In Stereotype

South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary

Mrinalini Chakravorty

Columbia University Press

In Stereotype

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Pub Date: February 2017

ISBN: 9780231165976

336 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $28.00£22.00

Pub Date: September 2014

ISBN: 9780231165969

336 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£47.00

Pub Date: September 2014

ISBN: 9780231537766

336 Pages

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List Price: $27.99£22.00

In Stereotype

South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary

Mrinalini Chakravorty

Columbia University Press

In Stereotype confronts the importance of cultural stereotypes in shaping the ethics and reach of global literature. Mrinalini Chakravorty focuses on the seductive force and explanatory power of stereotypes in multiple South Asian contexts, whether depicting hunger, crowdedness, filth, slums, death, migrant flight, terror, or outsourcing. She argues that such commonplaces are crucial to defining cultural identity in contemporary literature and shows how the stereotype's ambivalent nature exposes the crises of liberal development in South Asia.

In Stereotype considers the influential work of Salman Rushdie, Aravind Adiga, Michael Ondaatje, Monica Ali, Mohsin Hamid, and Chetan Bhagat, among others, to illustrate how stereotypes about South Asia provide insight into the material and psychic investments of contemporary imaginative texts: the colonial novel, the transnational film, and the international best-seller. Probing circumstances that range from the independence of the Indian subcontinent to poverty tourism, civil war, migration, domestic labor, and terrorist radicalism, Chakravorty builds an interpretive lens for reading literary representations of cultural and global difference. In the process, she also reevaluates the fascination with transnational novels and films that manufacture global differences by staging intersubjective encounters between cultures through stereotypes.
The stereotype—that fixed and frozen form of cultural unknowledge—is brought to animate life in this book. Rereading an indispensable archive of South Asian Anglophone fiction through iconic stereotypes of the postcolony and the postcolonial (hunger, crowds, slums, migrant dislocation, global metropolis, civil war's deathscape, and terror), Mrinalini Chakravorty brilliantly reveals what lies within the stereotype. Hypervisual and fetishistic, yet also spectacularly mobile, relational, and affectively charged, the stereotype emerges as a virtual and vital technology of literary globalism and a surprising education in ethical reading. Vilashini Cooppan, University of California, Santa Cruz, author of Worlds Within: National Narratives and Global Connections in Postcolonial Writing,
A well-theorized consideration.... This reviewer knows of no comparable treatment of South Asian stereotypes.... Highly recommended. CHOICE
A lucid and provocative analysis of the significance of stereotype in contemporary South Asian literature. South Asian Review
An important book not only for postcolonial studies of South Asian Anglophone literature and culture, but also for modeling what an ethical reading practice is and does in the so-called age of globalization. The Comparatist
What Chakravorty's book allows is a wonderful meditation on the work of the stereotype... We learn to read the novel differently after reading her book, to make demands on our sensitivities at her urging and to our profit. Contemporary Literature
A provocative and insightful catalogue of features that characterize stereotypes. Saikat Majumdar, South Asian History and Culture
The close readings one finds in every chapter offer marvelously useful material for classroom teaching and discussions of stereotypes in a postcolonial context. Modern Fiction Studies
Eminently readable, it will be of interest to scholars and students of postcolonial studies, cultural studies of globalization, South Asian literature, and global literature... A remarkably cogent and clarifying book, lucid in its genealogical tracks and impassioned in its perusal of well-loved novels. Novel: A Forum on Fiction
As Mrinalini Chakravorty demonstrates in her monograph In Stereotype: South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary, global fictions also carry with them other types of unsavory and undesirable cargo which have not been subjected to the same kind of rigorous, sustained analysis. . . . In her powerful interrogation of stereotypes, Chakravorty implicates the reader and critic of postcolonial literature, and in so doing, demonstrates just how often our unwillingness to confront the stereotype produces new forms of critical fixity. In Chakravorty’s hands, the archive of South Asian cultural production is both complicit and subversive; it is reliant on stereotypes to function, but equally unwilling to leave them uninterrogated. Christine Okoth, ASAP/J
Acknowledgments
Prologue: Stereotypes as Provocation
1. Why the Stereotype? Why South Asia?
2. To Understand Me, You'll Have to Swallow a World: Margins, Multitudes, and the Nation in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children
3. Slumdog or White Tiger? The Abjection and Allure of Slums
4. The Dead That Haunt Anil's Ghost: Subaltern Stereotypes and Postcolonial Melancholia
5. From Bangladesh to Brick Lane: The Biocultural Stereotypes of Migrancy
6. Good and Bad Transnationalisms: Outsourcing and Terror
Epilogue: The Afterlife of Stereotypes
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Read the prologue, "Stereotypes as Provocation":

About the Author

Mrinalini Chakravorty is associate professor of English at the University of Virginia and concentrates on postcolonial literature and film; studies of race, gender, and sexuality; and cultural studies. She is particularly interested in the theoretical intersections among these areas, including but not limited to transnational approaches to the study of literary culture, aesthetic responses to globalization, and modes of minority discourse. She is the author of several articles that have appeared in differences, PMLA, Ariel, and Modern Fiction Studies, as well as other journals and collections.