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    Biopolitics, Borders and the Populations of Literary Space in Two Post-millennial Black British Novels: Abdulrazak Gurnah’s By the Sea and Andrea Levy’s The Long Song


    Ryan, Marie-Therese (2016) Biopolitics, Borders and the Populations of Literary Space in Two Post-millennial Black British Novels: Abdulrazak Gurnah’s By the Sea and Andrea Levy’s The Long Song. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This project is an analysis of biopolitics, populations and space in two post-millennial black British novels: Adbulrazak Gurnah’s By the Sea (2001) and Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (2010). In chapter one, I examine the regulation and control of migrant and asylum seeker populations in twenty-first century Britain in By the Sea. The novel underlines the ways in which the biopolitical regulation of bodies in both geopolitical and literary space creates a hierarchical concept of the human. Drawing on seminal texts on biopolitics from Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben, I explore the spatial and racial management of migrant bodies and, also, the ways in which the movements of migrants form a positive biopolitics, undermining the bureaucracy of the state’s immigration controls. Ultimately, the novel suggests that the movement of populations creates transnational affiliations which deconstruct essentialist categories of identification. Chapter two examines the spatial management of slaves on the colonial plantation in The Long Song. This chapter is also concerned with literary space and explores the role of colonial literatures such as slave narratives, missionary pamphlets and travelogues, in creating and reinforcing racial hierarchies. Specifically, Levy’s novel engages intertextually with the slave narrative The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself (1831) in order to demonstrate how the black female subject was constructed through literature. In addition, by comparing black and white women’s publications in the nineteenth century, Levy’s novel emphasises the power of white women to map the material space of the plantation and filter the narrative of colonialism in their novels and travelogues. Contrastingly, black women’s movements were curtailed by white planters and their writing was also carefully framed and edited by white publishers. Finally, I argue that Levy’s novel remaps the plantation space by providing a counter-narrative of slavery which undermines official historiography.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Additional Information: Course: MKH05 MLitt
    Keywords: Biopolitics; Borders; Populations of Literary Space; Two Post-millennial Black British Novels; Abdulrazak Gurnah; By the Sea; Andrea Levy; The Long Song;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 7518
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2016 15:52
    URI:

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