Floating writers: hybridity and travel in the work of Pico Iyer, Caryl Phillips and Suketu Mehta AmalgaNations: how globalisation is good
AuthorHendrie, Douglas William
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
MetadataShow full item record
Document TypePhD thesis
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© 2014 Dr. Douglas William Hendrie
Critical section: Floating Writers Contemporary travel writing remains under-theorised from a critical perspective, despite a recent surge of analysis. The critical section of this thesis argues that the emergence of postcolonial and hybrid travel writers such as Suketu Mehta, Caryl Phillips and Pico Iyer represent a positive departure point from the pervasive discourses of Orientalism identified by Edward Said in historic Euro-centric travel accounts. Employing Homi Bhabha’s articulation of hybridity as an ambiguous discourse capable of destabilising colonialist tropes, and Mary Louise Pratt’s description of transculturation as a means for understanding unequal cultural exchanges, the thesis argues that hybridity has been used creatively in each of the texts analysed, producing usefully destabilising approaches to the globalised and postcolonial world and reinventions of the authorial presence of the travel writer. Each of the writers in the corpus approaches the decolonisation of travel writing in heterogeneous ways, from Phillips’ postcolonial ‘writing back’ to empire, restoration of elided voices and deep ambivalence about the possibility of a true return to precolonial times, to Iyer’s demonstration of how hybridities emerge out of transcultural exchanges such as the resistance to or adaptation of Western culture, to Mehta’s leveraging the liminality of the postcolonial expatriate in order to lay claim to a greater authenticity. Taken as a corpus, the three authors analysed represent a promising but partial decolonisation of a once-colonial genre of non-fiction. Creative section: AmalgaNations The creative section of the thesis comprises two of the four parts of my book of creative non-fiction and travel reportage, AmalgaNations: How Globalisation is Good (Hardie Grant, 2014). The first part, ‘South Korea’, is an immersion in and investigation of the professional videogaming industry in Korea, which revolves around the American game, StarCraft. The section uses interviews and first-person narrative to depict a newly emerged hybrid subculture, in which American culture has been repurposed for Korean ends. The second section, ‘Philippines’, is a first-person investigation of why the devoutly Catholic Philippines is so tolerant of non-hetero sexualities. The section uses interviews and personal reflection to articulate a different form of hybridity: the co-existence of seemingly incompatible modes of thought amongst heterosexual, gay, lesbian and transsexual Filipinos.
Keywordstravel writing; creative nonfiction; postcolonialism; hybridity; Pico Iyer; Caryl Phillips; Suketu Mehta; travel; Philippines; GLBT; South Korea; video gaming
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