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Postcolonial exclusions : the securitization of citizenship in 21st century british black and asian writing Wyatt, Shereen Leanne

Abstract

This thesis will examine the securitization of British citizenship in the 21st century as presented in Levi David Addai’s 2008 play, Oxford Street, and in Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan’s 2019 poetry collection, Postcolonial Banter. It builds on 20th century postcolonial literature and scholarship, which critiques the colonial development of British citizenship and the systematic exclusions of citizens born into (former) British colonies across Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Situated against a backdrop of proliferating detentions, deportations, and citizenship deprivations, my discussion traces the texts’ emphases on pervasive surveillance and disciplinary measures, which are entangling citizenship with state security in the 21st century. In particular, they both highlight the—increasingly quotidian—biopolitical obligations on citizen-subjects to produce themselves as border guards of the state. I analyse how both Addai and Manzoor-Khan expose the racialized, gendered, and classed configurations of citizenship and in/security, which expose Black, Asian, and Muslim postcolonial citizens to scrutiny and exclusion. In doing so, I suggest that these writers challenge the state-defined borders of British citizenship which suspect, and only conditionally admit, their presence. I end by questioning whether these literary challenges offer creative and critical strategies of resistance against the securitization of citizenship in the 21st century.

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