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Reading: The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging - Chapter 5 - Nomadic Belonging: Amal Sewtohul’s ...

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The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging - Chapter 5 - Nomadic Belonging: Amal Sewtohul’s Histoire d’Ashok et d’autres personnages de moindre importance and Made in Mauritius.

Author:

Julia Waters

University of Reading, GB
About Julia
Julia Waters is Professor of Contemporary Literature in French at the University of Reading, Great Britain. Her research interests include twentieth-century and contemporary French & Francophone literature; Francophone cultures of the Indian Ocean, especially Mauritius; women’s writing in French, especially Marguerite Duras and Ananda Devi; feminist & postcolonial theory. Her main publications include: The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging (Liverpool University Press, 2018); Duras and Indochina: Postcolonial Perspectives (SFPS Critical Studies in Postcolonial Literature and Culture, 2006); (ed.), ‘L’ici et l’ailleurs’: Postcolonial Literatures of the Francophone Indian Ocean. E-france: an Online Journal of French Studies, vol 2 (2008); and (with Adalgisa Giorgio, eds), Women's writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy. (Cambridge Scholars, 2007).
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Abstract

This chapter examines how Sewtohul’s novels attempt to give creative form to the ambiguous national slogan of ‘unity in diversity’ in a context of ongoing mobility and global migration. Drawing on Braidotti’s theoretical opposition between nomadic and sedentary relations to place, the chapter analyses how the novel’s iconoclastic ‘images of communion’ (Anderson) assert, in content and form, a paradoxical sense of nomadic belonging to Mauritius. Rejecting ethnic homogeneity and sedentary relationship to land as the traditional bases of collective identity, the characters of Sewtohul’s novels are portrayed as becoming Mauritian precisely because of their common displacement, mobility and rootlessness. Sewtohul’s fictions of rootless, free-floating Mauritian belonging, I argue, embody a quintessentially nomadic ‘desire to suspend all attachment to established discourses’, including those of nation, community and communion.
How to Cite: Waters, J., 2018. The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging - Chapter 5 - Nomadic Belonging: Amal Sewtohul’s Histoire d’Ashok et d’autres personnages de moindre importance and Made in Mauritius.. Modern Languages Open, DOI: http://doi.org/10.3828/mlo.v0i0.261
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Published on 30 Nov 2018.
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