‘British Diasporic Literature in English and Vernaculars’ Conference: Manchester, 4 July 2014

Conference and Book Launch

Friday 4 July 2014 10am – 6pm

Racism, Writing and Resistance: British Diasporic Literature in English and Vernaculars

Manchester Central Library Performance Space, St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD

We have seen a decade of re-energised racism and orientalist representation in Britain, particularly in the demonising of Muslims and Islam. English language literature meanwhile, often stereotypes, ridicules, simplifies and homogenises in its representation of non-westernised/modernised characters: it can often seem as if writers, assumed to be ‘writing back’, have taken over the mantle of orientalist representation by the west. Certain ideologies become invisible in ‘literature’; their normalised values are assumed to be ‘universal,’ and ‘humanist;’ whilst literature and literary criticism that questions such assumptions overtly, or presents alternative ideologies is branded as ideological, polemical, essentialist.

What role can literature and literary criticism play in perpetuating and resisting racism, imperialism? What is the relationship between literature and government policies of multiculturalism, integration, assimilation, the war on terror? What is the relationship between political struggle and literature? What is the politics of writing, representing and publishing in Britain? How does representation and ideology differ in English and vernacular literature?

Bringing together South Asian, Arab, African/Afro-Caribbean diasporic writers, along with academics and activists, this conference seeks to explore some of these questions. Through conversations across these ‘professions’ that are increasingly seen as distinct and become ever more unintelligible to each other, we seek to revive connections between writing, activism and ideas.


10 – 10.15   Introduction to day

Dr. Virinder Kalra, Kavita Bhanot

10.15 – 11    The Politics of Publication

Dr.Tariq Mehmood, Peter Kalu, Dr. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

11 – 11.30     A conversation between Shamas Rehman and Daalat Ali

11.30 – 12    A conversation between Dr.Nicole Thiara and Dr. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

12 – 12.45    Lunch

12.45 –1.30  Writing out of Political Struggles: Boundaries of Fiction and Non-Fiction

Dr. Tariq Mehmood, Selma Dabbagh, chaired by Ashish Ghadiali

1.30 – 2.30    Not literature: Vernacular Poetics and Practice

Amarjit Chandan, Dr. Rajkumar Hans, Dr. Anita Mir

2.30 – 2.45   Tea

2.45 – 4.15   Literature in Islamophobic Times

Fadia Faqir “Geographies of the Soul”

Introduced/chaired by Dr Dalia Mostafa

Panel – Dr. Humaira Saeed, Ayesha Siddiqi, Naylah Ahmed

4.15 – 6         Performances by Peter Kalu and Yusra Warsama

Book-launch for Basir Kazmi’s ‘Passing Through’


The event is free but for catering purposes (or for further information) please email: racism.writing.resistance@gmail.com

Visit our blog https://racismwritingresistance.wordpress.com/


Categories: Announcements, News, & Upcoming

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1 reply

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