Mapping Terrorism: Amorphous Nations, Transient Loyalties
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Terrorism has a predilection with nations and nationalism and it plays on the symbiotic relationship between nationalism and violence. But "forgetting" this violence and bloodshed was crucial to the perpetuation of the myth of civilized nations. While Postcolonial Studies has offered incisive justifications for anti-imperialist movements and the creation of new nations within the colonizer/colonized paradigm, there is now a need to critically examine terrorism with its demands for new nations with its narratives of violence. This dissertation, Mapping Terrorism: Amorphous Nations, Transient Loyalties is a comparative study of the narratives of terrorism in specific texts that invoke the re-imagining of the narratives of the nation and the re-configuration of national subjectivities. Furthermore, since globalization has extended the national imaginary beyond borders, it has forced us to engage with the implications of diasporic populations that have sometimes attributed to the formation of transnational communities of violence (both real and imagined). Through my analysis of fictional representations of terrorists, terrorism and terrorist acts in cinema and fiction and using the rubric of Postcolonial Studies, I locate these narratives within a discursive space framed by the interstices of dominant discourses, where nation and state do not collide. For my larger overarching argument in theorizing terrorism, I introduce a new category of (anti)nationalisms that includes all forms of variant nationalisms like sub-nationalisms, ethnonationalisms, counter-nationalisms, fundamentalisms, extremism, secessionism etc., each of which is uniquely different but all of which define themselves using the discourse of Nationalism as its oppositional 'Other'. Using this overarching category of (anti)nationalisms offers us a new space - an in-between space, to talk about variant nationalisms that are not necessarily congruent with terrorism. Doing so, offers us the opportunity to address each of these variant nationalisms in depth without having to engage with issues of ethical implications of these imaginings. It is my assertion that (anti)nationalisms are the geneses of all terrorist activities and conversely, terrorism can be argued as constituting the performative aspect of the political agenda of (anti)nationalisms. My dissertation thus addresses a broader need for theorizing terrorism through cultural representations within the framework of Postcolonial Studies.