In 1914, the SS Komagata Maru crossed oceans and jurisdictions – Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, Japan, and West Bengal – to arrive on the west coast of Canada. Citing regulations designed to limit the immigration of Indians, Canadian officials refused the ship and its passengers entry and detained them for two months in Vancouver Harbour. Most of the 376 passengers were then forcibly returned to India.
Unmooring the Komagata Maru challenges conventional Canadian historical accounts of the incident by considering the colonial dimensions within the context of political resistance, migration, cultural memory, and nation-building. Drawing from various disciplines, the collection situates the history of South Asians in Canada within a larger global-imperial history, emphasizing the ways in which the Komagata Maru incident is related to issues of colonialism.
The contributors offer not only nuanced interpretations of the ship’s journey but also a critical reading of Canada’s immigration history and multicultural credentials. Ultimately, they caution against narratives that present the incident as a dark moment in the history of an otherwise redeemed nation. Unmooring the Komagata Maru demonstrates that, more than a hundred years later, the voyage of the Komagata Maru has yet to reach its conclusion.
Scholars and students of postcolonial studies, transnational studies, Canadian studies, South Asian studies, Canadian history, politics, sociology, and critical ethnic studies will find much to interest them in this book. It will also find an audience within the South Asian diaspora.
Rita Kaur Dhamoon is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Victoria. She is author of Identity/Difference Politics: How Difference Is Produced and Why It Matters and has written widely on multiculturalism, critical race theory, feminist and gender politics, and anti-colonial studies. Davina Bhandar is an adjunct professor in the School of Communications and the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University. She has published in the areas of critical race studies, migration, theories of dispossession, citizenship studies, and the securitization of borders. Renisa Mawani is a professor of sociology and recurrent chair of the Law and Society Program at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of Colonial Proximities: Crossracial Encounters and Juridical Truths in British Columbia, 1871–1921 and Across Oceans of Law: The Komagata Maru and Jurisdiction in the Time of Empire and, with Antoinette Burton, the coeditor of Animalia: An Imperial Bestiary of Our Times. Satwinder Kaur Bains is an associate professor of social, cultural, and media studies at the University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford. She has written articles for the Asia-Pacific Journal, Women’s Studies International Forum, Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, and Understanding Sikhism: The Research Journal, and has contributed various book chapters.
Contributors: Suchetana Chattopadhyay, Enakshi Dua, Ian Christopher Fletcher, Ayesha Hameed, Nadia Hasan, Rajender Kaur, Sailaja Krishnamurti, Tariq Malik, Kaori Mizukami, Radhika Mongia, Omme-Salma Rahemtullah, Alia Somani, Irina Spector-Marks, Nayani Thiyagarajah, and Nishant Upadhyay
The Voyage of the Komagata Maru
The Sikh Challenge to Canada's Colour Bar, Expanded and Fully Revised Edition
Crossracial Encounters and Juridical Truths in British Columbia, 1871-1921
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