THE ROLE OF TRANSCULTURAL MEMORY IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY IN CARYL PHILLIPS’S FICTION

2021-7-1
KIRPIKLI, DENİZ
Caryl Phillips’s engagement with the past, particularly the history of the black diaspora in Britain, is a significant aspect of his literary production. Focusing closely on Crossing the River (1993), A Distant Shore (2003), and In the Falling Snow (2009), this study argues that Phillips’s works of fiction illustrate the transcultural memory of Britain and the black Atlantic that moves across the seemingly impermeable borders to unsettle the homogeneous construction of categories such as nation, culture, and identity. The theoretical framework of this study considers Paul Gilroy’s concept of the black Atlantic as a form of mobility that creates the transcultural memory of Britain. The shared anti-nationalist perspective of transcultural memory and the black Atlantic concept provides a foundation to explore how mobility across national and cultural borders throughout ages have shaped cultural dynamics and racial politics in Britain. In these novels, which chart the evolution of the black diaspora, transcultural memory runs contrary to British national amnesia and brings to the fore multiple representations of diaspora experience. Thus, this study investigates how memory contributes to the construction of identity and to the ways individuals deal with social change and conflict through remembrance and forgetting. The formal elements of the novels mirror their thematic engagement with mobility; therefore, this study also examines the ways Phillips uses a mnemonic strategy that is shaped by a fragmented narrative structure and a temporal zone shifting back and forth to demonstrate the effects of the past on the present.
Citation Formats
D. KIRPIKLI, “THE ROLE OF TRANSCULTURAL MEMORY IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY IN CARYL PHILLIPS’S FICTION,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2021.