Mendes, A and Lau, L (2018) The conjunctural spaces of ‘new India’: imagined geographies of 2010s India in representations by returnee migrants. cultural geographies. ISSN 1474-4740

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Focusing on returnee Indian authors, this article contributes to analytical perspectives on imagined geographies. We map the imagined geographies of 2010s Delhi and India as experienced and created by Indian returnee migrant authors, drawing on the hybrid nonfiction works India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India by Akash Kapur and Capital: The Eruption of Delhi by Rana Dasgupta. Juxtaposed, these texts sited on the borderline between fiction and nonfiction construct and produce knowledge on an imagined ‘new India’, textualised in literary form. Kapur and Dasgupta, having returned from long sojourns in the West are now India-based, privileged observers of and participants in the very subject of their study – the ground realities of contemporary, 21st century India – both temporally and geographically. As diasporic narrators of a ‘new India’, they stand within their physical landscapes as well as the created landscapes of their narrations. This article draws on the construction of imagined geographies, with a focus on the issue of affect and, relatedly, identification, desire, and transgression, and their impact on the representation of an imaginary homeland, to unpack the tension and dissonance between their imagined geographies of India – as residents and as members of the diaspora – and their lived geographies. We conclude that Kapur and Dasgupta’s imagined geographies offer an alternative account of the contemporary processes that geographers are seeking to describe and explain. Not only do their imagined geographies impact reality but also construct new worlds and realities of ‘new India’ in literary representation. Their hybrid nonfiction texts position India globally, carefully un-glamorising the binary representations of ‘India Shining’ and ‘Dark India’, and recovering the multiplicity of presences in the conjunctural spaces of ‘new India’.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Mendes, A.C. and Lau, L., The conjunctural spaces of ‘new India’: imagined geographies of 2010s India in representations by returnee migrants, cultural geographies Copyright © The Author(s) 2018. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. Available at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Akash Kapur, imagined geographies, literary geographies, ‘new India’, Rana Dasgupta, representation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2018 13:42
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2021 10:56

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