"Diasporic Depictions: India in 21st Century Anglophone Fiction for Young Readers"
This paper explores the depictions of India, its regions, languages, and cultural heritage, in a corpus of 21st century Anglophone fiction published primarily in the US and UK. India is the second-largest country of familial origin identified by Asian-Americans in the United States, and the source of the largest visible ethnic minority group in the UK. In both countries, there has been a recent turn in young reader literature towards stories that depict the authentic experiences of minority groups, including diasporas. For this paper, we use a sample from the Young Readers Database of Literature (YRDL), a corpus of over 22,000 books for middle-grade and young adult readers, to identify the frequency of references to “India” and “Indian”, along with the 28 states (and associated adjectives, e.g. “Gujarat” and “Gujarati”), and 50 largest cities in India by population. In books with at least one of these terms, we look at the distribution of other words with cultural salience, including food, clothing, religion, and caste. We use dependency parsing to identify the nouns most commonly associated with "Indian" and the regional adjectives.