From_Diaspora_to_Multi-Locality

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					From Diaspora to Multi-Locality:
     Writing British-Asian
            Cities


 Drs Seán McLoughlin, William Gould,
     Ananya Kabir, Emma Tomalin
          University of Leeds

www.leeds.ac.uk/writingbritishasiancities
                          Overview
• 1) From Diaspora to Multi-Local Spaces?

• 2) The Network

• 3) Methodological Reflections

• 4) Poetics & Politics of Writing Culture

• 5) Cities: Dynamics
       1) From Diaspora to Multi-Local
                  Spaces?
• Study of locality & place in UK key aspects of South Asian migration
  since 1960s. Distinctive disciplinary traditions. Frame of nation-state.

• New work on diasporic cultural production (Sharma et al, 1996). Post-
  colonial critique. Black Atlantic to Transl-Asia (Kaur & Kalra, 1996).

• Translation creates new glocal vernacular spaces. BrAsian landscapes?
  Sayyid, 2006 - ‘not yet its own name’. Transformed by conjoining?

• But none yet sought to reflect on the rooted dynamics of multiple
  BrAsian or TranslAsian locations (limits of vocabularies)…

    – specific localities & regions people have migrated to / from…
    – new circuits & imaginaries beyond multi-local nodes of diaspora.
                        2) The Network
• To explore the divergent local, multi-local and trans-local dynamics of
  five ‘British-Asian’ cities

• To examine changing representations of cities & (public) identities,
  1960s - 2000s

• To consider how written by different genres: e.g. ethnography;
  local/oral history; literary/cultural production; media; official reports.

• To reflect upon (multi)disciplinary perspectives.

• To consider differently located/empowered ‘insiders’/ ‘outsiders’,
  scholars/civil society/cultural /community

• Steering committee including non-academics; city events in community
  centres & restaurants; symposium; web; book.
          3) Methodological Reflections
• Not new research but reflexive critiques of what already written, the
  discourses of representation through which power diffused & contested

• Which cities / regions did we pick & why? Major conurbations of
  settlement. Usual suspects? Hegemony of Englishness.

• Dominance of ethnic & religious groups in certain cities / parts of
  cities. What of minorities within minorities?

• Structure of public events also created closures e.g. around gender.

• Focus on English language rather than vernaculars. Marked insiders &
  outsiders. And different public spheres, e.g. national, diasporic, etc.

• Need to probe relationship between self-positionings & perceptions of
  authors/artists. Authenticity? Resist or reinforce dominant discourses?
 4) Poetics & Politics of Writing Culture
• Changing dominant discourses about a city / region. Workshops of the
  world to global cities? Regeneration, riots, tourism & cohesion.

• Political economy of publication, production, distribution? Markets?
  Audiences? ‘North-South’ divide.

• Gaze, stereotype & mainstreaming in literature, film. Consuming the
  exotic & pushing for integration. ‘Asian cool’ v ‘war on terror’?

• Who writes? Uneven. Class, gender, etc. Also, what is written & not
  written - sexual politics, transgressions, etc.

• Beyond texts? Empowering representations of identity in diverse
  cultural productions & performances e.g. music, dance, art, etc.
        5) Cities: Dynamics & Writing
• Configuring City Dynamics?
   – Response to challenges of post-industrial restructuring
   – Size & location of city, relations to other cities
   – Predominance, concentration of ethnic / religious
     groups
   – Cultural capital
     5) The Cities: Dynamics & Writing
• Bradford: Mumtaz Restaurant
   – Northern wool town. Conservatism & radicalism. Mirpuris,
     Manningham, mobilisation. Bradford 12, Honeyford, Rushdie.
• Tower Hamlets: Kobi Nazrul Centre
   – Eastenders in global Olympic city. Sylheti seamen & Brick Lane.
     Baul singers & East London mosque. GLC & after.
• Greater Manchester: Indus Restaurant
   – North-South split: Pakistanis in cotton & the rag trade; from riots
     in Oldham to mixing it up on Curry Mile.
• Leicester: Peepul Centre
   – Model of cohesion? Majority minority city. Gujeratis & East
     African Twice Migrants. Imperial Typewriters. Diwali & Golden
     Mile
• Birmingham: Nishkam Centre
   – The second city. Bhangra & Balti. Handsworth & Sparkbrook,
     Punjabi Sikhs & Muslims. Indian Workers Association.

				
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