The Pioneer Generation: historical narratives of British South Asian lives, 1945-1968
How can historians tell the history of South Asian immigration to Britain and what are the different historical approaches through which this story can be told? My aim in this research will be to bring histories of South Asian migration into dialogue with the new imperial histories of decolonization. I will be researching within a matrix of decolonization and social change in the UK, at a time of the postwar welfare state and the retraction of empire. This project is imagined as a theoretically grounded investigation into the meaning of the category of ‘British South Asian’ alongside an engaging recovery of voices and personal stories. I will be asking how historians can locate individual biographies within larger conceptual histories of race and nation, and illustrating this with narratives of the first pioneering generation of South Asian settlers in the UK.