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Mapping territories of affective communities in the Indian Ocean

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The preponderance of studies on shame during the past 30 years has coincided with a radical transformation in literary studies, particularly in the wake of an increasing volume of trauma literature. In a theoretical climate, plagued by the post phenomenon, following the historical atrocities of slavery, the Holocaust, colonization, apartheid and recurring genocides with which present day history contends, testimonial literature is singularly symptomatic of transnational human sufferings. Shifting away from the commonplace themes of ethnicity, religion and language, which tax the heterogeneous Mauritian society, Shenaz Patel, in Sensitive (2003), places at the centre of the narrative the verbal, physical and sexual abuses inflicted upon an 11-year-old girl. This article examines how the author illuminates the fundamental role that shame plays in structuring identity. It suggests a semantic shift in the vocabulary used to determine identities and configures new affective territories which connect humans from within.
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Keywords: affective territories; fragmentation; gaze; identity; shame; trauma

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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