My Nostalgia: the Cute, the Cozy, and the Happy in Diaspora
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My project calls for a (re)consideration of the centrality of nostalgia to diaspora and a renewed attention to the significance of similarly cozy/(self-)comforting behaviours within the novels of Kiran Desai, Anita Desai, and Chang-rae Lee. I wish to invest in nostalgia and related cloistering desires such as narcissism and politeness rather than divest them of that which makes them (academically) uncouth or (politically) regressive. I also strive to imagine what a non-progress-oriented approach to diaspora studies might look/feel like. In other words, what, in the current climate of diasporic studies, constitutes a desire to embrace regressive impulses without succumbing to (academic) discomfort with such non-edifying pursuits? Ultimately my interest here is not to establish the underlying contribution of diasporic affects such as cuteness, passivity or happiness to the momentum of diaspora studies but rather to dwell on their disobedience. In doing justice to such affective impertinence, I hope to speak to aspects of the lived and highly personal/ized experiences of minority that receive scant critical attention or are actively reviled while revitalizing both the imagination of home and the recovery of loss.