Intimate terror: gender, domesticity, and violence in Irish and Indian novels of partition Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Skinner, Amy McGuff
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Abstract
  • My dissertation argues that contemporary novelists writing about partition and the post-partition state in India, Pakistan, and Northern Ireland create alternative social histories that reframe our understanding of these newly created spaces and the ways in which the intrusion of public violence into private homes and neighborhoods was constitutive of the partitioned borders. Rather than presenting partition as a bureaucratic solution to ethnic or religious conflict, the novelists I study use the framework of childhood and family to situate their novels—and these questions of national space—firmly in the world of the private home. This shift in focus from the national to the private writes against the belief that, through the act of partition, discord and trauma are pushed to the borders and large-scale civil war is avoided. In four chapters considering nine novels, I examine the ways in which the reconstruction of national borders—and national identities—takes place through violence that is frequently gendered, targeting women’s bodies as sites of reproduction in order to validate sectarian identities. In these texts, the border cannot be understood as a distant location where the lines of a battlefield—and the nation itself—can be easily delineated, but instead must be envisioned as the construction of countless smaller boundaries, each of which might contain part of the battlefield’s violence.
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  • Cooper, Pamela
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