In 1962, the Commonwealth Immigrants Act hastened the process of South Asian migration to postcolonial Britain. Half a decade later, now is an opportune moment to revisit the accumulated writing about the diasporas formed through subsequent settlement, and to probe the ways in which the South Asian diaspora can be re-conceptualised.
Writing the City in British Asian Diasporas takes a fresh look at such matters and will have multi-disciplinary resonance worldwide. The meaning and importance of local, multi-local and trans-local dynamics is explored through a devolved and regionally-accented comparison of five British Asian cities: Bradford, the East End of London, Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham. Analysing the ‘writing’ of these differently configured cities since the 1960s, its main focus is the significant discrepancies in representation between differently-positioned texts reflecting both dominant institutional discourses and everyday lived experiences of a locality. Part I offers a comprehensive, yet still highly contested, reading of each city’s archives. Part II examines how the arts and humanities fields of History, Religion, Gender and Literary/Cultural Studies have all written British Asian diasporas, and how their perspectives might complement the better-established agendas of the social sciences.
Providing an innovative analysis of South Asian communities and their multi-local identities in Britain today, this interdisciplinary book will be of interest to scholars of South Asian Studies, Migration, Ethnic and Diaspora Studies, as well as Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography.