Beyond Auto/Biography: Power, Politics, and Gender in Kenyan - Asian Women Writings
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This article draws on writings by three Kenyan Asian women writers to problematize current ideas on gendered engagements with historical and cultural discourses that are played out in literary productions, especially in the genre of auto/biography, for long seen as an avenue for possible re-insertion of women's experiences into literary histories. My argument is twofold: first, that Asian women writers strategically subvert existing cultural representation of the entire community in the male-authored literature and, secondly, that these works demonstrate a paradoxical tension in which women writers simultaneously disavow male-centred histories of the community while drawing on those histories to further the interests of their lot. Hence, based on these works, one notes in women-authored auto/biographies only a marginal, tentative departure in the reading of historical events in which the Kenyan-Asian community is implicated. This, in my view, is due to the discursive interpellation of women as doubly marginalized members of a community determined to claim its place in a country that is witnessing resurgent forms of ethno-racial self-affirmation.