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Literature Matters: On Memory and Migration


Filed under: Non-fiction

Homi K. Bhabha explores forms of cultural memory as they emerge in fictions of migration and displacement.

‘Nations, like narratives, lose their origins in the myths of time and only fully realise their horizons in the mind’s eye. Such an image of the nation – or narration – might seem impossibly romantic and excessively metaphorical, but it is from those traditions of political thought and literary language that the nation emerges as a powerful historical idea in the west.’ So begins Nation and Narration, first published in 1990. For Professor Bhabha, one of the world’s leading cultural theorists, known for his work on hybridity, mimicry, difference, ambivalence and the ‘Third Space’, ‘literature is the repository of culture, tradition, the life in language itself.’ In this Literature Matters event, he explores forms of cultural memory as they emerge in fictions of migration and displacement.

Homi K. Bhabha is the Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center, and Senior Advisor to the President and Provost at Harvard University. His works exploring postcolonial theory, contemporary art, and cosmopolitanism, include Nation and Narration and The Location of Culture, which was reprinted as a Routledge Classic in 2004.

The event is chaired by Shahidha Bari.

Recorded on: May 10, 2019
Recorded at: British Library Knowledge Centre