Agnes Gyorke

Junior Fellow
University of Debrecen, Hungary
Project Title: 
Spaces of Belonging: the Embodied City in Postcolonial Women’s Writing
Project Abstract: 

I propose to investigate postcolonial women's writing from the perspective of space, subjectivity, and belonging. The focus of my research is the construction of the (post)modern city in the novels of Monica Ali, Meena Alexander, Kiran Desai, among other writers. Considering the number of well-known and lesser known postcolonial novels published each year, I argue that these texts offer an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the configurations of feminine spaces and subjectivities in the metro pole. It is my contention that the analysis of this corpus would help us reconsider the theories of urbanity and the city, which are part of a Western, patriarchal academic discourse (based on Georg Simmel's seminal research on the metropolis and mental life, Walter Benjamin's notion of the flaneur as well as the theories of Michel de Certeau and Henri Lefebvre, among other critics) from the perspective of gender and migration studies. The project I am proposing is part of a larger interdisciplinary research plan that targets the analysis of intercultural art forms and urban spaces, including visual arts (photography, sculpture, dance, etc.), and metropolises of post communist countries, such as Budapest and Prague. My long term objective is to investigate the challenge that post communist literary and visual texts pose to Western discourses of urbanity as well as the potential alternative models these offer for mapping metropolitan spaces.