In Stereotype : South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary (Literature Now)
In Stereotype confronts the importance of cultural stereoptypes in shaping the ethics and reach of global literature. Mrinalini Chakravorty focuses on the seductive force and explanatory power of stereotypes in multiple contexts, whether depicting hunger, crowdedness, filth, slums, death, migrant flight, terror, or outsourcing. She argues such commonplaces are crucial to defining cultural identity and ethics in contemporary literature, as well as ideas about otherness, and shows how the stereotype's ambivalent nature exposes the many crises of liberal development in South Asia.
Chakravorty considers the influential work of Salman Rushdie, Aravind Adiga, Michael Ondaatje, Monica Ali, Mohsin Hamid, and Chetan Bhagat, among others, to show how stereotypes about South Asia provide insight into the material and psychic investments of contemporary imaginative texts: the colonial novel, the transnational film, and the international best-seller. Probing contexts that range from the independence of the Indian subcontinent to poverty tourism, civil war, migration, domestic labor, and terrorist radicalism, Chakravorty builds an interpretive lens for reading literary representations of cultural and global difference. More generally, she reevaluates the contemporary fascination with transnational novels and films that manufacture global differences by staging intersubjective encounters between cultures through stereotypes.