Narrative, Diaspora and Identity – the Mechanics of Subjectivity in Migrant Letter-Writing and Oral Testimony

Faculty Advanced Institute of Research, London Metropolitan University

Seminar Series 2013/14: Intersecting Social Justice – Seminar 1

Tuesday 19th November: 6.00 – 7.30pm (Room TM138)

Tony Murray, Irish Studies Centre           

By synthesising theories of narrative and diaspora, this paper will examine the enabling role that story-telling plays in the way migrant identities are configured between home and abroad and between different locations and claims of allegiance within the diaspora. In particular, it will draw on the work of Ricoeur, Brah and MacIntyre to analyse the role of migrant letters and oral testimony in recent fiction by Edna O’Brien and reveal how various forms of narrative frame and contextualise the often dramatic shifts in perspective and identity that take place in her characters’ lives.

Tony Murray is Director of the Irish Studies Centre at London Metropolitan University. His book, London Irish Fictions: Narrative, Diaspora and Identity was published by Liverpool University Press in 2012.

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