använda the production of locality är det möjligt att utforska hur författarna konstruerar plats som något meningsbärande. Denna avhandling vidgar det antropologiska begreppets användningsområde till att innefatta litteratur och används för att identifiera de strategier genom vilka författarna porträtterar och skapar sina respektive städer. Dessa strategier bygger på nyckelbegreppen agens, hemsökelse, berättande och minne.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2014. , 161 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2014:36
Keyword [en]
Arjun Appadurai, Githa Hariharan, Vikram Chandra, Amit Chaudhuri, the production of locality, work of the imagination, agency, haunting, storytelling, secularism, Indian English literature, cities.
National Category
Specific Literatures
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-32160ISBN: 978-91-7063-569-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-32160DiVA: diva2:719609
Public defence
2014-09-20, 12A 138, Universitetsgatan 2, Karlstad, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-05-26 Last updated: 2014-08-29Bibliographically approved

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