(Un)settled states: Indian Ocean passages, performative belonging and restless mobility in post-apartheid South African fiction

Samuelson M. (2010)

Conference Paper

A number of post-apartheid literary works revisit nineteenth- to early twentiethcentury Indian Ocean passages. Bringing into visibility South Africa's other ocean - until recently largely occluded by the conceptual bedazzlement of the black Atlantic - they unsettle some of the paradigms through which it has been imagined. This article explores five such novels, which articulate or critique various citizenship claims through a poetics of (un)settlement. One strand from this cluster employs rhetorical strategies such as an 'Atlantic register' to translate oceanic routes into territorial roots, mobility into autochthony; the other registers a more unsettled state as it scrutinises the gendered politics of homemaking and national belonging, and issues a retort to the multicultural imagination. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

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