"A State of Perpetual Wandering": Diaspora and Black British Writers

Bronwyn T. Williams, University of New Hampshire

Copyright © 1999 by Bronwyn T. Williams, all rights reserved. This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the editors of JOUVERT: Journal of Postcolonial Studies.


  1. Stuart Hall writes: "You have to look at the curriculum, at the Englishness of English art, at what is truly English poetry, and you have to rescue that from all the other things that are not English. Everywhere, the question of Englishness is in contention" (178). Back

  2. It was also a reminder that the forces on the margin, in an attempt to define themselves through negation, could be as exclusionary as the forces of the center. Kureishi, notes that second-generation Black British youth who turn to a strict interpretation of Islam do so as:
    . . .a process of differentiation. You know? "Weíre not gay and we donít like gays. Weíre not Jews and we donít like Jews. We donít like this and we donít like freedom. We donít like democracy. We don't like this. We donít like that." So, all the time, sifting through everything, all the notions that we live in all day, as it were, to make up your mind. There was a lot of making up your mind all the time and rejection, "Thatís not me. Thatís not me." Asserting the difference. And, that is quite interesting. After all, there were people who had their difference, as it were, asserted all the time, but society looked right over it. Yet they were continuing to assert their own difference on their own turf which seemed, in perverse sense, to be an act of freedom (interview). Back

  3. In addition, Black British cultural criticism and Black British artists in all media have, by and large, embraced cultural expression of all kinds, from literature to film to visual arts to pop music to dub poetry to street theatre, thereby further disrupting the high-culture/low-culture divide so central to maintenance of the British class system. Back
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