Graduate School
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Dr Ezekiel Kimani Kaigai

Home country: Kenya

PANGeA partner: University of Nairobi

Year of enrolment: 2011

Graduation date: April 2014

Department:  English

Supervisor: Prof Tina Steiner

Co-Supervisor: Dr Tom Odhiambo


Dissertation title: Encountering strange lands: Migrant texture in Abdulrazak Gurnah's fiction

Abstract: This study engages with the complete novelistic oeuvre of the Zanzibari-born author Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose fiction is dedicated to the theme of migration. With each novel, however, Gurnah deploys innovative stylistic features as an analytic frame to engage with his signature topic. From his first novel to his eighth, Gurnah offers new insights into relocation and raises new questions about what it means to be a migrant or a stranger in inhospitable circumstances and how such conditions call for a negotiation of hospitable space. What gives each of his works a distinct aesthetic appeal is the artistic resourcefulness and versatility with which he frames his narratives, in order to situate them within their historical contexts. This allows him to interrogate the motives behind his characters' actions (or behind their inaction). Gurnah, therefore, employs a variety of narrative perspectives that not only challenge the reader in the task of interpreting his complex works, but which also allow for the pleasure of carrying out this task. In its exploration of migrant subjectivities and their multiple and varied negotiations to create enabling spaces, this thesis shows how Gurnah's fiction deploys various artistic strategies as possible ways of thinking about individual identity and social relations with others. In short, this thesis explores how Gurnah's texts become discursive tools for understanding the complexity of migrancy and cultural exchanges along the Swahili coast, in Zanzibar, in the Indian Ocean, and in the UK.

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Click here to access Dr Kimani Kaigai's research outputs​​​