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Belonging nowhere: Shenaz Patel’s Le Silence des Chagos

Waters, J. (2018) Belonging nowhere: Shenaz Patel’s Le Silence des Chagos. In: The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging. Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures, 56. Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, UK, pp. 110-138. ISBN 9781786941497

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3828/mlo.v0i0.259


This chapter explores how, as depicted in Patel’s 2005 novel, the notion of belonging, in both its politico-legal and its emotional senses, is central to all aspects of the Chagos islanders’ long-silenced story – to their original expulsion; to their on-going legal battles for the right to return; and to their continued exclusion from contemporary Mauritian society. Drawing on Jones’s study of the ambivalent judicial term ‘belonger’, I argue that the Chagossians’ affective sense of belonging to their annexed homeland is also depicted as constituting the grounds for their legal rights as ‘belongers’ not to be deported and hence to be allowed to return. Intricately bound up with the foundation of the Mauritian nation, the Chagossians’ real-life story demonstrates, in the most brutal form possible, the inextricable links between notions of ‘place-belongingness’ and the politics of belonging.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
ID Code:91431
Additional Information:This is Chapter 3. The full book, entitled: 'The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging', is referenced on CentAUR here:
Publisher:Liverpool University Press


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