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Accepted Paper:

Postcolonial Paradoxes: An ethnography of British Anglo-Indians in South London  

Author:

Ellen Lapper

Paper short abstract:

This paper challenges the UK's under-discussed oppression of the British Empire through exploration of British Anglo-Indian place-making in South London - a marginalised community upholding a dual-identity within a country they were closely affiliated with, yet had never visited prior to migration.

Paper long abstract:

In post-Brexit Britain, discussions surrounding nationalism and belonging are at their peak. In 2016, UKIP campaigned "we want our country back", further suppressing the under-discussed imperialism of its country's history. I argue that partial lack of understanding concerning British multiculturalism today is due to this amnesia that exists towards the oppression of the British Empire, and as a result, those people who are products of colonialism. This paper is an attempt to challenge that amnesia by discussing ongoing ethnographic research exploring British Anglo-Indian place-making in South London - a community upholding a dual-identity within a country they were closely affiliated with, yet had never visited prior to migration. Hailing from the Indian subcontinent during British colonial rule, Anglo-Indian came to describe those of mixed European and Indian descent, though loyalty was towards their European upbringing: Western names, Western clothes, English mother tongue. Upon dissolution of the British Raj, many Anglo-Indians left for the UK, feeling a stronger affiliation. However, their reception was not what they expected. "Too British" in India yet "too Indian" in Britain; today many still feel like an in-between. Due to the difficult-to-place, ambiguous nature of Anglo-Indian identity, they have almost assimilated into invisibility in Britain. Ultimately, a mistaken identification results, aided by the lack of common knowledge surrounding Anglo-Indian upbringing and little discussion concerning British colonialism. The paper is accompanied by a visual ethnography of this ageing community: Last Round of Jaldi Five.

Panel P180
Shared marginal experiences? Comparing postcolonial memories from the European margins