Reading the Subaltern Other: A Postcolonial Critique of Kureishi’s The Black Album
This paper aims at a postcolonial study of Kureishi's novel, The Black Album (1995). In particular, the study explores how significantly the postcolonial concepts of racism, identity crisis, double consciousness, and unhomeliness inform and influence the narrative and the characterization of the novel. The study is oriented around the research question of how the characters belonging to the Pakistani diaspora in England are turned into subalterns others of the native white inhabitants, and how this, in turn, makes them vulnerable targets of racist violence. Besides, the psychological repercussions of this racist violence on the lives and minds of the characters are investigated. Moreover, the representation of different communities and their concerns are looked into to view how their mutual tensions lead to the conflict that can be broadly categorized as a clash between two conflicting ideologies, that is, Muslim fundamentalism and British liberalism. The qualitative, descriptive methodology has been employed in this paper which relies mainly on close-textual analysis and interpretation. The research is significant as the study of racism and the othering of Muslims is highly relevant in the context of the ongoing debate on Islamophobia in the West and how adversely it affects the Muslim lives there. It is also relatable to the racist violence the black community is facing in contemporary American society.