Towards an ethno-global cosmopolitanism: Self-fashioning in South Asian American women's literature
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation examines the representations of identity formation and transnational experiences of women in the literary narratives of South Asian American women writers, namely, Meena Alexander, Bharati Mukherjee, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Bapsi Sidhwa. The transnational space provides the women characters represented in the South Asian American narratives a location of identity. Using close readings of a variety of literary texts, I examine the ways in which South Asian American women endeavor to refashion a hybridized and syncretic identity. This project focuses on the intimate modes of being and becoming that ultimately sustain the diasporic female subject in the transnational space. Drawing upon diaspora theory and cultural studies of globalization, I examine the various strategies adopted by the transnational women characters for enabling survival in the diaspora. I explore how their struggle to reconcile the disparate realities of their lives and to bring them into a harmonious coexistence gives them agency. My research focuses on South Asian American women writers' representations of the human spirit that continually negotiates, reclaims, and revises modes of belonging to forge a sense of survival. Taking up the varied and specific gendered experiences of location and dislocation in the diaspora, I analyze the ways through which cultural negotiations primarily impact the formation of identities. I conclude with the affirmation that in their struggle for survival in the diasporic space, South Asian American women reconfigure an identity which is in a state of continuous flux and moves towards an ethno-global cosmopolitanism.