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Seminar by Dr.Priya Menon

Keralan Gulf Emigrants as Absence-Presences in Representative Literary Fiction

A seminar on “Keralan Gulf Emigrants as Absence-Presences in Representative Literary Fiction,” was held at the Joan Robinson hall on Friday 29 June , 2018 by Dr Priya Menon. She observes that contemporary literary texts on Gulf emigration such as Benyamin’s Goat Days and Deepak Unnikrishnan’ s Temporary People attempt to explore certain vulnerabilities and anxieties associated with transience that accompany emigrants to the Gulf Corporation Council Countries where citizenship is not an option. By representing one of the largest Gulf diaspora of modern times—the Keralan emigrants or Pravasis, as spectral figures and as absence-presences that signal a non-present presence in the Gulf, recent emigratory fiction from/on Kerala attempts to retrieve and register their occulted histories on the Gulf landscape. In particular, she attempts to explore how by creating a unique Gulf emigrant specter, representative literary fiction critically engages with a more nuanced version of Gulf diasporic experience and, therefore, a more complex definition of emigration itself.

Dr. Menon is Assistant Professor of English Literature at Troy University, USA. and  is currently a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellow affiliated with the CDS.