Unsettling cosmopolitanisms: Representations of London in Kamila Shamsie's salt and saffron

Rehana Ahmed

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Crucial to postcolonial debate concerning contemporary processes of globalization is an analysis of the extent to which textual treatments of location and dislocation are materially grounded. Kamila Shamsie's Salt and Saffron, located in Karachi and London, focuses on the polarized class system in the Pakistani city, but fails to extend this focus to its representations of London.

    Drawing on Marxist spatial analysis (Lefebvre, de Certeau) and with reference to Shamsie's more recent novel Kartography, I trace within Salt and Saffron an ideological repression of the social hierarchies that structure the space of London. I argue that the abstraction of space beyond the Indian subcontinent functions as a decoy, deflecting attention away from the significant presence of the “West” in the novel, and obscuring the relationship of location and transnational movement to class. I suggest that this deterritorializing, “cosmopolitan” tendency in Shamsie's work represses a materialist treatment of space.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12-28
    JournalWorld Literature Written in English
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2008


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