Locating Postcolonial Literary Aesthetic in Transcultural Contact Zone

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  • Title: Locating Postcolonial Literary Aesthetic in Transcultural Contact Zone: A Politico-aesthetic Analysis of Hanif Kureishi’s Selected Short Stories
  • Author(s): Huma Ahmed , Rasib Mahmood
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Literary Humanities
  • Keywords: Aesthetic, Contact Zone, Literary Aesthetic, Postcolonial, Transcultural, Transformation, Politico-Aesthetic
  • Volume: 22
  • Issue: 3
  • Date: June 14, 2024
  • ISSN: 2327-7912 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8676 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v22i03/127-142
  • Citation: Ahmed, Huma, and Rasib Mahmood. 2024. "Locating Postcolonial Literary Aesthetic in Transcultural Contact Zone: A Politico-aesthetic Analysis of Hanif Kureishi’s Selected Short Stories." The International Journal of Literary Humanities 22 (3): 127-142. doi:10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v22i03/127-142.
  • Extent: 16 pages

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Abstract

This research article addresses the concept of “postcolonial aesthetic” against the backdrop of theoretical assumptions presented by Bill Ashcroft in his article “Towards a Postcolonial Aesthetics.” He claims that postcolonial text in any form, whether written, visual, or auditory, gives birth to “aesthetic engagement” that causes a transformation in both “producer” and “consumer.” The aesthetic contact takes place in a contact zone of postcolonial text that Ashcroft calls “a space of negotiation,” where both writer and reader form a “constitutive collusion.” In this theoretical context, the article critically analyzes two short stories, My Son the Fanatic (1994) and We Are Not Jews (1995), written by a British–Pakistani writer, Hanif Kureishi. The selected short stories revolve around the theme of mixed identity, thus highlighting the significance of postcolonial fiction as a site to merge transcultural elements and trace aesthetic concerns in the transcultural contact zone of these literary texts, which, according to Ashcroft, is a transformational interaction of two cultures. The life events, situations, feelings, and the subsequent outcome of the inner and outer states of the protagonists are analyzed to figure out the aesthetic engagement of the texts. Following Ashcroft’s claim, the results show that the two selected short stories provide a constructive site for merging transcultural elements in the cultural contact zone, where both writer and reader contribute to postcolonial cultural production. Moreover, it argues that this transformative space allows the political and aesthetic qualities to develop side by side.