“My mother named me Light”: Identity expression in South Asian Instapoetry
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Instapoetry is a much discussed topic, especially in the online spaces it originated from. Discussions, however, mainly focus on the negatively perceived aspects of this poetic genre. A closer look at Instapoetry reveals a rather unique situation, in which previously voiceless demographics find a way to make their voices heard and express their identity through the medium of poetry published to the social media platform. This Honours thesis adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenon of Instapoetry as an expression of identity by young South Asian women currently living in the region. For this purpose, Instapoetry from a number of individual accounts was subject to close reading and analysis of the three main domains of the genre: The linguistic, thematic and aesthetic aspects of Instapoetry. The research of these three domains is based on theory and methodology originating from the fields of linguistics, postcolonial studies, literary studies and media studies. Not every Instapoem on a South Asian profile contains expressions of South Asian identity in all three domains, but the results of the study show that linguistic performance lends Instapoetry a South Asian voice with which it often discusses themes relevant to the poet’s identity. The poems are usually accompanied by visual elements which either support the image the poet creates for herself, or add a symbolic layer to the message of the poem.