Blessed and Banned: Surveillance and Refusal in Somali Diasporic Art & Literature
Keywords:Somali Anglophone literature, literatures of diaspora, migration literature, Arab Anglopohone literature
This essay examines the work of twenty-first century Somali Anglophone writers and artists, analyzing how they confront the connected experiences of displacement, migration, and surveillance. I interpret the work of Warsan Shire, Diriye Osman, Ladan Osman, and Ifrah Mansour as embodying place-based transnationalisms that resist stereotypical media and political representations of Somali refugees as invasive and dangerous, especially gendered clichés of Somali, Muslim men as inherently violent and Somali, Muslim women as universally oppressed. Through writing, art, and performance, these works reveal how the state prevents communities from caring for one another through state apparatuses, and articulate instead a right to mutuality and care-taking.
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