Contemporary British fiction and the marketing of mixed race


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Edwards, Shantel (2019). Contemporary British fiction and the marketing of mixed race. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis argues that contemporary mixed-race authors, such as Zadie Smith, are central cultural figures through which narratives of British mixed race have been constructed and circulated post-2000. This thesis argues that the discourses of race constructed and disseminated to the wider British public by external agents, such as journalists, publishers, reveal the persistence of limiting narratives of mixed race in Britain today. Taking a case study approach, this thesis analyses ideas of mixedness that are established through the media coverage surrounding their work, alongside the modes of mixedness made available through their work, arguing that their texts provide a crucial intervention into narratives of mixed race, and race more broadly, in contemporary Britain.

Alongside this analysis of external representations of mixedness, this thesis also examines the representation of mixed-race identity made available through the work of the authors themselves, arguing that these insider-led explorations of mixedness speak to, and against, mainstream narratives of mixedness and offer new representations and interpretations of mixedness. This thesis takes within its scope the ways in which ideas about mixed race have peaked throughout the twenty-first century, from the release of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth in 2000 through to the present day. The authors I focus on are Zadie Smith (White Teeth, 2000, Swing Time, 2016 and Feel Free, 2018), Hari Kunzru (The Impressionist, 2002 and White Tears, 2017), Monica Ali (Brick Lane, 2003) and Diana Evans (26a, 2005 and Ordinary People, 2018).

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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