Mongrel Nation: Diasporic Culture and the Making of Postcolonial Britain

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University of Michigan Press, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 226 pages
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Mongrel Nation surveys the history of the United Kingdom’s African, Asian, and Caribbean populations from 1948 to the present, working at the juncture of cultural studies, literary criticism, and postcolonial theory. Ashley Dawson argues that during the past fifty years Asian and black intellectuals from Sam Selvon to Zadie Smith have continually challenged the United Kingdom’s exclusionary definitions of citizenship, using innovative forms of cultural expression to reconfigure definitions of belonging in the postcolonial age. By examining popular culture and exploring topics such as the nexus of race and gender, the growth of transnational politics, and the clash between first- and second-generation immigrants, Dawson broadens and enlivens the field of postcolonial studies.

 

Mongrel Nation gives readers a broad landscape from which to view the shifting currents of politics, literature, and culture in postcolonial Britain. At a time when the contradictions of expansionist braggadocio again dominate the world stage, Mongrel Nation usefully illuminates the legacy of imperialism and suggests that creative voices of resistance can never be silenced.Dawson

 

“Elegant, eloquent, and full of imaginative insight, Mongrel Nation is a refreshing, engaged, and informative addition to post-colonial and diasporic literary scholarship.”

—Hazel V. Carby, Yale University

 

“Eloquent and strong, insightful and historically precise, lively and engaging, Mongrel Nation is an expansive history of twentieth-century internationalist encounters that provides a broader landscape from which to understand currents, shifts, and historical junctures that shaped the international postcolonial imagination.”

—May Joseph, Pratt Institute

 

Ashley Dawson is Associate Professor of English at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island. He is coeditor of the forthcoming Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism.

 

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Contents

Colonization in Reverse An Introduction
1
In the Big City the Sex Life Gone Wild
27
Black Power in a Transnational Frame
49
Behind the Mask
73
Beyond Imperial Feminism
95
Heritage Politics of the Soul
121
Genetics Biotechnology and the Future
149
Step Back from the Blow Back
175
Notes
189
Index
221
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