Michal Shalev (KCL) - 2021-22 Students

Becoming Native: Settler-Colonial Life Writing in Israel/Palestine and South Africa

My research juxtaposes Jewish-Israeli and white South-African life writing (diaries, letters, autobiographies, autofiction). While a growing body of work has considered the similarities and differences between South African and Israeli socio-political histories, there has been no substantial work of comparison in the literary field. Bringing together settler colonial studies and life writing studies, I explore the social, emotive, and ideological forces shaping settler subjectivity. An analysis of the different modes of self-narration shows how writers utilise life writing’s generic possibilities to negotiate their “self” and articulate their “location”. As I canvas a varied array of settler subjectivities, I test the potential of literature and life writing specifically to mark a trajectory to a shared future. I suggest that a better understanding of settler colonial self-formations contributes to contemporary struggles against racial and spatial discrimination and inequality.

Primary supervisor: Prof. Rachael Gilmour, QMUL
Secondary supervisor: Dr. Anna Bernard, KCL

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