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Multicultural Neoliberalism, Global Textiles, and the Making of the Entrepreneur in Monica Ali’s 'Brick Lane'  Seminar

Stephen Morton
29 November 2017
Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Mary Andrew at .

Event details

Part of the CIPCS Seminar Series.

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The paper builds on the last section of the monograph in progress, In the Debt Colony: A History of Debt Colonialism. Against the promise of happiness associated with the lures of diaspora, it suggests that a consideration of the genre and form of contemporary novels such as Monica Ali’s Brick Lane can help to illuminate the ways in which late liberal discourses of multiculturalism (Povinelli 2011) are increasingly subordinated to the economic norms and values of neoliberalism. Rather than reading the narrative as a story of social mobility through transnational mobility, this paper considers how Brick Lane inadvertently normalizes homeworking and the entrepreneurial as the horizon of freedom and assimilation for its protagonist in contemporary neoliberal British society. In so doing, it considers how the novel raises wider questions about the ways in which neoliberal discourses of self-management, personal responsibility, and the entrepreneurial cut across the gendered international division of labour between the core and the periphery.

Speaker information

Prof Stephen Morton,Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Southampton. He is currently completing two book-length research projects: "Allegories of the World System" and "In the Debt Colony". He has also recently co-edited a special issue of "Research in African Literatures" on Chinua Achebe's "Arrow of God" (with Ranka Primorac) and contributed essays to "The Postcolonial Middle East" (Karim Mattar and Anna Ball eds.); "Muslims, Multiculturalism, and Trust" (Peter Morey and Amina Yaqin, eds.); and the Modern Languages Association of America book collection, "Approaches to Teaching South Asian Women's Writing". His previous publications include "States of Emergency: Colonialism, Literature, and Law" (2013); "Terror and the Postcolonial", co-edited with Elleke Boehmer (2009); "Foucault in an Age of Terror" (2008) co-edited with Stephen Bygrave; "Salman Rushdie: Fictions of Postcolonial Modernity" (2007); and "Gayatri Spivak: Ethics, Subalternity and the Critique of Postcolonial Reason" (Polity 2006), as well as articles in ARIEL, Textual Practice, Cultural Studies, Public Culture, New Formations, Parallax, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Canadian Literature, and Interventions: An International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.

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