At the cold war peripheries : reimagining nation in contemporary sinophone and anglophone Malaysian literature
Show, Ying Xin
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This dissertation se ts out to read contemporary Sinophone and Anglophone Malaysian literature, in which the writers and artists project their national imaginaries within the interstices of a monocultural nationalist regime during the context of the Cold War. Particularly, it condemns the neo-liberalist stance that many postcolonial scholars have taken to celebrate the "transnational", "postnational" or" diasporic" identity. Instead, it argues that the "nation-state" is alive as a contested space where different power struggles negotiate their national imaginaries within and beyond it. In so doing, it uses the method of relative comparison to bring up the communication between two linguistic spheres. It then examines them as "minor literature", in Deleuze and Guattari' s term, looking for what Glissant calls, the "poetics of Relation" in the fiction. On the one hand, it refuses to see Malaysian literature through the dominant protocols of an ethnic paradigm, which allude to the logic of colonialism and neo-colonialism. )nstead, it seeks to "delink" ethnicity and language and calls for attention to the multilingual and multicultural realities in Malaysia. On the other hand, it emphasises the importance of recognizing two "lacunas" in Malaysian history - the first that takes place in 1948, when the Malayan Emergency began and the second in 1969, when the May 13 events took place- because they have since hijacked this crucial period and have delayed an in-depth reflection of the effects of colonialism and imperialism in Malaysia.