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Title: Affective everyday in narratives of Muslim women migrating to the UK, 1906-2012
Author: Adam, Sibyl Alexandra
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis uses affect theory and studies of emotion to analyse literary representations of the everyday in fictional and non-fictional writing about Muslim migrant women in the UK from 1906 to 2012. Postcolonial literary studies tend to value exceptional events over mundane life, which causes possible issues of exoticism and a danger of homogenising distinct experiences. This thesis offers a theorisation of migration that foregrounds everyday experience through an engagement with theories of objects, bodies and space, as well as emotional experiences that are specific to migrant subjectivity. It analyses two groups of texts: early twentieth century travel writing by Atiya Fyzee, Shahbano Begum Maimoona Sultan and Zeyneb Hanoum, and contemporary literary texts by Yeshim Ternar, Farhana Sheikh, Monica Ali, Leila Aboulela, Elif Shafak and Fadia Faqir. The thesis is structured thematically into three sections, each section containing two chapters, one about travel writing and another about contemporary texts. In the first section, in order to examine how the texts negotiate foreignness in daily life, I consider hospitality theory, which describes how social power relations are based on roles of host and guest. In the second section, I argue that melancholia is an emotional experience endemic to migrancy. The texts demonstrate how this emotion is manifest communally as well as individually, which also shows the political potential of emotion. In the third section, I investigate how emotional processes of migration are described spatially in the texts. The findings of this research show that emotional knowledge is a major concern for migrant writers as a way of engaging with and critiquing the social and political climates of each text. This is produced through narrations about feeling in general and specific emotions, such as irritation or anxiety. Emotional experience is illustrated in conjunction with identities that are both fluid and intersectional, where gender and class converge with ethnicity and religion. The texts also show specifically affective styles of writing that concentrate on focalising women's intimate experiences through, for example, diary entries, bildungsroman or psychological realism. While the differing contexts reflect the particularities of each experience, there are sufficient similarities of narrative content and style to suggest that affective experience is a major concern for this body of literature. Overall, this thesis demonstrates the productive uses of affect theory as a critical stance for analysing postcolonial literature.
Supervisor: Farrier, David ; Jones, Carole Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Muslim migrant women ; postcolonial literary studies ; migration ; Atiya Fyzee ; Shahbano Begum Maimoona Sultan ; Zeyneb Hanoum ; Yeshim Ternar ; Farhana Sheikh ; Monica Ali ; Leila Aboulela ; Elif Shafak ; Fadia Faqir ; travel writing ; social power relations ; host and guest roles ; melancholia ; migrant writers ; gender