Om Riots in Literature
Riots in Literature addresses representations of crowd disorder as manifestations of popular politics, including colonial and postcolonial contexts. The terms used to describe disorder are themselves, of course, contested. Words like "mob," "demonstration" and "protest," not to mention "riot' itself, denote a particular perspective based on an elitist taxonomy for dealing with social and cultural phenomena in society. Of primary concern is the way in which the text describes and designates crowd behaviour using the language of denigration, metaphors of the primitive and animalistic, brutal images, and silences, and where the mediation of the event is expressed in terms of the binary order/disorder. The contributors to this volume are interested in the analysis of the interaction of official political culture and crowd politics as represented in literature and orature, and how such representations contribute to the discourses of authority and subversion of their period. The essays are wide-ranging and explore the phenomenon of riots in literature through studies of popular risings in Shakespeare; Carlyle and the French Revolution; the Rebecca Riots in Wales; popular ballads and the Indian War of Independence in 1857, post- partition riots in India and Pakistan in the 1960s, township violence in South African fiction post-1948, the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles in detective fiction and avant garde disturbances in France of the 1920s and 1930s.Throughout the book, these essays focus attention on the tension-filled relationship that is perceived between literature and discourses of power and popular resistance.