Project Title: ‘That Shade of Brown’: A creative socio-literary exploration of the evolving concept of ‘Britishness’ and the mutual impact of migrant representations in literature and sociological research.
This interdisciplinary socio-literary study employs the devices of short fiction and sociological research in conjunction to address the issue of unequal literary representations and facilitate an understanding of the migrant British South-Asian community from Kerala, India. A significant proportion of its members are employed within the NHS. In light of the global pandemic and its impact on this BAME community, this project will negotiate a necessary dialogue around equalising representations, heterogeneity and evolving concepts of ‘Britishness’ by challenging stereotypes and authentically voicing stories.
Combining the fabric of fiction and sociological research, the study facilitates an innovative appreciation of the migrant community, and nurtures a positive difference by representing them within the English and Scottish literary space. Literature and fiction can prove didactic in defining our perceptions of cultures. However, stereotypical representations in popular fiction colour our understanding of cultures just as adversely as does a lack of representations. While literature relays and preserves stories of people, sociology opens to us theoretical comprehension of cultures, societal hierarchies, and behaviour and identity shaping aspects of human movement within these hierarchies. Stories have been called the ‘communal currency of humanity’ and our understanding of the world we live in and the appreciation of ‘difference’ is largely guided by the stories we encounter. Investigating cultures ethnologically can enhance changing awareness and acceptance of diversity. This can be similarly achieved by conveying diverse narratives in literature. However, the understanding of cultures and acceptance of ‘difference’ can be advanced better through a meeting of these.