Touch vs. Technology Towards a Politics of Affect in Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (2017) and Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire (2017)

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Asha Sen


In 2019, the number of global migrants reached an estimated 272 million—an increase of 51 million since 2010—making up 3.5 percent of the global population compared to 2.8 percent in 2000 (UN department of Economic and
Social Affairs). This makes the number of forcibly displaced people the highest it has ever been since the Second World War (Perfect 188). Since 9/11, however, media coverage of terrorist attacks—such as the March 11, 2004
Madrid attacks; the July 7, 2005 London attacks; the January 7, 2015 Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo; and most recently, the knifing of French school teacher Samuel Paty on October 21, 2020—have caused migrant identity to
be conflated with terrorism in the popular imagination. As Homi Bhabha points out, “When eight terrorists in a music hall can be seen at will on billions of screen devices across the world holding Paris hostage, ‘quantity’ does not quell fear, anxiety or hysterical Islamophobia” (709).


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