Necropolitics and the Diasporic Subject
From Sophocles’ Antigone to Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire
Authors: Farzaneh Doosti, Amir Ali Nojoumian
Published in Critical Language & Literary Studies Vol. 16, NO 21, Autumn 2018
Read full-text of the English edition here
This paper examines Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire (2017) as a faithful transposition of Sophocles’ Antigone into a contemporary novel that addresses the diasporic subject’s encounter with sovereign politics of life and death in the post-9/11 backlash against Muslims. A survey of the notion of the embodied subject, as set in the complex network of power relations and biopolitics in the diaspora space where new forms of bio- and necro-power are at work towards enforcing subjugation of diasporic bodies, forcefully synthesizes with the question of belonging, the right to soil, and post-mortem identity in Shamsie’s Home Fire. For Aneeka Pasha and other British diasporics, burial of British citizens by birth in the British soil is a natural and legal right, whereas to the representatives of the Islamophobic State, the diasporic subject’s rights to soil is as evanescent as their liminal identities. Just like Polyneices in Antigone, the dead body of Parvaiz – a remorseful ISIS member seeking a way back home to rest in peace – functions beyond the biological borders of his body and proves to challenge the body politic of the state and question their necropolitical decisions.
Keywords: necropolitics, Islamophobia, post-9/11 fiction, Muslim diaspora, Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie, Antigone