Dr Sharmani P Gabriel

Sharmani Patricia Gabriel is Professor and Head of the Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. She is interested in issues of national-cultural identity formation from minority or marginal perspectives.  Her work engages in particular with the salience of the postcolonial, diasporic, and global configurations of Malaysian literature in English as a cultural form. She is currently involved in a project that examines the close imbrication of heritage and tourism, and its commercial basis, to investigate the new meanings that accrue to ethnic identities with Malaysia’s rapid modernisation and economic transformation in the context of global tourism.  Sharmani is a chapter contributor to the Oxford History of the Novel in English: Volume 10: The Novel of South and South-East Asia since 1945, edited by Alex Tickell (OUP, 2019) and is also co-editor of Literature, Memory, Hegemony: East/West Crossings (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), which proposes literature as a mobile form of culture that dismantles oppositional cross-cultural thinking.

Off the Map: Water, City, Sky as Counter Cartographies 

(Sharmani Patricia Gabriel, Universiti Malaya)

This presentation attempts to raise intriguing possibilities about the role of the literary text in helping us contemplate the messy, diverse, and problematic experiences of non-hegemonic, everyday life. It will examine the ways in which contemporary Malaysian literature constructs new imaginaries of struggle and unmappable worlds to unsettle centered and exclusionary representations of our histories, present, and futures.  It argues that Water, City, Sky as counter cartographies transform how we imagine, write, and re-map the spaces, places, and landscapes of our existence.