Impossible returns : Diasporic “travelling back” narratives
In the last fifty years forced and unforced migrations have resulted in some of the greatest upheavals and displacements seen in history. Refugees, economic migrants, and political exiles have moved away from their geographical places of origin to settle in foreign places, carrying with them (in multiple forms and to different degrees) memories of their past, tensions in the present and aspirations for their future. While such movements have very often resulted in permanent dislocations, rapid developments in communication technologies and affordable transportation have provided some members of these dispersed communities the opportunity of returning (temporarily, repeatedly or permanently) to their homelands—to places “left behind” in the course of their migration. The paper will make specific references to Michael Ondaatje’s Running In the Family (1982); Alain Mabanckou’s Lumières de Pointe Noire (2013); Michèle Rakotoson’s Juillet au pays- Chroniques d’un retour à Madagascar (2007) and Garth Davis’ “Lion” (2017, the film adaptation of Saroo Brierley’s A Long Way Home ) to explore how these various “travelling back” narratives demonstrate that the course of return exposes the fissures between attachment and disconnection while at the same time keeping alive hopes of retrieval and resumption.
Responsable: Judith Misrahi-Barak
Srilata Ravi is Professor of French and Francophone Literatures at the Faculté Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta. She taught at the University of Western Australia (2004-2010) and the National University of Singapore (1994-2003) before joining the University of Alberta in 2010. She has published widely in the fields of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, Francophone Postcolonial Studies as well as Indian Ocean Studies. Her more recent monographs and edited volumes include Sports, modernité et réseaux impériaux : Napoléon Lajoie, Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, baseball et cricket au tournant du XXe siècle (co-authored with Claude Couture, 2017) ; Translating the Postcolonial in Multilingual Contexts (co-edited with Judith Misrahi-Barak, in press) ; Rethinking Global Mauritius: Critical Essays on Mauritian Literatures and Cultures (2013); Ecritures mauriciennes au féminin: penser l'altérité (co-edited with Véronique Bragard 2011); Rainbow Colors-Literary Ethno-topographies of Mauritius (2007), and Asia in Europe, Europe in Asia (2004, co-edited with with Mario Rutten and Beng Lan Goh).