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Title: Competing postcolonial temporalities : sovereignty and time in Pakistani fiction
Author: Duffy, Michael Joseph Sean
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 3673
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2019
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Pakistan gained independence from British Colonial rule in 1947, and this moment was marked by a speech from Mohammed Ali Jinnah that laid the rhetorical foundations for the new state’s postcolonial sovereignty. Since Partition, Pakistan and India’s irredentist conflicts have placed territorial concerns at the forefront of discussions of postcolonial sovereignty in South Asia. This thesis seeks to correct this by elucidating the significant temporal dimensions of border sovereignty, emergency rule, and nationalist historiography, and how they impact upon the being-in-time of the postcolonial subject. With reference to Derrida’s essay ‘Declarations of Independence’ and his related concept of democracy to-come, this thesis will interrogate representations of sovereignty and time in Pakistani literary fiction. By highlighting the competing temporalities that are registered in these narratives, it will reveal the blind spots in Jinnah’s future-oriented promise of secular and democratic sovereignty. The thesis explores three intertwined concepts of Pakistan’s postcolonial ‘future’ to explore how they relate to the initial promises of the sovereign state: including national futurity, territorial futurity, and democratic futurity. Utilising the theoretical concept of homogeneous, empty time (Benjamin/Pandey/Anderson), this thesis reads a number of literary texts that both expose and challenge the temporal claims of the state. These texts all register the impact of postcolonial sovereignty on the being-in-time of the Pakistani subject. The first chapter addresses three Partition texts to highlight the incommensurability between the inclusive promises of national sovereignty in Pakistan and the gendered violence of its foundations. It will explore how the state’s rhetoric after Partition often made appeals to communal history and myth, and how this fact is registered in literary and oral narratives of the disorienting moment of Partition. The second chapter reads two recent novels that represent the techniques of sovereignty that are employed in two disputed border regions in Pakistan: Kashmir and FATA. These readings highlight the impact of bureaucratic and military techniques of sovereignty on those at the limits of the postcolonial state. The final main body chapter focuses on Pakistan’s longest period of martial law rule, reading two novels that register the temporal nature of General Zia-ul-Haq’s indefinite suspension of Pakistan’s democratic order. This thesis offers a timely intervention into discussions of postcolonial sovereignty in South Asia that registers the heterogeneous temporalities of minority communities and subaltern subjects. Through a focus on time and sovereignty in literary texts, it seeks to interrupt and undermine the homogeneous, empty time of nationalist historiography in Pakistan.
Supervisor: Morton, Stephen ; Marsh, Nicky Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available