Special Issue "Disturbances of the Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787). This special issue belongs to the section "Literature in the Humanities".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Sarah Heinz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of English and American Studies, Universität Wien, Campus, Spitalgasse 2-4 / Hof 8.3, 1090 Wien, Austria
Interests: postcolonial literatures and cultures; critical whiteness studies; home studies
Mr. Lukas Klik
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of English and American Studies, Universität Wien, Campus, Spitalgasse 2-4 / Hof 8.3, 1090 Wien, Austria
Interests: Australian literature (in particular the contemporary Australian novel); narratology; postcolonial theory; British drama
Mr. Kevin Potter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of English and American Studies, Universität Wien, Campus, Spitalgasse 2-4 / Hof 8.3, 1090 Wien, Austria
Interests: migrant literature; critical theory; cultural studies
Dr. Tatiana Prorokova-Konrad
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of English and American Studies, Universität Wien, Campus, Spitalgasse 2-4 / Hof 8.3, 1090 Wien, Austria
Interests: war studies; ecocriticism; gender studies, race studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In our vision of the home, or of what we associate with home, we tend to conjure up images of comfort, stability, permanence, primacy, and belonging. This image extends beyond the confines of an individual house or dwelling-place, and characterizes how we tend to treat our national homeland(s), our place(s) of origin, or locales with which we identify, as something that offers the same, home-like features and the same (seemingly natural) sense of belonging. However, the mapping of home and homeland is far from self-evident and even less innocent – as is made clear in the use of homeland as home or Heimat in nationalist and populist discourses. In such essentialising discourses, home turns into a space in need of defense, a “place where one is in because an Other(s) is kept out” (George, The Politics of Home, 1999, p. 27).

In this special issue, we want to shift the perspective away from seeing home/lands as pre-existing places in need of defense, and instead turn our attention toward disturbances. Specifically, we want to investigate the role that disturbances play in both challenging naturalized notions of the home and in constructing new senses of homes and homelands. In other words, we want to draw out the fluid processes of identification, recognition, and resistance that bring home into being.

This is specifically salient in the context of postcolonial writings about home and homeland. Postcolonial authors tackle issues of shifting borders, changing cultural relations, accelerated mobility, global socio-economic crises, hierarchies, and inequalities. In such writing, home and homeland are not only questioned; they are disturbed and undermined. The notion of the disturbance enables us to explore the uses and abuses of home and homeland. After all, disturbances, by definition, render a particular situation or place (momentarily or perpetually) unstable. Thus, a disturbance makes clear how our sense of home and homeland as stable and our sense of belonging as natural continue to be dangerous illusions. Postcolonial writing calls these assumptions into question by commenting on, ridiculing, satirizing, or reconfiguring ideals of stability, belonging, and permanence. In other words, they demonstrate ways in which the homeland can be disturbed – disturbed through cultural and linguistic change, immigration, diaspora, conflict, war, economic uncertainty, and shifting power relations.

For this special issue of Humanities, we are looking for articles that demonstrate the ways in which postcolonial literatures from the 1990s onwards have reflected and represented “disturbances of the homeland.” What notions of disturbance are used in postcolonial writing to question the stability of home/land? How do authors use their texts to comment on ideals of stability, permanence, and belonging within a nation or home? How do these texts help us to imagine multiple forms of belonging, stability, and permanence? How do literary authors force us to re-evaluate the political value we assign to our home and nation? To what extent can a literary text be said to offer an aesthetic or poetic ‘disturbance’ in (national) literatures? How do literary characters embody a disturbing subject-position in relation to the home and homeland? What discursive and counter-discursive practices are mapped out in literary texts that de-legitimize and de-stabilize the power relations within (and beyond) the home?

These are some of the many questions we are aiming to address in this special issue. Authors are welcome to address wide-ranging topics that involve Anglophone postcolonial literatures. These topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Re-evaluations of home and homeland
  • Cultural hybridity in narratives of national homeland
  • Practices of doing and making home
  • Literary aesthetics that disturb ideas of homeland
  • Diaspora and migration as disturbances to the nation
  • Migrants as ‘disturbing’ figures to the homeland
  • Indigenous writings that disturb ideas of homeland and nation
  • Literature as a national counter-narrative
  • National literatures and counter-national narratives
  • Affective attachments to the home and the nation
  • Re-assessments of national memory and history in postcolonial writing

Authors are welcome to submit one article (up to 7000 words, including works cited) that relates to these topics (or other relevant topics). The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2019. Please send full articles, plus an abstract, to [email protected]. Publication is expected for the end of 2019.

Prof. Dr. Sarah Heinz
Mr. Lukas Klik
Mr. Kevin Potter
Dr. Tatiana Prorokova-Konrad
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Home and homeland
  • postcolonial literature
  • disturbance
  • nation
  • belonging and migration

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Article
Reconfiguring Home Through Travel: The Poetics of Home, Displacement and Travel in Agha Shahid Ali’s Poetry
Humanities 2020, 9(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9040127 - 24 Oct 2020
Viewed by 891
Abstract
This article seeks to examine how the Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali explores and rethinks ideas of “home” and travel in his poetry. Ali’s poetry is a layered affective terrain in which his complex, entangled emotions surrounding home, exile, nostalgia, displacement, and travel [...] Read more.
This article seeks to examine how the Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali explores and rethinks ideas of “home” and travel in his poetry. Ali’s poetry is a layered affective terrain in which his complex, entangled emotions surrounding home, exile, nostalgia, displacement, and travel play out. I argue that Ali’s verse, through multiple journeys ranging over locations, languages, cultures, and literary terrain, interrogates and collapses the boundaries between the “home” and the world. I read his poetry as voicing the “disturbed” and displaced home of Kashmir, while simultaneously distilling a “re-homing” desire. Such an impulse reconfigures and reimagines the home through the inhabiting and repeated “homing” of multiple, “foreign” locations. Poetic travel across geographic and literary terrain, in Ali’s oeuvre, thus speaks to the fraught and complex nature of the “home” in postcolonial and diasporic contexts, while remapping the home through the “re-homing” of the “foreign”. Arguing that “travel” is a means of negotiating and rethinking the “home” in Ali’s poetry, the article examines the intermeshed and dialogic relationship between home and travel that imbues his verse. Focusing particularly on poetic experimentation as a mode of travel, it aims to show how such literary travel makes new homes, while remembering and articulating Ali’s lost homes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disturbances of the Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures)
Article
Unsettling Australia: Disturbing White Settler Homemaking in Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang
Humanities 2020, 9(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9040115 - 25 Sep 2020
Viewed by 782
Abstract
Proceeding from Australia’s specific situation as a settler colony, this article discusses how the ambivalences and fissures of settler subjectivity shape processes of homemaking. Settler homemaking depends on the disturbance of Indigenous Australians’ homelands via dispossession, exclusion, and genocide, but it equally depends [...] Read more.
Proceeding from Australia’s specific situation as a settler colony, this article discusses how the ambivalences and fissures of settler subjectivity shape processes of homemaking. Settler homemaking depends on the disturbance of Indigenous Australians’ homelands via dispossession, exclusion, and genocide, but it equally depends upon the creation of a white settler subject as innocent, entitled, and belonging to what has been called ‘white indigeneity’. The article traces this double disturbance in Peter Carey’s novel True History of the Kelly Gang (2000). Carey’s rewriting of the iconic Kelly legend uncovers the dangers of a possessive, male, white indigeneity based on effacement and exclusion. The novel’s critical staging of Ned Kelly’s construction of Australia as a home for a new class of ‘natives’ challenges an essentialist white Australianness and its narratives of embattled settlement, independence, mateship, and the Bush. The novel shows that the creation of this national character is based on the denial of Aboriginal ownership and agency. Ned’s narrative of Irish victimhood and his formation of a new sense of Australianness is therefore doomed to repeat the violence, discrimination, and exclusion of colonialism that he seems to decry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disturbances of the Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures)
Article
A Tornado Hitting the Homeland: Disturbing American Foundational Myths in Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030112 - 14 Sep 2020
Viewed by 612
Abstract
Historically, the United States has always been a country of immigration. Yet, in light of recent political events, a form of nativism and sedentarism is re-emerging that seeks to preserve what is generally perceived as essentially American: an ethnically white and male identity [...] Read more.
Historically, the United States has always been a country of immigration. Yet, in light of recent political events, a form of nativism and sedentarism is re-emerging that seeks to preserve what is generally perceived as essentially American: an ethnically white and male identity that has its origins in the foundational myths of the pastoral, the frontier, and the West. The American Midwest is where the allegedly “real” America lies: it is what Anthony D. Smith has termed an 2ethnoscape”: a landscape imbued with historical and cultural meaning that has come to represent true “Americanness”. In her 1989 novel Jasmine, Bharati Mukherjee uses the figure of Jasmine, an undocumented female immigrant from India, to disrupt this traditional trope of “the West” as the perceived location of American cultural identity. She liberates the land from its national, historical, and ethnic inscriptions by subverting the very foundational myths of the pastoral, the frontier, manifest destiny, virgin land, and the melting-pot, that are so crucial to the justification of this exclusive as well as exclusionary identity… This article analyzes the processes and mechanisms through which Mukherjee liberates the landscape: Firstly, she satirizes the ideal of the American pastoral and exposes the assumption of a stable, uniquely American landscape as purely imaginative. She then subverts the notion of the global city as the ideal location of immigrants, where “the other” can be safely contained outside the homeland and instead makes the Midwest ethnoscape the space where her protagonist uproots American national identity. Through her presence in the American heartland, Jasmine disturbs and challenges naturalized notions of America and constructs a new homeland that is open for all immigrants following her. Mukherjee thus shifts the perspective away from seeing the American homeland as a pre-existing place in need of defense, and proposes a fluid understanding of home that has acquired new relevance in light of recent political events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disturbances of the Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures)
Article
Doing Motherhood, Doing Home: Mothering as Home-Making Practice in Half of a Yellow Sun
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030107 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 724
Abstract
Home and motherhood are tightly interwoven, particularly in the dominant conceptualizations of home as a physical and emotional refuge from the public world. However, a closer look into these concepts helps question the naturalization of both motherhood and home, revealing them as shaped [...] Read more.
Home and motherhood are tightly interwoven, particularly in the dominant conceptualizations of home as a physical and emotional refuge from the public world. However, a closer look into these concepts helps question the naturalization of both motherhood and home, revealing them as shaped by complex lived experiences and relations instead. I argue that such a rethinking of home and motherhood beyond essentialist discourse is prominent in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s postcolonial novel Half of a Yellow Sun. Drawing on concepts and theories from the fields of gender studies and geography, and taking into account the postcolonial, Nigerian context of the novel, I address how Adichie’s 2006 piece of historical fiction thematizes the intersection point of motherhood and home as a relational practice. Adichie provides alternative conceptualizations of motherhood and home through her focus on performative, ritualized mothering practices that also function as relational home-making practices and that stretch beyond gender and biological relations. Through the central ambivalence that emerges in the novel when the female protagonist chooses and practices a traditional mother role but simultaneously does not correspond to the dominant Nigerian ideal of a mother, Adichie destabilizes binary views of both home and of motherhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disturbances of the Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures)
Article
Psychic Unhomings, Amnesia, and the Risk of Decosmopolitanization in Damon Galgut’s The Impostor (2008)
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030105 - 07 Sep 2020
Viewed by 581
Abstract
The apartheid regime has left behind a range of chronic and structural disturbances of home/lands in contemporary South Africa. This article examines the representation of housing in Damon Galgut’s The Impostor. In this post-apartheid novel, houses feature prominently; they are not only [...] Read more.
The apartheid regime has left behind a range of chronic and structural disturbances of home/lands in contemporary South Africa. This article examines the representation of housing in Damon Galgut’s The Impostor. In this post-apartheid novel, houses feature prominently; they are not only the axle around which the plot revolves, but characters in their own right. Houses are depicted as relational and dynamic sites, invested with traumatic repressed material. By drawing on critical house studies, psychoanalysis, memory, and postcolonial studies, it will be shown that there is a strong intersection that needs to be unpacked between inhabited spaces, the mnemonic economy of the self, its displacements and unexpected flights, and the larger socio-economic and political sphere. This article argues that houses in Galgut’s novel emerge as psychological and affective contents, as symptoms of historical amnesia and displaced whiteness; characters’ psychic disturbances find fertile terrain in a country which, while parading itself as “new” and “open”, risks regressing towards new forms of “decosmopolitanization” (Appadurai). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disturbances of the Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures)
Article
The Location of Settled Diasporas in Nova Scotian Fiction
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030102 - 02 Sep 2020
Viewed by 713
Abstract
This article offers a comparative study between two novels by Nova Scotian writers: George and Rue (2006), by George Elliott Clarke, and No Great Mischief (2000), by Alistair MacLeod. The main purpose of this analysis is to transform some of the pervasive assumptions [...] Read more.
This article offers a comparative study between two novels by Nova Scotian writers: George and Rue (2006), by George Elliott Clarke, and No Great Mischief (2000), by Alistair MacLeod. The main purpose of this analysis is to transform some of the pervasive assumptions that dominate interpretations of diasporic ontologies. Most conceptual contexts of diaspora, constructed around the idea of a homeland that is located elsewhere, can only partially be applied to historically long-established communities. Clarke’s and MacLeod’s works emphasize “native” identity, the historical presence of Africans and Scots in Nova Scotia and their ensuing attachment to the (home)land. The novels illustrate how the hostland may be transformed into a homeland after centuries of settlement. The favoring of routes over roots of many current conceptualizations of the diaspora thus contravenes the foundations on which these groups construct a “native/diasporic” identity. However, in settler colonies such as Canada, identifying these groups as unequivocally native would imply the displacement of the legitimate Indigenous populations of these territories. A direct transformation from diaspora to indigenous subjectivity would entail the obliteration of a (however distant) history of migration, on the one hand, and the disavowal of Indigenous groups, on the other. For these reasons, new vocabulary needs to be developed that accurately comes to terms with this experience, which I propose to refer to as “settled diaspora.” In settled diasporas, the notions of attachment to a local identity are reconciled with having distant points of origin. At the same time, there is conceptual room to accommodate claims of belonging that differ from those by Indigenous populations. Thus, the concept of the settled diaspora redresses critical restrictions in diaspora theory that prevent discourses of migration from being applied to spaces of settlement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disturbances of the Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures)
Article
Living Suspiciously: Contingent Belonging in British South Asian Theater
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030085 - 18 Aug 2020
Viewed by 744
Abstract
This article investigates representations of national belonging in British South Asian theater productions after the 2005 London bombings. It identifies a significant yet hitherto underresearched corpus of plays that show the formation of the UK “home front” in the war on terror from [...] Read more.
This article investigates representations of national belonging in British South Asian theater productions after the 2005 London bombings. It identifies a significant yet hitherto underresearched corpus of plays that show the formation of the UK “home front” in the war on terror from the perspective of postcolonial subjects who are deemed threatening rather than worthy of protection. After discussing the construction of British South Asian citizens as suspicious subjects, the article analyzes two plays that offer an extensive consideration of the contingencies of national belonging. It argues that True Brits by Vinay Patel and Harlesden High Street by Abhishek Majumdar dramatize strategies for building, making, or keeping a home in London in spite of the strictures of suspectification and securitization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disturbances of the Home/land in Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures)
Back to TopTop