South Asian migration during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was largely comprised of indentured labourers sent to British colonies after the 1833 abolition of slavery. Mythologies of Migration, Vocabularies of Indenture uses the critical paradigm of 'indenture history' to examine the local literary and cultural histories that have influenced and shaped the development of novel-length fiction by writers of the South Asian diaspora in national contexts as diverse as Mauritius, South Africa, Guyana, and Fiji.
Mariam Pirbhai perceptively identifies common patterns, developments, and concerns in this cross-continental body of writing, including a 'vocabulary of indenture' that invokes the mythology and plight of the indentured labourer among a newly reconstituted community of colonial émigrés. Pirbhai's innovative study considers authors who fall outside the established canon of post-colonial writing, challenging readers to reconsider traditional peripheries as centres of literary and cultural production that have made significant contributions to the Anglophone novel.
"This excellent and carefully researched study, that has rescued many writers from oblivion and has brought new insights on more established authors, will no doubt encourage more work on these writers and promote fresh debates on the validity of the diaspora label."