UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Displacement and/as nationalism : the sea as a reparative space Thakoor, Harsha


This thesis examines the ways in which memories of displacement interact with and forge national landscapes as well as national subjects. In this thesis, Amal Sewtohul’s novel Made in Mauritius (2012), as well as selected poems from Khal Torabully’s Cale d'étoiles-Coolitude (1992) and Chair corail: fragments coolies (1999), are used a terrain of analysis. I analyse mobility of the national subject, and perennial movement situated at the crux of these texts as resistance to rootedness hence capsizing national authority. Displaced bodies are unable to fully root themselves in their homeland as they hold on to the memory of their ancestral land. The sea is presented as a reparative tool—movement moored in its essence—cutting across time and space to bind together narrative, histories and lands. The space of the sea is retrieved, and terra-analysis is forsaken. Roots—singular and crystalized—as utilized in nationalist discourses—are disrupted when it is joined to routes. To make displacement and mobility the essence of one’s existence is to overcome the traumatic wounds of spatiotemporal separation that the nation inflicts on national bodies that inhabit its borders by urging them to belong. Ultimately, this thesis seeks a re-reading of the national landscape via vocabularies of the sea.

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