Picturing the Modern Self: Vernacular Modernity and Temporal Synchronicity

  • Maya ParmarEmail author


Taking as its subject photographs, from a family archive, this chapter oscillates around the double diaspora’s twofold inclination towards progress and its vernacular modernity. Paradoxically, the diaspora are simultaneously pulled backwards, in what Parmar calls temporal synchronicity. Taking account of the storage of the visual material, the vastness of the archive and what the images depict, Parmar demonstrates a fetish of collected and hoarded commodities. Subsequently, she returns to the concept of trauma, drawing upon Sigmund Freud (1977) and Ranjana Khanna (2006). Parmar again comments upon Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s cookbook memoir, and too explores sartorial practices. Clothing is a powerful tool that reflects the vernacular modernity of the diaspora, as well as the cultural, political, gendered and generational competing allegiances that the twice-displaced community attend to. Parmar formulates an understanding of how performative dress can conceive identity, regional and national, not only in the family frame, but, as per the previous chapter, on the dance floor.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts & Social SciencesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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