Abstract of the lecture
The Specter of Colonial Violence: The Strangler Vine and ‘Thugs’ in America
Taking a look at Miranda Carter's novel The Strangler Vine (2015) set in 19C India as a colonial adventure narrative. In the first part, it focuses on the novel's critique and rethinking of colonial violence using the metaphor of the 'strangler vines.' Carter revises the idea of violence and criminality of the thugs in 19th C India, but interestingly her novel also intersects with contemporary American political discourse. The novel was published in the year 2015, when the term 'thug' emerged in then President Obama’s speech on the Baltimore riots (April 2015) and then eventually in President Donald Trump’s speech in 2020 to represent race riots in America. In the second part of the paper, I trace the etymology of the "thug" in American lingo and its shifting narrative. This section intersects with Carter's novel to show the limitations and 'problematique' the text poses, and to show how power and discourse are updated in asymmetrical planetary intersections and contexts that have dangerous reverberations in the American political imaginary in our present time. The intersection of these two seemingly unrelated historicity is important to reveal the structures of embedded (neo)colonial violence that turns “thugs” in a larger continuum, symbolizing Black men and ultimately emerging a fear of black bodies.
The lecture will be held on zoom December 2, click here to attend the lecture.
During the fall Amrita is also giving a talk at the center of equal opportunities, Uppsala University. She will give a talk on "Are we Post-Race yet? Encountering the 'Other' in Everyday Academia". More info here.