Abstract

This essay examines Monica Ali’s Brick Lane’s tactics of cultural preservation, both dominant and minor, that routinely frame biologically inflected claims about migrant belonging in Britain. Working within and against theories of biopolitics, I trace how the novel is implicated in public discourses about the cultural demands of citizenship for migrants to Britain who are often mired in an irreducibly corporeal shadow language. Rather than social constructs, the uproar surrounding the publication of Brick Lane divulges the extent to which cultural claims about race, language, assimilation, and authenticity remain anchored in naturalized identity claims about what it means for former colonial migrants to belong in Britain today.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-658X
Print ISSN
0026-7724
Pages
pp. 503-528
Launched on MUSE
2012-09-28
Open Access
No
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