Abstract

This article investigates contemporary South African Indian fiction in order to examine how this literature gives rise to new ways of thinking about South African culture. The dramatic changes that South Africa has experienced in recent years have prompted fresh ways of understanding its cultural history, which move beyond ideas based on difference, into ideas based on integration. South African Indian fiction offers a different lens through which to view the tangled and complex forms of interdependency that mark both South African and transnational cultures more broadly. I read South African Indian fiction as a model for an intellectually integrated cultural formation. Instead of focusing on ideas of embodiment and difference, South African Indian fiction pivots on the conception of race as a social category shaped by its historical routes. South African Indian fiction explores the movement of Indians to South Africa during the nineteenth century, covering issues of migration, diaspora, transnationalism, hybridity, difference, cultural undecidability, and a blurring of boundaries in the postapartheid fiction of Imraan Coovadia, Achmat Dangor, Farida Karodia, Beverley Naidoo, Shamin Sarif, and Ishtiyaq Shukri. I argue that these narratives focus on the tensions between race, place, and history in a South African and a transnational context in a way that suggests revisions to current postcolonial theory.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 1-16
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-22
Open Access
No
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