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Title: Writing the Empire Windrush (critical thesis) and Chan (poetry collection)
Authors: Lowe, Hannah Louise
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcsastle University
Abstract: This doctorate is comprised of a critical thesis (30%) and a creative submission of poetry (70%). The critical thesis examines representations of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury on 22 June 1948, interrogating how it became symbolic shorthand for the beginnings of the post-war Caribbean diaspora to Britain, with a central place in the national historical imagination. Critics argue that the representation of the Windrush has undergone a dramatic transformation in its 65-year history, from its deployment in media discourses highlighting the problems of immigration, to its reclamation as a positive symbol of Black Britain at the turn of the century. The 1998 commemorations of the fiftieth anniversary were instrumental in this re-appropriation. This thesis examines depictions of the Windrush from the moment of its arrival to the present day, to argue that the ongoing centrality of the Windrush in the story of the Caribbean–British diaspora has obscured a longer, richer history of black presence in Britain while overlooking the imperial history which prompted the diasporic movements of Caribbean people to the imperial centre. The critical work of Chapters One and Two provides the context for my poetry collection Chan, which is discussed in Chapter Three. The Ormonde sequence of Chan responds to my interrogation of the Windrush creatively, by reconstructing the 1947 voyage of its predecessor, the Ormonde. The remaining sections are thematically linked by their engagement with suppressed or unknown histories, writing from personal and public archives and their exploration of migration, diaspora and mixed-race identities.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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