In Graphic Migrations, Kavita Daiya provides a literary and cultural archive of refugee stories and experiences to respond to the question “What is created?” after decolonization and the 1947 Partition of India. She explores how stories of Partition migrations shape and influence the political and cultural imagination of secularism and contribute to gendered citizenship for South Asians in India and its diasporas.
Daiya analyzes modern literature, Bollywood films, Margaret Bourke-White’s photography, advertising, and print culture to show how they memorialize or erase refugee experiences. She also uses oral testimonies of Partition refugees from Hong Kong, South Asia, and North America to draw out the tensions of the nation-state, ethnic discrimination, and religious difference. Employing both Critical Refugee Studies and Feminist Postcolonial Studies frameworks, Daiya traces the cultural, affective, and political legacies of Partition migrations.
The precarity generated by modern migration and expressed through public culture prompts a rethinking of how dominant media represents gendered migrants and refugees. Graphic Migrations demands that we redraw the boundaries of how we tell the story of modern world history and the intricately interwoven, intimate production of statelessness and citizenship across the world’s communities.