In Africa in the Indian Imagination Antoinette Burton reframes our understanding of the postcolonial Afro-Asian solidarity that emerged from the 1955 Bandung conference. Afro-Asian solidarity is best understood, Burton contends, by using friction as a lens to expose the racial, class, gender, sexuality, caste, and political tensions throughout the postcolonial global South. Focusing on India's imagined relationship with Africa, Burton historicizes Africa's role in the emergence of a coherent postcolonial Indian identity. She shows how—despite Bandung's rhetoric of equality and brotherhood—Indian identity echoed colonial racial hierarchies in its subordination of Africans and blackness. Underscoring Indian anxiety over Africa and challenging the narratives and dearly held assumptions that presume a sentimentalized, nostalgic, and fraternal history of Afro-Asian solidarity, Burton demonstrates the continued need for anti-heroic, vexed, and fractious postcolonial critique.
Decades after independence for most African states, the struggle for decolonization is still incomplete, as demonstrated by the fact that Africa remains associated in many Western minds with chaos, illness, and disorder. African and non-African scholars alike still struggle to establish the idea of African humanity, in all its diversity, and to move Africa beyond its historical role as the foil to the West.
As this book shows, Africa’s decolonization is an ongoing process across a range of fronts, and intellectuals—both African and non-African—have significant roles to play in that process. The essays collected here examine issues such as representation and retrospection; the roles of intellectuals in the public sphere; and the fundamental question of how to decolonize African knowledges. African Intellectuals and Decolonization outlines ways in which intellectual practice can serve to de-link Africa from its global representation as a debased, subordinated, deviant, and inferior entity.
Contributors Lesley Cowling, University of the Witwatersrand Nicholas M. Creary, University at Albany Marlene De La Cruz, Ohio University Carolyn Hamilton, University of Cape Town George Hartley, Ohio University Janet Hess, Sonoma State University T. Spreelin McDonald, Ohio University Ebenezer Adebisi Olawuyi, University of Ibadan Steve Odero Ouma, University of Nairobi Oyeronke Oyewumi, State University of New York
at Stony Brook Tsenay Serequeberhan, Morgan State University
The majority of the existing work on nationalism has centered on its role in the creation of new states. After Independence breaks new ground by examining the changes to nationalism after independence in seven new states. This innovative volume challenges scholars and specialists to rethink conventional views of ethnic and civic nationalism and the division between primordial and constructivist understandings of national identity.
"Where do nationalists go once they get what they want? We know rather little about how nationalist movements transform themselves into the governments of new states, or how they can become opponents of new regimes that, in their view, have not taken the self-determination drive far enough. This stellar collection contributes not only to comparative theorizing on nationalist movements, but also deepens our understanding of the contentious politics of nationalism's ultimate product--new countries."
--Charles King, Chair of the Faculty and Ion Ratiu Associate Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
"This well-integrated volume analyzes two important variants of nationalism-postcolonial and postcommunist-in a sober, lucid way and will benefit students and scholars alike."
--Zvi Gitelman, University of Michigan
Lowell W. Barrington is Associate Professor of Political Science, Marquette University.
Insisting on the critical value of Latin American histories for recasting theories of postcolonialism, After Spanish Rule is the first collection of essays by Latin Americanist historians and anthropologists to engage postcolonial debates from the perspective of the Americas. These essays extend and revise the insights of postcolonial studies in diverse Latin American contexts, ranging from the narratives of eighteenth-century travelers and clerics in the region to the status of indigenous intellectuals in present-day Colombia. The editors argue that the construction of an array of singular histories at the intersection of particular colonialisms and nationalisms must become the critical project of postcolonial history-writing.
Challenging the universalizing tendencies of postcolonial theory as it has developed in the Anglophone academy, the contributors are attentive to the crucial ways in which the histories of Latin American countries—with their creole elites, hybrid middle classes, subordinated ethnic groups, and complicated historical relationships with Spain and the United States—differ from those of other former colonies in the southern hemisphere. Yet, while acknowledging such differences, the volume suggests a host of provocative, critical connections to colonial and postcolonial histories around the world.
Contributors Thomas Abercrombie Shahid Amin Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra Peter Guardino Andrés Guerrero Marixa Lasso Javier Morillo-Alicea Joanne Rappaport Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo Mark Thurner
From a variety of historically grounded perspectives, After the Imperial Turn assesses the fate of the nation as a subject of disciplinary inquiry. In light of the turn toward scholarship focused on imperialism and postcolonialism, this provocative collection investigates whether the nation remains central, adequate, or even possible as an analytical category for studying history. These twenty essays, primarily by historians, exemplify cultural approaches to histories of nationalism and imperialism even as they critically examine the implications of such approaches. While most of the contributors discuss British imperialism and its repercussions, the volume also includes, as counterpoints, essays on the history and historiography of France, Germany, Spain, and the United States. Whether looking at the history of the passport or the teaching of history from a postnational perspective, this collection explores such vexed issues as how historians might resist the seduction of national narratives, what—if anything—might replace the nation’s hegemony, and how even history-writing that interrogates the idea of the nation remains ideologically and methodologically indebted to national narratives. Placing nation-based studies in international and interdisciplinary contexts, After the Imperial Turn points toward ways of writing history and analyzing culture attentive both to the inadequacies and endurance of the nation as an organizing rubric.
Contributors. Tony Ballantyne, Antoinette Burton, Ann Curthoys, Augusto Espiritu, Karen Fang, Ian Christopher Fletcher, Robert Gregg, Terri Hasseler, Clement Hawes, Douglas M. Haynes, Kristin Hoganson, Paula Krebs, Lara Kriegel, Radhika Viyas Mongia, Susan Pennybacker, John Plotz, Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, Heather Streets, Hsu-Ming Teo, Stuart Ward, Lora Wildenthal, Gary Wilder
Nelson Maldonado-Torres argues that European modernity has become inextricable from the experience of the warrior and conqueror. In Against War, he develops a powerful critique of modernity, and he offers a critical response combining ethics, political theory, and ideas rooted in Christian and Jewish thought. Maldonado-Torres focuses on the perspectives of those who inhabit the underside of western modernity, particularly Jewish, black, and Latin American theorists. He analyzes the works of the Jewish Lithuanian-French philosopher and religious thinker Emmanuel Levinas, the Martiniquean psychiatrist and political thinker Frantz Fanon, and the Catholic Argentinean-Mexican philosopher, historian, and theologian Enrique Dussel.
Considering Levinas’s critique of French liberalism and Nazi racial politics, and the links between them, Maldonado-Torres identifies a “master morality” of dominion and control at the heart of western modernity. This master morality constitutes the center of a warring paradigm that inspires and legitimizes racial policies, imperial projects, and wars of invasion. Maldonado-Torres refines the description of modernity’s war paradigm and the Levinasian critique through Fanon’s phenomenology of the colonized and racial self and the politics of decolonization, which he reinterprets in light of the Levinasian conception of ethics. Drawing on Dussel’s genealogy of the modern imperial and warring self, Maldonado-Torres theorizes race as the naturalization of war’s death ethic. He offers decolonial ethics and politics as an antidote to modernity’s master morality and the paradigm of war. Against War advances the de-colonial turn, showing how theory and ethics cannot be conceived without politics, and how they all need to be oriented by the imperative of decolonization in the modern/colonial and postmodern world.
In Alimentary Tracts Parama Roy argues that who eats and with whom, who starves, and what is rejected as food are questions fundamental to empire, decolonization, and globalization. In crucial ways, she suggests, colonialism reconfigured the sensorium of colonizer and colonized, generating novel experiences of desire, taste, and appetite as well as new technologies of the embodied self. For colonizers, Indian nationalists, diasporic persons, and others in the colonial and postcolonial world orders, the alimentary tract functioned as an important corporeal, psychoaffective, and ethicopolitical contact zone, in which questions of identification, desire, difference, and responsibility were staged.
Interpreting texts that have addressed cooking, dining, taste, hungers, excesses, and aversions in South Asia and its diaspora since the mid-nineteenth century, Roy relates historical events and literary figures to tropes of disgust, abstention, dearth, and appetite. She analyzes the fears of pollution and deprivation conveyed in British accounts of the so-called Mutiny of 1857, complicates understandings of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s vegetarianism, examines the “famine fictions” of the novelist-actor Mahasweta Devi, and reflects on the diasporic cookbooks and screen performances of Madhur Jaffrey. This account of richly visceral global modernity furnishes readers with a new idiom for understanding historical action and cultural transformation.
In 1997, when the New York Times described Filipino American serial killer Andrew Cunanan as appearing “to be everywhere and nowhere,” Allan Punzalan Isaac recognized confusion about the Filipino presence in the United States, symptomatic of American imperialism’s invisibility to itself. In American Tropics, Isaac explores American fantasies about the Philippines and other “unincorporated” parts of the U.S. nation that obscure the contradictions of a democratic country possessing colonies.Isaac boldly examines the American empire’s images of the Philippines in turn-of-the-century legal debates over Puerto Rico, Progressive-era popular literature set in Latin American borderlands, and midcentury Hollywood cinema staged in Hawai‘i and the Pacific islands. Isaac scrutinizes media coverage of the Cunanan case, Boy Scout adventure novels, and Hollywood films such as The Real Glory (1939) and Blue Hawaii (1961) to argue that territorial sites of occupation are an important part of American identity. American Tropics further reveals the imperial imagination’s role in shaping national meaning in novels such as Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart (1946) and Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters (1990), Filipino American novels forced to articulate the empire’s enfolded but disavowed borders.Tracing the American empire from the beginning of the twentieth century to Philippine liberation and the U.S. civil rights movement, American Tropics lays bare Filipino Americans’ unique form of belonging marked indelibly by imperialism and at odds with U.S. racial politics and culture.Allan Punzalan Isaac is assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University.
In The Appearances of Memory, the Indonesian architectural and urban historian Abidin Kusno explores the connections between the built environment and political consciousness in Indonesia during the colonial and postcolonial eras. Focusing primarily on Jakarta, he describes how perceptions of the past, anxieties about the rapid pace of change in the present, and hopes for the future have been embodied in architecture and urban space at different historical moments. He argues that the built environment serves as a reminder of the practices of the past and an instantiation of the desire to remake oneself within, as well as beyond, one’s particular time and place.
Addressing developments in Indonesia since the fall of President Suharto’s regime in 1998, Kusno delves into such topics as the domestication of traumatic violence and the restoration of order in the urban space, the intense interest in urban history in contemporary Indonesia, and the implications of “superblocks,” large urban complexes consisting of residences, offices, shops, and entertainment venues. Moving farther back in time, he examines how Indonesian architects reinvented colonial architectural styles to challenge the political culture of the state, how colonial structures such as railway and commercial buildings created a new, politically charged cognitive map of cities in Java in the early twentieth century, and how the Dutch, in attempting to quell dissent, imposed a distinctive urban visual order in the 1930s. Finally, the present and the past meet in his long-term considerations of how Java has responded to the global flow of Islamic architecture, and how the meanings of Indonesian gatehouses have changed and persisted over time. The Appearances of Memory is a pioneering look at the roles of architecture and urban development in Indonesia’s ongoing efforts to move forward.
In The Archive and the Repertoire preeminent performance studies scholar Diana Taylor provides a new understanding of the vital role of performance in the Americas. From plays to official events to grassroots protests, performance, she argues, must be taken seriously as a means of storing and transmitting knowledge. Taylor reveals how the repertoire of embodied memory—conveyed in gestures, the spoken word, movement, dance, song, and other performances—offers alternative perspectives to those derived from the written archive and is particularly useful to a reconsideration of historical processes of transnational contact. The Archive and the Repertoire invites a remapping of the Americas based on traditions of embodied practice.
Examining various genres of performance including demonstrations by the children of the disappeared in Argentina, the Peruvian theatre group Yuyachkani, and televised astrological readings by Univision personality Walter Mercado, Taylor explores how the archive and the repertoire work together to make political claims, transmit traumatic memory, and forge a new sense of cultural identity. Through her consideration of performances such as Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s show Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit . . . , Taylor illuminates how scenarios of discovery and conquest haunt the Americas, trapping even those who attempt to dismantle them. Meditating on events like those of September 11, 2001 and media representations of them, she examines both the crucial role of performance in contemporary culture and her own role as witness to and participant in hemispheric dramas. The Archive and the Repertoire is a compelling demonstration of the many ways that the study of performance enables a deeper understanding of the past and present, of ourselves and others.
Centering his analysis in the dynamic forces of modern East Asian history, Kuan-Hsing Chen recasts cultural studies as a politically urgent global endeavor. He argues that the intellectual and subjective work of decolonization begun across East Asia after the Second World War was stalled by the cold war. At the same time, the work of deimperialization became impossible to imagine in imperial centers such as Japan and the United States. Chen contends that it is now necessary to resume those tasks, and that decolonization, deimperialization, and an intellectual undoing of the cold war must proceed simultaneously. Combining postcolonial studies, globalization studies, and the emerging field of “Asian studies in Asia,” he insists that those on both sides of the imperial divide must assess the conduct, motives, and consequences of imperial histories.
Chen is one of the most important intellectuals working in East Asia today; his writing has been influential in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and mainland China for the past fifteen years. As a founding member of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society and its journal, he has helped to initiate change in the dynamics and intellectual orientation of the region, building a network that has facilitated inter-Asian connections. Asia as Method encapsulates Chen’s vision and activities within the increasingly “inter-referencing” East Asian intellectual community and charts necessary new directions for cultural studies.
In At Penpoint Monica Popescu traces the development of African literature during the second half of the twentieth century to address the intertwined effects of the Cold War and decolonization on literary history. Popescu draws on archival materials from the Soviet-sponsored Afro-Asian Writers Association and the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom alongside considerations of canonical literary works by Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Ousmane Sembène, Pepetela, Nadine Gordimer, and others. She outlines how the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union played out in the aesthetic and political debates among African writers and intellectuals. These writers decolonized aesthetic canons even as superpowers attempted to shape African cultural production in ways that would advance their ideological and geopolitical goals. Placing African literature at the crossroads of postcolonial theory and studies of the Cold War, Popescu provides a new reassessment of African literature, aesthetics, and knowledge production.
Leading experts in the analysis of ethnicity and indigenous rights explore the questions of why and how the circumstances of indigenous peoples are improving in some places of the world, while their human rights continue to be abused in others. Drawing on case studies from Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas, chapters explore how political organization, natural resource management, economic development, and conflicting definitions over cultural, linguistic, religious, and territorial identity have informed indigenous strategies for empowerment.
Combining rich ethnographic descriptions with clear theoretical analyses, At the Risk of Being Heard considers the paradoxical challenges and opportunities confronting indigenous peoples at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In the face of state-sanctioned violence, indigenous peoples encounter considerable risks when asserting their rights, especially to self-determination. Yet, if they remain silent or absent from new arenas of power, hiding in marginalized homelands or cultural practices, they risk being invisible to those allies that would aid them in their struggles for survival.
At the Risk of Being Heard offers needed insights for individuals working on issues of governance, sustainable development, resource management, globalization, and indigenous affairs. It will undoubtedly appeal to undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology, sociology, history, political science, peace studies, and to those students in courses that explore relationships among postcolonial states, indigenous peoples, and human rights.
Bartholomew Dean is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Kansas. Jerome M. Levi is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Carleton College.
Thirty years ago, an international antiglobalization movement was born in the grazing lands of France’s Larzac plateau. In the 1970s, Larzac farmers were joined by others from around the world in their efforts to prevent the expansion of a local military base: by ecologists, religious pacifists, and urban leftists, and by social activists including American Indians and South American peasant leaders. In 1999 some of the same farmers who had fought the expansion of the base in the 1970s—including José Bové—dismantled the new local McDonald’s. That gesture was part of a protest against U.S. tariffs on specified French exports including Roquefort cheese, the region’s primary market product. The two struggles—the one against expanding a French army camp intended to train troops for postcolonial wars, the other against American economic might—were landmarks in the global campaign to preserve local cultures. They were also key episodes in the decades-long attempt by the French to define their cultural heritage within a much changed nation, a new Europe, and, especially, an American-dominated world.
In Bringing the Empire Back Home, the inventive cultural historian Herman Lebovics provides a riveting account of how intense disputes about what it means to be French have played out over the past half-century, redefining Paris, the regions, and the former colonies in relation to one another and the world at large. In a narrative populated with peasants, people from the former colonies, museum curators, former colonial administrators, left Christians, archaeologists, anthropologists, soccer players and their teenage fans, and, yes, leading government officials, Lebovics reveals contemporary French society and cultures as perhaps the West’s most important testing grounds of pluralism and assimilation. A lively cultural history, Bringing the Empire Back Home highlights not only the political significance of France’s efforts to synthesize the regional, national, European, ethnic postcolonial, and global but also the chaotic beauty of the endeavor.
The Caribbean has long been a key area for empires warring over influence spheres, and where migration waves from Africa, Europe, and Asia accompanied every political transformation. In this volume, an interdisciplinary group of scholars studies the Caribbean’s “unincorporated subjects,” and explores how against all odds, Caribbean artists, filmmakers, and writers have been resourceful at showcasing migration as the hallmark of our modern age.
This comprehensive collection examines a broad spectrum of Islamic governance during colonial and postcolonial eras. The book pays special attention to the ongoing battles over the codification of Islamic education, religious authority, law and practice while outlining the similarities and differences in British, French and Portuguese colonial rule in Islamic regions. Using a shared conceptual framework the contributors to this volume analyze the nature of regulation in different historical periods and geographical areas. From Africa and the Middle East to Asia and Europe, Colonial and Post-Colonial Governance of Islam opens up new vistas for research in Islamic studies
With the largest municipal debt in US history and a major hurricane that destroyed much of the archipelago's infrastructure, Puerto Rico has emerged as a key site for the exploration of neoliberalism and disaster capitalism. In Colonial Debts Rocío Zambrana develops the concept of neoliberal coloniality in light of Puerto Rico's debt crisis. Drawing on decolonial thought and praxis, Zambrana shows how debt functions as an apparatus of predation that transforms how neoliberalism operates. Debt functions as a form of coloniality, intensifying race, gender, and class hierarchies in ways that strengthen the colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Zambrana also examines the transformation of protest in Puerto Rico. From La Colectiva Feminista en Construcción's actions, long-standing land rescue/occupation in the territory, to the July 2019 protests that ousted former governor Ricardo “Ricky” Rosselló, protests pursue variations of decolonial praxis that subvert the positions of power that debt installs. As Zambrana demonstrates, debt reinstalls the colonial condition and adapts the racial/gender order essential to it, thereby emerging as a key site for political-economic subversion and social rearticulation.
Europeans and Americans tend to hold the opinion that democracy is a uniquely Western inheritance, but in The Common Cause, Leela Gandhi recovers stories of an alternate version, describing a transnational history of democracy in the first half of the twentieth century through the lens of ethics in the broad sense of disciplined self-fashioning. Gandhi identifies a shared culture of perfectionism across imperialism, fascism, and liberalism—an ethic that excluded the ordinary and unexceptional. But, she also illuminates an ethic of moral imperfectionism, a set of anticolonial, antifascist practices devoted to ordinariness and abnegation that ranged from doomed mutinies in the Indian military to Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual discipline.
Reframing the way we think about some of the most consequential political events of the era, Gandhi presents moral imperfectionism as the lost tradition of global democratic thought and offers it to us as a key to democracy’s future. In doing so, she defends democracy as a shared art of living on the other side of perfection and mounts a postcolonial appeal for an ethics of becoming common.
Orlando Patterson returns to Jamaica, his birthplace, to reckon with its history and culture. Locals claim to be some of the world’s happiest people, and their successes in music and athletics are legendary. Yet the country remains violent and poor. In Jamaica the dilemmas of globalization and postcolonial politics are thrown into stark relief.
Contributing to the historiography of transnational and global transmission of ideas, Connections after Colonialism examines relations between Europe and Latin America during the tumultuous 1820s.
In the Atlantic World, the 1820s was a decade marked by the rupture of colonial relations, the independence of Latin America, and the ever-widening chasm between the Old World and the New. Connections after Colonialism, edited by Matthew Brown and Gabriel Paquette, builds upon recent advances in the history of colonialism and imperialism by studying former colonies and metropoles through the same analytical lens, as part of an attempt to understand the complex connections—political, economic, intellectual, and cultural—between Europe and Latin America that survived the demise of empire.
Historians are increasingly aware of the persistence of robust links between Europe and the new Latin American nations. This book focuses on connections both during the events culminating with independence and in subsequent years, a period strangely neglected in European and Latin American scholarship. Bringing together distinguished historians of both Europe and America, the volume reveals a new cast of characters and relationships ranging from unrepentant American monarchists, compromise seeking liberals in Lisbon and Madrid who envisioned transatlantic federations, and British merchants in the River Plate who saw opportunity where others saw risk to public moralists whose audiences spanned from Paris to Santiago de Chile and plantation owners in eastern Cuba who feared that slave rebellions elsewhere in the Caribbean would spread to their island.
Matthew Brown / Will Fowler / Josep M.
Fradera / Carrie Gibson / Brian Hamnett /
Maurizio Isabella / Iona Macintyre / Scarlett
O’Phelan Godoy / Gabriel Paquette / David
Rock / Christopher Schmidt-Nowara / Jay
Sexton / Reuben Zahler
At this stalled and disillusioned juncture in postcolonial history—when many anticolonial utopias have withered into a morass of exhaustion, corruption, and authoritarianism—David Scott argues the need to reconceptualize the past in order to reimagine a more usable future. He describes how, prior to independence, anticolonialists narrated the transition from colonialism to postcolonialism as romance—as a story of overcoming and vindication, of salvation and redemption. Scott contends that postcolonial scholarship assumes the same trajectory, and that this imposes conceptual limitations. He suggests that tragedy may be a more useful narrative frame than romance. In tragedy, the future does not appear as an uninterrupted movement forward, but instead as a slow and sometimes reversible series of ups and downs.
Scott explores the political and epistemological implications of how the past is conceived in relation to the present and future through a reconsideration of C. L. R. James’s masterpiece of anticolonial history, The Black Jacobins, first published in 1938. In that book, James told the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the making of the Haitian Revolution as one of romantic vindication. In the second edition, published in the United States in 1963, James inserted new material suggesting that that story might usefully be told as tragedy. Scott uses James’s recasting of The Black Jacobins to compare the relative yields of romance and tragedy. In an epilogue, he juxtaposes James’s thinking about tragedy, history, and revolution with Hannah Arendt’s in On Revolution. He contrasts their uses of tragedy as a means of situating the past in relation to the present in order to derive a politics for a possible future.
The contributors to Constructing the Pluriverse critique the hegemony of the postcolonial Western tradition and its claims to universality by offering a set of “pluriversal” approaches to understanding the coexisting epistemologies and practices of the different worlds and problems we inhabit and encounter. Moving beyond critiques of colonialism, the contributors rethink the relationship between knowledge and power, offering new perspectives on development, democracy, and ideology while providing diverse methodologies for non-Western thought and practice that range from feminist approaches to scientific research to ways of knowing expressed through West African oral traditions. In combination, these wide-ranging approaches and understandings form a new analytical toolbox for those seeking creative solutions for dismantling Westernization throughout the world.
Contributors. Zaid Ahmad, Manuela Boatcă, Hans-Jürgen Burchardt, Raewyn Connell, Arturo Escobar, Sandra Harding, Ehsan Kashfi, Venu Mehta, Walter D. Mignolo, Ulrich Oslender, Issiaka Ouattara, Bernd Reiter, Manu Samnotra, Catherine E. Walsh, Aram Ziai
Contested Histories in Public Space brings multiple perspectives to bear on historical narratives presented to the public in museums, monuments, texts, and festivals around the world, from Paris to Kathmandu, from the Mexican state of Oaxaca to the waterfront of Wellington, New Zealand. Paying particular attention to how race and empire are implicated in the creation and display of national narratives, the contributing historians, anthropologists, and other scholars delve into representations of contested histories at such “sites” as a British Library exhibition on the East India Company, a Rio de Janeiro shantytown known as “the cradle of samba,” the Ellis Island immigration museum, and high-school history textbooks in Ecuador.
Several contributors examine how the experiences of indigenous groups and the imperial past are incorporated into public histories in British Commonwealth nations: in Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum; in the First Peoples’ Hall at the Canadian Museum of Civilization; and, more broadly, in late-twentieth-century Australian culture. Still others focus on the role of governments in mediating contested racialized histories: for example, the post-apartheid history of South Africa’s Voortrekker Monument, originally designed as a tribute to the Voortrekkers who colonized the country’s interior. Among several essays describing how national narratives have been challenged are pieces on a dispute over how to represent Nepali history and identity, on representations of Afrocuban religions in contemporary Cuba, and on the installation in the French Pantheon in Paris of a plaque honoring Louis Delgrès, a leader of Guadeloupean resistance to French colonialism.
Contributors. Paul Amar, Paul Ashton, O. Hugo Benavides, Laurent Dubois, Richard Flores, Durba Ghosh, Albert Grundlingh, Paula Hamilton, Lisa Maya Knauer, Charlotte Macdonald, Mark Salber Phillips, Ruth B. Phillips, Deborah Poole, Anne M. Rademacher, Daniel J. Walkowitz
From xenophobic appropriations of Joan of Arc to Afro-futurism and cyberpunk, the "national" characters of the colonial era often seem to be dissolving into postnational and virtual subjects. In Continental Drift, Emily Apter deftly analyzes the French colonial and postcolonial experience as a case study in the erosion of belief in national destiny and the emergence of technologically mediated citizenship.
Among the many topics Apter explores are the fate of national literatures in an increasingly transnational literary climate; the volatile stakes of Albert Camus's life and reputation against the backdrop of Algerian civil strife; the use of literary and theatrical productions to "script" national character for the colonies; belly-dancing and aesthetic theory; and the impact of new media on colonial and postcolonial representation, from tourist photography to the videos of Digital Diaspora.
Continental Drift advances debates not just in postcolonial studies, but also in gender, identity, and cultural studies; ethnography; psychoanalysis; and performance studies.
The Creolization of Theory
Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih, eds. Duke University Press, 2011 Library of Congress HM1272.C735 2011 | Dewey Decimal 303.482089
Introducing this collection of essays, Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih argue that looking back—investigating the historical, intellectual, and political entanglements of contemporary academic disciplines—offers a way for scholars in the humanities to move critical debates forward. They describe how disciplines or methodologies that seem distinct today emerged from overlapping intellectual and political currents in the 1960s and early 1970s, in the era of decolonization, the U.S. civil rights movement, and antiwar activism. While both American ethnic studies programs and “French theory” originated in decolonial impulses, over time, French theory became depoliticized in the American academy. Meanwhile, ethnic studies, and later also postcolonial studies, developed politically and historically grounded critiques of inequality. Suggesting that the abstract universalisms of Euro-American theory may ultimately be the source of its demise, Lionnet and Shih advocate the creolization of theory: the development of a reciprocal, relational, and intersectional critical approach attentive to the legacies of colonialism. This use of creolization as a theoretical and analytical rubric is placed in critical context by Dominique Chancé, who provides a genealogy of the concept of creolization. In their essays, leading figures in their fields explore the intellectual, disciplinary, and ethical implications of the creolized theory elaborated by Lionnet and Shih. Édouard Glisssant links the extremes of globalization to those of colonialism and imperialism in an interview appearing for the first time in English in this volume. The Creolization of Theory is a bold intervention in debates about the role of theory in the humanities.
Contributors. Étienne Balibar, Dominique Chancé, Pheng Cheah, Leo Ching, Liz Constable, Anne Donadey, Fatima El-Tayeb, Julin Everett, Édouard Glissant, Barnor Hesse, Ping-hui Liao, Françoise Lionnet, Walter Mignolo, Andrea Schwieger Hiepko, Shu-mei Shih
Are the "culture wars" over? When did they begin? What is their relationship to gender struggle and the dynamics of class? In her first full treatment of postcolonial studies, a field that she helped define, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, one of the world's foremost literary theorists, poses these questions from within the postcolonial enclave.
On the surface, postcolonial studies and composition studies appear to have little in common. However, they share a strikingly similar goal: to provide power to the words and actions of those who have been marginalized or oppressed. Postcolonial studies accomplishes this goal by opening a space for the voices of “others” in traditional views of history and literature. Composition studies strives to empower students by providing equal access to higher education and validation for their writing.
For two fields that have so much in common, very little dialogue exists between them. Crossing Borderlands attempts to establish such an exchange in the hopes of creating a productive “borderland” where they can work together to realize common goals.
Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf University of Chicago Press, 2021 Library of Congress DT159.6.D27A32 2021 | Dewey Decimal 962.4043
The Darfur conflict exploded in early 2003 when two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, struck national military installations in Darfur to send a hard-hitting message of resentment over the region’s political and economic marginalization. The conflict devastated the region’s economy, shredded its fragile social fabric, and drove millions of people from their homes. Darfur Allegory is a dispatch from the humanitarian crisis that explains the historical and ethnographic background to competing narratives that have informed international responses. At the heart of the book is Sudanese anthropologist Rogaia Abusharaf’s critique of the pseudoscientific notions of race and ethnicity that posit divisions between “Arab” northerners and “African” Darfuris.
Elaborated in colonial times and enshrined in policy afterwards, such binary categories have been adopted by the media to explain the civil war in Darfur. The narratives that circulate internationally are thus highly fraught and cover over—to counterproductive effect—forms of Darfurian activism that have emerged in the conflict’s wake. Darfur Allegory marries the analytical precision of a committed anthropologist with an insider’s view of Sudanese politics at home and in the diaspora, laying bare the power of words to heal or perpetuate civil conflict.
Interrogating current theories of cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and aesthetics in Postcolonial Studies, Decentering Rushdie offers a new perspective on the Indian novel in English. Since Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981, its postmodern style and postnational politics have dominated discussions of postcolonial literature. As a result, the rich variety of narrative forms and perspectives on the nation that constitute the field have been obscured, if not erased altogether.
Reading a range of novels published between the 1950s and 1990s, including works by Nayantara Sahgal, Kamala Markandaya, Anita Desai, and Arundhati Roy, Decentering Rushdie suggests an alternative understanding of the genre in postcolonial India. Pranav Jani documents the broad shift from nation-oriented to postnationalist perspectives following the watershed crisis of the Emergency of the 1970s. Recovering the “namak-halaal cosmopolitanism” of early novels—a cosmopolitanism that is “true to its salt”—Decentering Rushdie also explains the rise and critical celebration of postnational cosmopolitanism.
Decentering Rushdie thus resituates contemporary literature within a nuanced history of Indian debates about cosmopolitanism and the national question. In the process, Jani articulates definitions of cosmopolitanism and nationalism that speak to the complex negotiation of language, culture, and representation in postcolonial South Asia.
In this time of global instability and widespread violence, Albert Memmi—author of the highly influential and groundbreaking work The Colonizer and the Colonized—turns his attention to the present-day situation of formerly colonized peoples. In Decolonization and the Decolonized, Memmi expands his intellectual engagement with the subject and examines the manifold causes of the failure of decolonization efforts throughout the world.As outspoken and controversial as ever, Memmi initiates a much-needed discussion of the ex-colonized and refuses to idealize those who are too often painted as hapless victims. He shows how, in light of a radically changed world, it would be problematic—and even irresponsible—to continue to deploy concepts that were useful and valid during the period of anticolonial struggle.Decolonization and the Decolonized contributes to the most current debates on Islamophobia in France, the “new” anti-Semitism, and the unrelenting poverty gripping the African continent. Memmi, who is Jewish, was born and raised in Tunis, and focuses primarily on what he calls the Arab-Muslim condition, while also incorporating comparisons with South America, Asia, Black Africa, and the United States. In Decolonization and the Decolonized, Memmi has written that rare book—a manifesto informed by intellect and animated by passion—that will propel public analysis of the most urgent global issues to a new level.Albert Memmi is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Paris, Nanterre, and the author of Racism (Minnesota, 1997).Robert Bononno, a teacher and translator, lives in New York City.
Anticolonial theorists and revolutionaries have long turned to dialectical thought as a central weapon in their fight against oppressive structures and conditions. This relationship was never easy, however, as anticolonial thinkers have resisted the historical determinism, teleology, Eurocentrism, and singular emphasis that some Marxisms place on class identity at the expense of race, nation, and popular identity. In recent decades, the conflict between dialectics and postcolonial theory has only deepened. In Decolonizing Dialectics George Ciccariello-Maher breaks this impasse by bringing the work of Georges Sorel, Frantz Fanon, and Enrique Dussel together with contemporary Venezuelan politics to formulate a dialectics suited to the struggle against the legacies of colonialism and slavery. This is a decolonized dialectics premised on constant struggle in which progress must be fought for and where the struggles of the wretched of the earth themselves provide the only guarantee of historical motion.
What does it mean to be a Navajo (Diné) person today? What does it mean to “respect tradition”? How can a contemporary life be informed by the traditions of the past? These are the kinds of questions addressed by contributors to this unusual and pathbreaking book.
All of the contributors are coming to personal terms with a phrase that underpins the matrix of Diné culture: Sa’ah Naagháí Bik’eh Hózhóón. Often referred to simply as SNBH, the phrase can be translated in many ways but is generally understood to mean “one’s journey of striving to live a long, harmonious life.” The book offers a variety of perspectives of Diné men and women on the Diné cultural paradigm that is embedded in SNBH. Their writings represent embodied knowledge grounded in a way of knowing that connects thought, speech, experience, history, tradition, and land. Some of the contributors are scholars. Some are Diné who are fighting for justice and prosperity for the Navajo Nation. Some are poets and artists. They are united in working to preserve both intellectual and cultural sovereignty for Diné peoples. And their contributions exemplify how Indigenous peoples are creatively applying tools of decolonization and critical research to re-create Indigenous thought and culture in a present day that rarely resembles the days of their ancestors.
More than 300,000 people self-identify as Diné today. Every one must grapple with how to make a life that acknowledges Sa’ah Naagháí Bik’eh Hózhóón. DinéPerspectives is unique in bringing such personal journeys to the public eye.
Discipline and the Other Body reveals the intimate relationship between violence and difference underlying modern governmental power and the human rights discourses that critique it. The comparative essays brought together in this collection show how, in using physical violence to discipline and control colonial subjects, governments repeatedly found themselves enmeshed in a fundamental paradox: Colonialism was about the management of difference—the “civilized” ruling the “uncivilized”—but colonial violence seemed to many the antithesis of civility, threatening to undermine the very distinction that validated its use. Violation of the bodies of colonial subjects regularly generated scandals, and eventually led to humanitarian initiatives, ultimately changing conceptions of “the human” and helping to constitute modern forms of human rights discourse. Colonial violence and discipline also played a crucial role in hardening modern categories of difference—race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and religion.
The contributors, who include both historians and anthropologists, address instances of colonial violence from the early modern period to the twentieth century and from Asia to Africa to North America. They consider diverse topics, from the interactions of race, law, and violence in colonial Louisiana to British attempts to regulate sex and marriage in the Indian army in the early nineteenth century. They examine the political dilemmas raised by the extensive use of torture in colonial India and the ways that British colonizers flogged Nigerians based on beliefs that different ethnic and religious affiliations corresponded to different degrees of social evolution and levels of susceptibility to physical pain. An essay on how contemporary Sufi healers deploy bodily violence to maintain sexual and religious hierarchies in postcolonial northern Nigeria makes it clear that the state is not the only enforcer of disciplinary regimes based on ideas of difference.
Contributors. Laura Bear, Yvette Christiansë, Shannon Lee Dawdy, Dorothy Ko, Isaac Land, Susan O’Brien, Douglas M. Peers, Steven Pierce, Anupama Rao, Kerry Ward
How do colonial histories matter to the urgencies and conditions of our current world? How have those histories so often been rendered as leftovers, as "legacies" of a dead past rather than as active and violating forces in the world today? With precision and clarity, Ann Laura Stoler argues that recognizing "colonial presence" may have as much to do with how the connections between colonial histories and the present are expected to look as it does with how they are expected to be. In Duress, Stoler considers what methodological renovations might serve to write histories that yield neither to smooth continuities nor to abrupt epochal breaks. Capturing the uneven, recursive qualities of the visions and practices that imperial formations have animated, Stoler works through a set of conceptual and concrete reconsiderations that locate the political effects and practices that imperial projects produce: occluded histories, gradated sovereignties, affective security regimes, "new" racisms, bodily exposures, active debris, and carceral archipelagos of colony and camp that carve out the distribution of inequities and deep fault lines of duress today.
Embers of the Past is a powerful critique of historicism and modernity. Javier Sanjinés C. analyzes the conflict between the cultures and movements of indigenous peoples and attention to the modern nation-state in its contemporary Latin American manifestations. He contends that indigenous movements have introduced doubt into the linear course of modernity, reopening the gap between the symbolic and the real. Addressing this rupture, Sanjines argues that scholars must rethink their temporal categories. Toward that end, he engages with recent events in Latin America, particularly in Bolivia, and with Latin American intellectuals, as well as European thinkers disenchanted with modernity. Sanjinés dissects the concepts of the homogeneous nation and linear time, and insists on the need to reclaim the indigenous subjectivities still labeled "premodern" and excluded from the production, distribution, and organization of knowledge.
Empires of Vision: A Reader
Martin Jay and Sumathi Ramaswamy, eds. Duke University Press, 2014 Library of Congress JC359.E4625 2014 | Dewey Decimal 325.3
Empires of Vision brings together pieces by some of the most influential scholars working at the intersection of visual culture studies and the history of European imperialism. The essays and excerpts focus on the paintings, maps, geographical surveys, postcards, photographs, and other media that comprise the visual milieu of colonization, struggles for decolonization, and the lingering effects of empire. Taken together, they demonstrate that an appreciation of the role of visual experience is necessary for understanding the functioning of hegemonic imperial power and the ways that the colonized subjects spoke, and looked, back at their imperial rulers. Empires of Vision also makes a vital point about the complexity of image culture in the modern world: We must comprehend how regimes of visuality emerged globally, not only in the metropole but also in relation to the putative margins of a world that increasingly came to question the very distinction between center and periphery.
Contributors. Jordanna Bailkin, Roger Benjamin, Daniela Bleichmar, Zeynep Çelik, David Ciarlo, Natasha Eaton, Simon Gikandi, Serge Gruzinski, James L. Hevia, Martin Jay, Brian Larkin, Olu Oguibe, Ricardo Padrón, Christopher Pinney, Sumathi Ramaswamy, Benjamin Schmidt, Terry Smith, Robert Stam, Eric A. Stein, Nicholas Thomas, Krista A. Thompson
How might the pornographic be associated with Brecht's and Benjamin's media theories? How are Foucault's and Deleuze's writings on visibilities "postcolonial"? What happens when Rancière's discussions of art are juxtaposed with cultural anthropology? What does a story by Lao She about collecting reveal about political collectivism in modern China? How does Girard's notion of mimetic violence speak to identity politics? How might Arendt's and Derrida's reflections on forgiveness be supplemented by a film by Lee Chang-dong? What can Akira Kurosawa's films about Japan say about American Studies? How is Asia framed transnationally, with what consequences for those who self-identify as Asian?
These questions are dispersively heterologous yet mutually implicated. This paradoxical character of their discursive relations is what Rey Chow intends with the word "entanglements," by which she means, first, an enmeshment of topics: the mediatized image in modernist reflexivity; captivation and identification; victimhood; the place of East Asia in globalized Western academic study. Beyond enmeshment, she asks, can entanglements be phenomena that are not defined by affinity or proximity? Might entanglements be about partition and disparity rather than about conjunction and similarity? Across medial forms (including theater, film, narrative, digitization, and photographic art), and against more popular trends of declaring things and people to be in flux, Chow proposes conceptual frames that foreground instead aesthetic, ontological, and sentient experiences of force, dominance, submission, fidelity, antagonism, masochism, letting-go, and the attraction to self-annihilation. Boundary, trap, capture, captivation, sacrifice, and mimesis: these riveting terms serve as analytic pressure points in her readings, articulating perversity, madness, and terror to pursuits of freedom.
How do we live in and with empire? The contributors to Ethnographies of U.S. Empire pursue this question by examining empire as an unequally shared present. Here empire stands as an entrenched, if often invisible, part of everyday life central to making and remaking a world in which it is too often presented as an aberration rather than as a structuring condition. This volume presents scholarship from across U.S. imperial formations: settler colonialism, overseas territories, communities impacted by U.S. military action or political intervention, Cold War alliances and fissures, and, most recently, new forms of U.S. empire after 9/11. From the Mohawk Nation, Korea, and the Philippines to Iraq and the hills of New Jersey, the contributors show how a methodological and theoretical commitment to ethnography sharpens all of our understandings of the novel and timeworn ways people live, thrive, and resist in the imperial present.
Contributors: Kevin K. Birth, Joe Bryan, John F. Collins, Jean Dennison, Erin Fitz-Henry, Adriana María Garriga-López, Olívia Maria Gomes da Cunha, Matthew Gutmann, Ju Hui Judy Han, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Eleana Kim, Heonik Kwon, Soo Ah Kwon, Darryl Li, Catherine Lutz, Sunaina Maira, Carole McGranahan, Sean T. Mitchell, Jan M. Padios, Melissa Rosario, Audra Simpson, Ann Laura Stoler, Fa’anofo Lisaclaire Uperesa, David Vine
In The Extractive Zone Macarena Gómez-Barris traces the political, aesthetic, and performative practices that emerge in opposition to the ruinous effects of extractive capital. The work of Indigenous activists, intellectuals, and artists in spaces Gómez-Barris labels extractive zones—majority indigenous regions in South America noted for their biodiversity and long history of exploitative natural resource extraction—resist and refuse the terms of racial capital and the continued legacies of colonialism. Extending decolonial theory with race, sexuality, and critical Indigenous studies, Gómez-Barris develops new vocabularies for alternative forms of social and political life. She shows how from Colombia to southern Chile artists like filmmaker Huichaqueo Perez and visual artist Carolina Caycedo formulate decolonial aesthetics. She also examines the decolonizing politics of a Bolivian anarcho-feminist collective and a coalition in eastern Ecuador that protects the region from oil drilling. In so doing, Gómez-Barris reveals the continued presence of colonial logics and locates emergent modes of living beyond the boundaries of destructive extractive capital.
The Failure of Latin Americais a collection of John Beverley’s previously published essays and pairs them with new material that reflects on questions of postcolonialism and equality within the context of receding continental socialism. Beverley sees an impasse within both the academic postcolonial project and the Bolivarian idea of Latin America. The Pink Tide may have failed to permanently reshape Latin America, but in its failure there remains the possibility of an alternative modernity not bound to global capitalism. Beverley proposes that equality, modified by the postcolonial legacy, is a particularly Latin American possibility that can break the impasse and redefine Latinamericanism.
In The Fernando Coronil Reader Venezuelan anthropologist Fernando Coronil challenges us to rethink our approaches to key contemporary epistemological, political, and ethical questions. Consisting of work written between 1991 and 2011, this posthumously published collection includes Coronil's landmark essays “Beyond Occidentalism” and “The Future in Question” as well as two chapters from his unfinished book manuscript, "Crude Matters." Taken together, the essays highlight his deep concern with the Global South, Latin American state formation, theories of nature, empire, and postcolonialism, and anthrohistory as an intellectual and ethical approach. Presenting a cross section of Coronil's oeuvre, this volume cements his legacy as one of the most innovative critical social thinkers of his generation.
Anjali Arondekar considers the relationship between sexuality and the colonial archive by posing the following questions: Why does sexuality (still) seek its truth in the historical archive? What are the spatial and temporal logics that compel such a return? And conversely, what kind of “archive” does such a recuperative hermeneutics produce? Rather than render sexuality’s relationship to the colonial archive through the preferred lens of historical invisibility (which would presume that there is something about sexuality that is lost or silent and needs to “come out”), Arondekar engages sexuality’s recursive traces within the colonial archive against and through our very desire for access.
The logic and the interpretive resources of For the Record arise out of two entangled and minoritized historiographies: one in South Asian studies and the other in queer/sexuality studies. Focusing on late colonial India, Arondekar examines the spectacularization of sexuality in anthropology, law, literature, and pornography from 1843 until 1920. By turning to materials and/or locations that are familiar to most scholars of queer and subaltern studies, Arondekar considers sexuality at the center of the colonial archive rather than at its margins. Each chapter addresses a form of archival loss, troped either in a language of disappearance or paucity, simulacrum or detritus: from Richard Burton’s missing report on male brothels in Karáchi (1845) to a failed sodomy prosecution in Northern India, Queen Empress v. Khairati (1884), and from the ubiquitous India-rubber dildos found in colonial pornography of the mid-to-late nineteenth century to the archival detritus of Kipling’s stories about the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
The figure of the freak as perceived by the Western gaze has always been a part of the Latin American imaginary, from the letters that Columbus wrote about his encounters with dog-faced people to Shakespeare's Caliban. The freak acquires greater significance in a globalized, neoliberal world that defines the "abnormal" as one who does not conform mentally, physically, or emotionally and is unable or unwilling to follow the economic and cultural norms of the institutions in power. Freak Performances examines the continuing effects of colonialism on modern Latin American identities, with a particular focus on the way it has constructed the body of the other through performance. Theater questions the representations of these bodies, as it enables the empowerment of the silenced other; the freak as a spectacle of otherness finds in performance an opportunity for re-appropriation by artists resisting the dominant authority. Through an analysis of experimental theater, dance theater, performance art, and gallery-based installation art across eight countries, Analola Santana explores the theoretical issues shaped by the encounters and negotiations between different bodies in the current Latin American landscape.
With Brazil hosting the FIFA World Cup this summer and the Olympic Games in 2016, all eyes are on Latin America. But what vision of these countries will we be given? Will our airwaves be full of cultural stereotypes about Latin Americans and inaccurate interpretations of the region’s position in the world? In From Frontiers to Football, Matthew Brown provides a much-needed historical analysis to rebut misconceptions about Latin America’s past while giving readers the tools with which to understand the region’s complex present.
Telling the story of Latin America’s engagement with global empires from 1800 to today, From Frontiers to Football is as much a narrative of repeated cycles, continued dependency, and thwarted dreams as it is a tale of imperial designs overthrown, colonial armies defeated, and other successes that have inspired colonized peoples across the globe. Brown restores a cultural history to the continent, giving as much attention to pop singer Shakira and retired footballer Pelé as he does to coffee producers, copper miners, government policies, and covert imperialism. Latin America, Brown shows, is no longer a frontier or periphery, but rather is at the forefront of innovation and a global center for social, cultural, and economic activities. Clear and readable, From Frontiers to Football presents a compelling introduction to the history of Latin America’s interactions with the world over the last two centuries.
Historical anthropology: critical exchange between two decidedly distinct disciplines or innovative mode of knowledge production? As this volume’s title suggests, the essays Brian Keith Axel has gathered in From the Margins seek to challenge the limits of discrete disciplinary epistemologies and conventions, gesturing instead toward a transdisciplinary understanding of the emerging relations between archive and field. In original articles encompassing a wide range of geographic and temporal locations, eminent scholars contest some of the primary preconceptions of their fields. The contributors tackle such topics as the paradoxical nature of American Civil War monuments, the figure of the “New Christian” in early seventeenth-century Peru, the implications of statistics for ethnography, and contemporary South Africa's “occult economies.” That anthropology and history have their provenance in—and have been complicit with—colonial formations is perhaps commonplace knowledge. But what is rarely examined is the specific manner in which colonial processes imbue and threaten the celebratory ideals of postcolonial reason or the enlightenment of today’s liberal practices in the social sciences and humanities. By elaborating this critique, From the Margins offers diverse and powerful models that explore the intersections of historically specific local practices with processes of a world historical order. As such, the collection will not only prove valuable reading for anthropologists and historians, but also for scholars in colonial, postcolonial, and globalization studies. Contributors. Talal Asad, Brian Keith Axel, Bernard S. Cohn, Jean Comaroff, John L. Comaroff, Nicholas B. Dirks, Irene Silverblatt, Paul A. Silverstein, Teri Silvio, Ann Laura Stoler, Michel-Rolph Trouillot
Geographies of Philological Knowledge examines the relationship between medievalism and colonialism in the nineteenth-century Hispanic American context through the striking case of the Creole Andrés Bello (1781–1865), a Venezuelan grammarian, editor, legal scholar, and politician, and his lifelong philological work on the medieval heroic narrative that would later become Spain’s national epic, the Poem of the Cid. Nadia R. Altschul combs Bello’s study of the poem and finds throughout it evidence of a “coloniality of knowledge.”
Altschul reveals how, during the nineteenth century, the framework for philological scholarship established in and for core European nations—France, England, and especially Germany—was exported to Spain and Hispanic America as the proper way of doing medieval studies. She argues that the global designs of European philological scholarship are conspicuous in the domain of disciplinary historiography, especially when examining the local history of a Creole Hispanic American like Bello, who is neither fully European nor fully alien to European culture. Altschul likewise highlights Hispanic America’s intellectual internalization of coloniality and its understanding of itself as an extension of Europe.
A timely example of interdisciplinary history, interconnected history, and transnational study, Geographies of Philological Knowledge breaks with previous nationalist and colonialist histories and thus forges a new path for the future of medieval studies.
Making the case for a new kind of visual history, The Goddess and the Nation charts the pictorial life and career of Bharat Mata, “Mother India,” the Indian nation imagined as mother/goddess, embodiment of national territory, and unifying symbol for the country’s diverse communities. Soon after Mother India’s emergence in the late nineteenth century, artists, both famous and amateur, began to picture her in various media, incorporating the map of India into her visual persona. The images they produced enabled patriotic men and women in a heterogeneous population to collectively visualize India, affectively identify with it, and even become willing to surrender their lives for it. Filled with illustrations, including 100 in color, The Goddess and the Nation draws on visual studies, gender studies, and the history of cartography to offer a rigorous analysis of Mother India’s appearance in painting, print, poster art, and pictures from the late nineteenth century to the present.
By exploring the mutual entanglement of the scientifically mapped image of India and a (Hindu) mother/goddess, Sumathi Ramaswamy reveals Mother India as a figure who relies on the British colonial mapped image of her dominion to distinguish her from the other goddesses of India, and to guarantee her novel status as embodiment, sign, and symbol of national territory. Providing an exemplary critique of ideologies of gender and the science of cartography, Ramaswamy demonstrates that images do not merely reflect history; they actively make it. In The Goddess and the Nation, she teaches us about pictorial ways of learning the form of the nation, of how to live with it—and ultimately to die for it.
In Home Rule Nandita Sharma traces the historical formation and political separation of Natives and Migrants from the nineteenth century to the present to theorize the portrayal of Migrants as “colonial invaders.” The imperial-state category of Native, initially a mark of colonized status, has been revitalized in what Sharma terms the Postcolonial New World Order of nation-states. Under postcolonial rule, claims to autochthony—being the Native “people of a place”—are mobilized to define true national belonging. Consequently, Migrants—the quintessential “people out of place”—increasingly face exclusion, expulsion, or even extermination. This turn to autochthony has led to a hardening of nationalism(s). Criteria for political membership have shrunk, immigration controls have intensified, all while practices of expropriation and exploitation have expanded. Such politics exemplify the postcolonial politics of national sovereignty, a politics that Sharma sees as containing our dreams of decolonization. Home Rule rejects nationalisms and calls for the dissolution of the ruling categories of Native and Migrant so we can build a common, worldly place where our fundamental liberty to stay and move is realized.
In recent decades, much of the most vital literature written in English has come from the former colonies of Great Britain. But while postcolonial novelists such as Chinua Achebe, Salman Rushdie, and V. S. Naipaul have been widely celebrated, the achievements of postcolonial poets have been strangely neglected.
In The Hybrid Muse, Jahan Ramazani argues that postcolonial poets have also dramatically expanded the atlas of literature in English, infusing modern and contemporary poetry with indigenous metaphors and creoles. A rich and vibrant poetry, he contends, has issued from the hybridization of the English muse with the long resident muses of Africa, India, and the Caribbean. Starting with the complex case of Ireland, Ramazani closely analyzes the work of leading postcolonial poets and explores key questions about the relationship between poetry and postcolonialism. As inheritors of both imperial and native cultures, poets such as W. B. Yeats, Derek Walcott, Louise Bennett, A. K. Ramanujan, and Okot p'Bitek invent compelling new forms to articulate the tensions and ambiguities of their cultural in-betweeness. They forge hybrid figures, vocabularies, and genres that embody the postcolonial condition.
Engaging an array of critical topics, from the aesthetics of irony and metaphor to the politics of nationalism and anthropology, Ramazani reconceptualizes issues central to our understanding of both postcolonial literatures and twentieth-century poetry. The first book of its kind, The Hybrid Muse will help internationalize the study of poetry, and in turn, strengthen the place of poetry in postcolonial studies.
Imperial Debris redirects critical focus from ruins as evidence of the past to "ruination" as the processes through which imperial power occupies the present. Ann Laura Stoler's introduction is a manifesto, a compelling call for postcolonial studies to expand its analytical scope to address the toxic but less perceptible corrosions and violent accruals of colonial aftermaths, as well as their durable traces on the material environment and people's bodies and minds. In their provocative, tightly focused responses to Stoler, the contributors explore subjects as seemingly diverse as villages submerged during the building of a massive dam in southern India, Palestinian children taught to envision and document ancestral homes razed by the Israeli military, and survival on the toxic edges of oil refineries and amid the remains of apartheid in Durban, South Africa. They consider the significance of Cold War imagery of a United States decimated by nuclear blast, perceptions of a swath of Argentina's Gran Chaco as a barbarous void, and the enduring resonance, in contemporary sexual violence, of atrocities in King Leopold's Congo. Reflecting on the physical destruction of Sri Lanka, on Detroit as a colonial metropole in relation to sites of ruination in the Amazon, and on interactions near a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Brazilian state of Bahia, the contributors attend to present-day harms in the occluded, unexpected sites and situations where earlier imperial formations persist. Contributors. Ariella Azoulay, John F. Collins, Sharad Chari, E. Valentine Daniel, Gastón Gordillo, Greg Grandin, Nancy Rose Hunt, Joseph Masco, Vyjayanthi Venuturupalli Rao, Ann Laura Stoler
How do contemporary generations come to terms with losses inflicted by imperialism, colonialism, and war that took place decades ago? How do descendants of perpetrators and victims establish new relations in today’s globalized economy? With Inheritance of Loss, Yukiko Koga approaches these questions through the unique lens of inheritance, focusing on Northeast China, the former site of the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo, where municipal governments now court Japanese as investors and tourists. As China transitions to a market-oriented society, this region is restoring long-neglected colonial-era structures to boost tourism and inviting former colonial industries to create special economic zones, all while inadvertently unearthing chemical weapons abandoned by the Imperial Japanese Army at the end of World War II.
Inheritance of Loss chronicles these sites of colonial inheritance––tourist destinations, corporate zones, and mustard gas exposure sites––to illustrate attempts by ordinary Chinese and Japanese to reckon with their shared yet contested pasts. In her explorations of everyday life, Koga directs us to see how the violence and injustice that occurred after the demise of the Japanese Empire compound the losses that later generations must account for, and inevitably inherit.
Law and Disorder in the Postcolony
Edited by Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff University of Chicago Press, 2006 Library of Congress HN980.L36 2006 | Dewey Decimal 364.97124
Are postcolonies haunted more by criminal violence than other nation-states? The usual answer is yes. In Law and Disorder in the Postcolony, Jean and John Comaroff and a group of respected theorists show that the question is misplaced: that the predicament of postcolonies arises from their place in a world order dominated by new modes of governance, new sorts of empires, new species of wealth—an order that criminalizes poverty and race, entraps the “south” in relations of corruption, and displaces politics into the realms of the market, criminal economies, and the courts.
As these essays make plain, however, there is another side to postcoloniality: while postcolonies live in states of endemic disorder, many of them fetishize the law, its ways and itsmeans. How is the coincidence of disorder with a fixation on legalities to be explained? Law and Disorder in the Postcolony addresses this question, entering into critical dialogue with such theorists as Benjamin, Agamben, and Bayart. In the process, it also demonstrates how postcolonies have become crucial sites for the production of contemporary theory, not least because they are harbingers of a global future under construction.
Laws of the Postcolonial
Eve Darian-Smith and Peter Fitzpatrick, Editors University of Michigan Press, 1999 Library of Congress K236.L39 1999 | Dewey Decimal 340
Although postcolonialism is now the main mode in which the West's relation to the "other" is critically explored, and although law has been at the forefront of that very relation, a thorough engagement between law and postcolonialism has not been pursued, in part because this would drastically disrupt not just the persistent orthodoxy of law and development but also the newly settled consensus around legal globalization and international human rights discourse. These essays break new ground in using the ideas of postcolonialism in a critical analysis of the current consensus on the international influence of Western law and on Western ideas of law in general.
In perceptions of Western law there is an enduring disparity between law's pervasive power and its fragility. Many of these essays provide graphic accounts of law's tremendous shaping power in that massive occidental movement which settled and unsettled the globe. These accounts point to the West's encompassing and transforming of other peoples and other legal systems in ways which constitute and confirm the West in its own self-creation. Other essays deal with situations "within" the West which show how its identity is created, sustained, and also challenged in a constant reference to those contrary "others" which a powerful law has shaped and transformed. This challenge comes not least from the resistance of those "others" --resistances that profoundly disrupt the West and its law, revealing them as fractured at the seemingly confident core of their own self-constitution.
Contributors include Antony Anghie, Rolando Gaete, Alan Norrie, Dianne Otto, Paul Passavant, Jeannine Perdy, Colin Perrin, Annelise Riles, Roshan de Silva, and John Strawson, in addition to the editors.
Eve Darian-Smith is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara. Peter Fitzpatrick is Professor of Law, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.
Shahrazad, the legendary fictional storyteller who spun the tales of the 1,001 Arabian Nights, has long been rendered as a silent exotic beauty by Western film and fiction adaptations. Now, she talks back to present a new image of Muslim women.
In Liberating Shahrazad, Suzanne Gauch analyzes how postcolonial writers and filmmakers from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia have reclaimed the storyteller in order to portray Muslim women in ways that highlight their power to shape their own destinies. Gauch looks at Maghrebian works that incorporate Shahrazad’s storytelling techniques into unexpected and unforeseen narratives. Highlighting the fluid nature of storytelling, Gauch demonstrates how these new depictions of Shahrazad—from artists such as Moufida Tlatli, Fatima Mernissi, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Assia Djebar, Leïla Sebbar—navigate the demands of a global marketplace, even as they reshape the stories told about the Islamic world.
In the face of both rising fundamentalism and proliferating Western media representations of Arab and Muslim women as silent, exploited, and uneducated victims, Gauch establishes how contemporary works of literature and film revive the voice of a long-silenced Shahrazad—and, ultimately, overthrow oppressive images of Muslim women. Suzanne Gauch is assistant professor of English and women’s studies at Temple University.
The postcolonial spread of democratic ideals such as freedom and equality has taken place all over the world despite the widespread cultural differences that would seem to inhibit such change. In her new book, Literatures of Liberation: Non-European Universalisms and Democratic Progress, Mukti Lakhi Mangharam questions how these “universalisms” came to be and suggests that these elements were not solely the result of Europe-based Enlightenment ideals. Instead, they also arose in context-specific forms throughout the world (particularly in the Global South), relatively independently from Enlightenment concepts. These translatable yet distinct cognitive frameworks, or “contextual universalisms,” as she argues, were central to the spread of modern democratic principles in response to the relentless expansion of capital.
In this way, she posits that these universalisms reconceptualize democratic ideals not as Western imports into precolonial societies but as regional phenomena tied to local relations of power and resistance. In charting these alternative democratic trajectories, Mangharam examines oft-overlooked regional and vernacular literary forms and provides a fresh approach to current theorizations of postcolonial and world literatures.
Lusophone Africa: Beyond Independence is a study of the contemporary cultural production of Portuguese-speaking Africa and its critical engagement with globalization in the aftermath of colonialism, especially since the advent of multiparty politics and market-oriented economies.
Exploring the evolving relationship of Lusophone Africa with Portugal, its former colonial power, and Brazil, Fernando Arenas situates the countries on the geopolitical map of contemporary global forces. Drawing from popular music, film, literature, cultural history, geopolitics, and critical theory to investigate the postcolonial condition of Portuguese-speaking Africa, Arenas offers an entirely original discussion of world music phenomenon Cesária Évora, as well as the most thorough examination to date of Lusophone African cinema and of Angolan post-civil-war fiction.
Throughout, Arenas evokes the rich multidimensionality of this community of African nations as a whole and of its individual parts: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe since they gained their independence in the mid-1970s. In doing so, he puts forth a conceptual framework for understanding, for the first time, recent cultural and historical developments in Portuguese-speaking Africa.
Exposes the complicity of language and its uses in the colonial project.
A revealing look into the long afterlife of colonial conquest, Lying on the Postcolonial Couch offers an original, overarching concept that informs-and helps to explain-the workings of postcoloniality. This concept, "indifference," is a play on the key critical term "difference." Indifference is a cognitive stance invented during the colonial period for the purpose of organizing the complex domain of the Indian subcontinent, one that created its own brand of poetics. Considering postcoloniality as a symptomatic condition, this book proposes a cure involving a return to buried memories of colonial trauma before the phenomenon itself succumbs to the absolute indifference of the slowly gathering amnesia of the new millennium.
Rukmini Bhaya Nair traces a paper trail beginning in 1757 with the Battle of Plassey, winding through the contentious Mutiny of 1857, and ending with Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses predicament. Along this trail, she uncovers hidden residues of feeling, from guilt and mistrust to wonder and pleasure, and analyzes the linguistic pillars that hold up the institution of bureaucratic indifference that she exposes.
Rukmini Bhaya Nair is professor of English and linguistics in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
When exploring the links between America and postcolonialism, scholars tend to think either in terms of contemporary multiculturalism, or of imperialism since 1898. This narrow view has left more than the two prior centuries of colonizing literary and political culture unexamined.
Messy Beginnings challenges the idea of early America’s immunity from issues of imperialism, that its history is not as “clean” as European colonialism. By addressing the literature ranging from the diaries of American women missionaries in the Middle East to the work of Benjamin Franklin and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and through appraisals of key postcolonial theorists such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha, the contributors to this volume explore the applicability of their models to early American culture.
Messy Beginnings argues against the simple concept that the colonization of what became the United States was a confrontation between European culture and the “other.” Contributors examine the formation of America through the messy or unstable negotiations of the idea of “nation.”
The essays forcefully show that the development of “Americanness” was a raced and classed phenomenon, achieved through a complex series of violent encounters, legal maneuvers, and political compromises. The complexity of early American colonization, where there was not one coherent “nation” to conquer, contradicts the simple label of imperialism used in other lands. The unique approach of Messy Beginnings will reshape both pre-conceived notions of postcolonialism, and how postcolonialists think about the development of the American nation.
Victor Bascara University of Minnesota Press, 2006 Library of Congress E184.A75B37 2006 | Dewey Decimal 303.48273050904
At the beginning of the twentieth century, soon after the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, the United States was an imperialistic nation, maintaining (often with the assistance of military force) a far-flung and growing empire. After a long period of collective national amnesia regarding American colonialism, in the Philippines and elsewhere, scholars have resurrected the power of “empire” as a way of revealing American history and culture. Focusing on the terms of Asian American assimilation and the rise of the model-minority myth, Victor Bascara examines the resurgence of empire as a tool for acknowledging—and understanding—the legacy of American imperialism. Model-Minority Imperialism links geopolitical dramas of twentieth-century empire building with domestic controversies of U.S. racial order by examining the cultural politics of Asian Americans as they are revealed in fiction, film, and theatrical productions. Tracing U.S. economic and political hegemony back to the beginning of the twentieth century through works by Jessica Hagedorn, R. Zamora Linmark, and Sui Sin Far; discourses of race, economics, and empire found in the speeches of William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan; as well as L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other texts, Bascara’s innovative readings uncover the repressed story of U.S. imperialism and unearth the demand that the present empire reckon with its past. Bascara deploys the analytical approaches of both postcolonial studies and Asian American studies, two fields that developed in parallel but have only begun to converge, to reveal how the vocabulary of empire reasserted itself through some of the very people who inspired the U.S imperialist mission.Victor Bascara is assistant professor of English and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Mongrel Nation surveys the history of the United Kingdom’s African, Asian, and Caribbean populations from 1948 to the present, working at the juncture of cultural studies, literary criticism, and postcolonial theory. Ashley Dawson argues that during the past fifty years Asian and black intellectuals from Sam Selvon to Zadie Smith have continually challenged the United Kingdom’s exclusionary definitions of citizenship, using innovative forms of cultural expression to reconfigure definitions of belonging in the postcolonial age. By examining popular culture and exploring topics such as the nexus of race and gender, the growth of transnational politics, and the clash between first- and second-generation immigrants, Dawson broadens and enlivens the field of postcolonial studies.
Mongrel Nation gives readers a broad landscape from which to view the shifting currents of politics, literature, and culture in postcolonial Britain. At a time when the contradictions of expansionist braggadocio again dominate the world stage, Mongrel Nation usefully illuminates the legacy of imperialism and suggests that creative voices of resistance can never be silenced.Dawson
“Elegant, eloquent, and full of imaginative insight, Mongrel Nation is a refreshing, engaged, and informative addition to post-colonial and diasporic literary scholarship.”
—Hazel V. Carby, Yale University
“Eloquent and strong, insightful and historically precise, lively and engaging, Mongrel Nation is an expansive history of twentieth-century internationalist encounters that provides a broader landscape from which to understand currents, shifts, and historical junctures that shaped the international postcolonial imagination.”
—May Joseph, Pratt Institute
Ashley Dawson is Associate Professor of English at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island. He is coeditor of the forthcoming Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism.
A compelling reclamation of the place of aesthetics in postcolonial literature.
"Literature" though it may be, postcolonial literature is studied and understood largely--and often solely--in social and political terms. In neglecting its aesthetic dimension, as this book forcefully demonstrates, we are overlooking not only an essential aspect of this literature but even a critical perspective on its sociopolitical function and value. In Native Intelligence, Deepika Bahri focuses on postcolonial literature's formal and aesthetic negotiations with sociopolitical concerns.
How, Bahri asks, do aesthetic considerations contest the social function of postcolonial literature? In answering, her book takes on two tasks: First, it identifies the burden of representation borne by postcolonial literature through its progressive politicization. Second, it draws on Frankfurt School critical theory to reclaim a place for aesthetics in literary representation by closely engaging works of Rohinton Mistry, Salman Rushdie, and Arundhati Roy. Throughout, Bahri shows how attention to the aesthetic innovations and utopian impulses of postcolonial works uncovers their complex and uneven relationship to ideology, reanimating their potential to make novel contributions to the larger project of social liberation.
Deepika Bahri is associate professor in the Department of English at Emory University and coeditor, with Mary Vasudeva, of Between the Lines: South Asians and Postcoloniality (1996).
Achille Mbembe Duke University Press, 2019 Library of Congress JC328.6.M3913 2019
In Necropolitics Achille Mbembe, a leader in the new wave of francophone critical theory, theorizes the genealogy of the contemporary world, a world plagued by ever-increasing inequality, militarization, enmity, and terror as well as by a resurgence of racist, fascist, and nationalist forces determined to exclude and kill. He outlines how democracy has begun to embrace its dark side---what he calls its “nocturnal body”---which is based on the desires, fears, affects, relations, and violence that drove colonialism. This shift has hollowed out democracy, thereby eroding the very values, rights, and freedoms liberal democracy routinely celebrates. As a result, war has become the sacrament of our times in a conception of sovereignty that operates by annihilating all those considered enemies of the state. Despite his dire diagnosis, Mbembe draws on post-Foucauldian debates on biopolitics, war, and race as well as Fanon's notion of care as a shared vulnerability to explore how new conceptions of the human that transcend humanism might come to pass. These new conceptions would allow us to encounter the Other not as a thing to exclude but as a person with whom to build a more just world.
The emergence of digital humanities has been heralded for its commitment to openness, access, and the democratizing of knowledge, but it raises a number of questions about omissions with respect to race, gender, sexuality, disability, and nation. Postcolonial digital humanities is one approach to uncovering and remedying inequalities in digital knowledge production, which is implicated in an information-age politics of knowledge.
New Digital Worlds traces the formation of postcolonial studies and digital humanities as fields, identifying how they can intervene in knowledge production in the digital age. Roopika Risam examines the role of colonial violence in the development of digital archives and the possibilities of postcolonial digital archives for resisting this violence. Offering a reading of the colonialist dimensions of global organizations for digital humanities research, she explores efforts to decenter these institutions by emphasizing the local practices that subtend global formations and pedagogical approaches that support this decentering. Last, Risam attends to human futures in new digital worlds, evaluating both how algorithms and natural language processing software used in digital humanities projects produce universalist notions of the "human" and also how to resist this phenomenon.
Nobody's Nation offers an illuminating look at the St. Lucian, Nobel-Prize-winning writer, Derek Walcott, and grounds his work firmly in the context of West Indian history. Paul Breslin argues that Walcott's poems and plays are bound up with an effort to re-imagine West Indian society since its emergence from colonial rule, its ill-fated attempt at political unity, and its subsequent dispersal into tiny nation-states.
According to Breslin, Walcott's work is centrally concerned with the West Indies' imputed absence from history and lack of cohesive national identity or cultural tradition. Walcott sees this lack not as impoverishment but as an open space for creation. In his poems and plays, West Indian history becomes a realm of necessity, something to be confronted, contested, and remade through literature. What is most vexed and inspired in Walcott's work can be traced to this quixotic struggle.
Linking extensive archival research and new interviews with Walcott himself to detailed critical readings of major works, Nobody's Nation will take its place as the definitive study of the poet.
As an overseas department of France, Guadeloupe is one of a handful of non-independent societies in the Caribbean that seem like political exceptions—or even paradoxes—in our current postcolonial era. In Non-Sovereign Futures, Yarimar Bonilla wrestles with the conceptual arsenal of political modernity—challenging contemporary notions of freedom, sovereignty, nationalism, and revolution—in order to recast Guadeloupe not as a problematically non-sovereign site but as a place that can unsettle how we think of sovereignty itself.
Through a deep ethnography of Guadeloupean labor activism, Bonilla examines how Caribbean political actors navigate the conflicting norms and desires produced by the modernist project of postcolonial sovereignty. Exploring the political and historical imaginaries of activist communities, she examines their attempts to forge new visions for the future by reconfiguring narratives of the past, especially the histories of colonialism and slavery. Drawing from nearly a decade of ethnographic research, she shows that political participation—even in failed movements—has social impacts beyond simple material or economic gains. Ultimately, she uses the cases of Guadeloupe and the Caribbean at large to offer a more sophisticated conception of the possibilities of sovereignty in the postcolonial era.
Since the end of the cold war, Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new political and religious phenomena, including an eviscerated privatized state, neoliberal NGOs, Pentecostalism, a resurgence in accusations of witchcraft, a culture of scamming and fraud, and, in some countries, a nearly universal wish to emigrate. Drawing on fieldwork in Togo, Charles Piot suggests that a new biopolitics after state sovereignty is remaking the face of one of the world’s poorest regions.
In a country where playing the U.S. Department of State’s green card lottery is a national pastime and the preponderance of cybercafés and Western Union branches signals a widespread desire to connect to the rest of the world, Nostalgia for the Future makes clear that the cultural and political terrain that underlies postcolonial theory has shifted. In order to map out this new terrain, Piot enters into critical dialogue with a host of important theorists, including Agamben, Hardt and Negri, Deleuze, and Mbembe. The result is a deft interweaving of rich observations of Togolese life with profound insights into the new, globalized world in which that life takes place.
In On Decoloniality Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh explore the hidden forces of the colonial matrix of power, its origination, transformation, and current presence, while asking the crucial questions of decoloniality's how, what, why, with whom, and what for. Interweaving theory-praxis with local histories and perspectives of struggle, they illustrate the conceptual and analytic dynamism of decolonial ways of living and thinking, as well as the creative force of resistance and re-existence. This book speaks to the urgency of these times, encourages delinkings from the colonial matrix of power and its "universals" of Western modernity and global capitalism, and engages with arguments and struggles for dignity and life against death, destruction, and civilizational despair.
M. Jacqui Alexander is one of the most important theorists of transnational feminism working today. Pedagogies of Crossing brings together essays she has written over the past decade, uniting her incisive critiques, which have had such a profound impact on feminist, queer, and critical race theories, with some of her more recent work. In this landmark interdisciplinary volume, Alexander points to a number of critical imperatives made all the more urgent by contemporary manifestations of neoimperialism and neocolonialism. Among these are the need for North American feminism and queer studies to take up transnational frameworks that foreground questions of colonialism, political economy, and racial formation; for a thorough re-conceptualization of modernity to account for the heteronormative regulatory practices of modern state formations; and for feminists to wrestle with the spiritual dimensions of experience and the meaning of sacred subjectivity.
In these meditations, Alexander deftly unites large, often contradictory, historical processes across time and space. She focuses on the criminalization of queer communities in both the United States and the Caribbean in ways that prompt us to rethink how modernity invents its own traditions; she juxtaposes the political organizing and consciousness of women workers in global factories in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada with the pressing need for those in the academic factory to teach for social justice; she reflects on the limits and failures of liberal pluralism; and she presents original and compelling arguments that show how and why transgenerational memory is an indispensable spiritual practice within differently constituted women-of-color communities as it operates as a powerful antidote to oppression. In this multifaceted, visionary book, Alexander maps the terrain of alternative histories and offers new forms of knowledge with which to mold alternative futures.
Pedagogy of Democracy re-interprets the U.S. occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1952 as a problematic instance of Cold War feminist mobilization rather than a successful democratization of Japanese women as previously argued. By combining three fields of research—occupation, Cold War, and postcolonial feminist studies—and examining occupation records and other archival sources, Koikari argues that postwar gender reform was one of the Cold War containment strategies that undermined rather than promoted women’s political and economic rights.
From antiquity to the Enlightenment, Persian culture has been integral to European history. Interest in all things Persian shaped not just Western views but the self-image of Iranians to the present day. Hamid Dabashi maps the changing geography of these connections, showing that traffic in ideas about Persia did not travel on a one-way street.
In The Politics of Operations Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson investigate how capital reshapes its relation with politics through operations that enable the extraction and exploitation of mineral resources, labor, data, and cultures. They show how capital—which they theorize as a direct political actor—operates through the logistical organization of relations between people, property, and objects as well as through the penetration of financialization into all realms of economic life. Mezzadra and Neilson present a capacious analysis of a wide range of issues, from racial capitalism, the convergence of neoliberalism and nationalism, and Marx's concept of aggregate capital to the financial crisis of 2008 and how colonialism, empire, and globalization have shaped the modern state since World War II. In so doing, they illustrate the distinctive rationality and logics of contemporary capitalism while calling for a politics based on collective institutions that exist outside the state.
Edited by C. Richard King University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress E169.12.P647 2000 | Dewey Decimal 973.92
Scholars from a wide array of disciplines describe and debate postcolonialism as it applies to America in this authoritative and timely collection. Investigating topics such as law and public policy, immigration and tourism, narratives and discourses, race relations, and virtual communities, Postcolonial America clarifies and challenges prevailing conceptualizations of postcolonialism and accepted understandings of American culture.
Advancing multiple, even conflicted visions of postcolonial America, this important volume interrogates postcolonial theory and traces the emergence and significance of postcolonial practices and precepts in the United States. Contributors discuss how the unique status of the United States as the colony that became a superpower has shaped its sense of itself. They assess the global networks of inequality that have displaced neocolonial systems of conquest, exploitation, and occupation. They also examine how individuals and groups use music, the Internet, and other media to reconfigure, reinvent, and resist postcoloniality in American culture.
Candidly facing the inherent contradictions of "the American experience," this collection demonstrates the patterns, connections, and histories characteristic of postcoloniality in America and initiates important discussions about how these conditions might be changed.
This interdisciplinary work brings the humanities and social sciences into dialogue by examining issues such as globalized capital, discourses of antiterrorism, and identity politics. Essayists from the fields of postcolonial studies and globalization theory address the ethical and pragmatic ramifications of opposing interpretations of these issues and, for the first time, seek common ground.
Contributors: Pal Ahluwalia, U of California, San Diego; Arjun Appadurai, New School U; Geoffrey Bowker, Santa Clara U; Timothy Brennan, U of Minnesota; Ruth Buchanan, U of British Columbia; Verity Burgmann, U of Melbourne; Pheng Cheah, U of California, Berkeley; Inderpal Grewal, U of California, Irvine; Ramon Grosfoguel, U of California, Berkeley; Barbara Harlow, U of Texas, Austin; Anouar Majid, U of New England; John McMurtry, U of Guelph; Walter D. Mignolo, Duke U; Sundhya Pahuja, U of Melbourne; R. Radhakrishnan, U of California, Irvine; Ileana Rodriguez, Ohio State U; E. San Juan, Philippine Forum, New York; Saskia Sassen, U of Chicago; Ella Shohat, New York U; Leslie Sklair, London School of Economics; Robert Stam, New York U; Madina Tlostanova, Russian Peoples’ Friendship U; Harish Trivedi, U of Delhi.
Revathi Krishnaswamy is associate professor of English at San Jose State University.
John C. Hawley is professor and chair of English at Santa Clara University.
For hundreds of years, Ireland has been a testing ground for colonizing techniques. Postcolonial Dublin shows how perpetrators of colonialism have made use of urban planning and architecture to underscore and legitimate ideologies. From suburban development to building facades, the conflict between nationalists and colonialists has inscribed itself on Dublin’s landscape. Andrew Kincaid illustrates how the architecture and urban planning of Dublin have been integral to debates about nationalism, modernism, and Ireland’s relationship to the rest of the world. Looking at objects such as Londonderry’s Market House, Patrick Abercrombie’s Dublin of the Future, and the urban renewal project of today’s Temple Bar, Kincaid highlights Ireland’s colonial history and the significance of architecture in the evolution of national identity. In doing so, he demonstrates how ideology “spatializes” itself. Postcolonial Dublin engages the prevailing historical representations of Irish nationalism, arguing that the evolving city reflected a debate over who would hold the reins of power. Bringing the tools of literary criticism and postcolonial theory to bear on the field of urban studies, Kincaid places Dublin at the forefront of debates over modernism, modernity, and globalization.Andrew Kincaid is assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Written by one of the foremost scholars of African art and featuring 129 color images, Postcolonial Modernism chronicles the emergence of artistic modernism in Nigeria in the heady years surrounding political independence in 1960, before the outbreak of civil war in 1967. Chika Okeke-Agulu traces the artistic, intellectual, and critical networks in several Nigerian cities. Zaria is particularly important, because it was there, at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, that a group of students formed the Art Society and inaugurated postcolonial modernism in Nigeria. As Okeke-Agulu explains, their works show both a deep connection with local artistic traditions and the stylistic sophistication that we have come to associate with twentieth-century modernist practices. He explores how these young Nigerian artists were inspired by the rhetoric and ideologies of decolonization and nationalism in the early- and mid-twentieth century and, later, by advocates of negritude and pan-Africanism. They translated the experiences of decolonization into a distinctive "postcolonial modernism" that has continued to inform the work of major Nigerian artists.
For twenty years, the renowned philosopher of science Sandra Harding has argued that science and technology studies, postcolonial studies, and feminist critique must inform one another. In The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader, Harding puts those fields in critical conversation, assembling the anthology that she has long wanted for classroom use. In classic and recent essays, international scholars from a range of disciplines think through a broad array of science and technology philosophies and practices. The contributors reevaluate conventional accounts of the West’s scientific and technological projects in the past and present, rethink the strengths and limitations of non-Western societies’ knowledge traditions, and assess the legacies of colonialism and imperialism. The collection concludes with forward-looking essays, which explore strategies for cultivating new visions of a multicultural, democratic world of sciences and for turning those visions into realities. Feminist science and technology concerns run throughout the reader and are the focus of several essays. Harding provides helpful background for each essay in her introductions to the reader’s four sections.
Contributors Helen Appleton Karen Bäckstrand Lucille H. Brockway Stephen B. Brush Judith Carney Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment Arturo Escobar Maria E. Fernandez Ward H. Goodenough Susantha Goonatilake Sandra Harding Steven J. Harris Betsy Hartmann Cori Hayden Catherine L. M. Hill John M. Hobson Peter Mühlhäusler Catherine A. Odora Hoppers Consuelo Quiroz Jenny Reardon Ella Reitsma Ziauddin Sardar Daniel Sarewitz Londa Schiebinger Catherine V. Scott Colin Scott Mary Terrall D. Michael Warren
In The Postcolonial State in Africa, Crawford Young offers an informed and authoritative comparative overview of fifty years of African independence, drawing on his decades of research and first-hand experience on the African continent.
Young identifies three cycles of hope and disappointment common to many of the African states (including those in North Africa) over the last half-century: initial euphoria at independence in the 1960s followed by disillusionment with a lapse into single-party autocracies and military rule; a period of renewed confidence, radicalization, and ambitious state expansion in the 1970s preceding state crisis and even failure in the disastrous 1980s; and a phase of reborn optimism during the continental wave of democratization beginning around 1990. He explores in depth the many African civil wars—especially those since 1990—and three key tracks of identity: Africanism, territorial nationalism, and ethnicity.
Only more recently, Young argues, have the paths of the fifty-three African states begun to diverge more dramatically, with some leading to liberalization and others to political, social, and economic collapse—outcomes impossible to predict at the outset of independence.
“This book is the best volume to date on the politics of the last 50 years of African independence.”—International Affairs
“The book shares Young’s encyclopedic knowledge of African politics, providing in a single volume a comprehensive rendering of the first 50 years of independence. The book is sprinkled with anecdotes from his vast experience in Africa and that of his many students, and quotations from all of the relevant literature published over the past five decades. Students and scholars of African politics alike will benefit immensely from and enjoy reading The Postcolonial State in Africa.”—Political Science Quarterly
“The study of African politics will continue to be enriched if practitioners pay homage to the erudition and the nobility of spirit that has anchored the engagement of this most esteemed doyen of Africanists with the continent.”—African History Review
“The book’s strongest attribute is the careful way that comparative political theory is woven into historical storytelling throughout the text. . . . Written with great clarity even for all its detail, and its interwoven use of theory makes it a great choice for new students of African studies.”—Australasian Review of African Studies
Postcolonial Studies and Beyond
Ania Loomba, Suvir Kaul, Matti Bunzl, Antoinette Burton, and Jed Esty, eds. Duke University Press, 2005 Library of Congress JV51.P652 2005 | Dewey Decimal 325.3
An interdisciplinary collection of essays designed to map out a wide-ranging and productive future for postcolonial studies, this volume assesses the current state of the field and points toward its most promising new developments. In addressing questions about the definition and relevance of postcolonial scholarship, many of the essays consider its relation to the study of globalization. While some contributors offer broad reflections on the existing two-way influence between postcolonial theory and established university disciplines such as literary criticism and history, others forge ahead into some vital, if nascent, areas for postcolonial research such as media studies, environmental studies, religious studies, and linguistic and semantic analysis.
The contributors represent many of the fields altered by postcolonial studies over the past two decades, including literary studies, history, anthropology, Asian and African studies, and political science. They model diverse applications of postcolonial theory to Latin America, East Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. Postcolonial Studies and Beyond propels the field forward. It showcases scholars coming from intellectual precincts usually considered outside the purview of the postcolonial finding new ways to deploy classic techniques of postcolonial analysis, and scholars strongly associated with postcolonial studies offering substantial critiques designed to challenge the field’s most fundamental assumptions.
Contributors. Tani E. Barlow, Ali Behdad, Daniel Boyarin, Timothy Brennan, Matti Bunzl, Antoinette Burton, Laura Chrisman, Jean Comaroff, Frederick Cooper, Vilashini Cooppan, Jed Esty, James Ferguson, Peter Hulme, Suvir Kaul, Neil Lazarus, Ania Loomba, Florencia E. Mallon, Nivedita Menon, Rob Nixon, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, David Scott, Ella Shohat, Kelwyn Sole, Robert Stam, Rebecca L. Stein
This volume returns to where initial interest in postcolonial biblical criticism began: the Hebrew Bible. It does so not to celebrate the significant achievements of postcolonial analysis over the last few decades but to ask what the next step might be. In these essays, established and newer scholars, many from the interstices of global scholarship, discuss specific texts, neo/post/colonial situations, and theoretical issues. Moving from the Caribbean to Greenland, from Ezra-Nehemiah to the Gibeonites, this collection seeks out new territory, new questions, and possibly some new answers. The contributors are Roland Boer, Steed Davidson, Richard Horsley, Uriah Y. Kim, Judith McKinlay, Johnny Miles, Althea Spencer-Miller, Leo Perdue, Christina Petterson, Joerg Rieger, and Gerald West.
Bringing together thirty-seven essays that have helped define the study of colonial and postcolonial cultures, this expansive and thoughtfully organized anthology offers an up-to-date and in-depth overview of this rapidly developing field.
Canonical articles, most unexcerpted, explore postcolonialism’s key themes—power and knowledge—while articles by contemporary scholars expand the discipline to include discussions of the discovery of the New World, Native American and indigenous identities in Latin America and the Pacific, settler colonies in Africa and Australia, English colonialism in Ireland, and feminism in Nigeria and Egypt. The inclusion of a broad sampling of histories and theories attests to multiple, even competing postcolonialisms, while the skillful organization of the volume provides a useful map of the field in terms of recognizable patterns, shared family resemblances, and common genealogies.
The book is divided into nine sections: Ideologies of Imperialism, The Critique of Colonial Discourse, The Politics of Language and Literary Studies, Nationalisms and Nativisms, Hybrid Identities, Gender and Sexualities, Reading the Subaltern, Comparative (Post)colonialisms, and Globalization and Postcoloniality. Detailed introductions to each section serve to develop key themes, encourage debate, and contextualize the wide-ranging voices that contribute to the topic.
The most cogent and teachable collection of postcolonial texts yet compiled, this anthology is equally suitable for undergraduate students and seasoned scholars.
Can Western modernity be analyzed and critiqued through the lens of enslavement and colonial history? As this volume reveals, such analysis is not only possible, it is essential to our understanding of contemporary race relations and society generally. Drawing from the fields of postcolonial, decolonial, and black studies, this book assembles contributions from renowned scholars that offer timely and critical perspectives from a variety of disciplines, including history, sociology, political science, gender studies, cultural and literary studies, and philosophy.
The Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies contains essays by both leading figures and younger scholars engaged in the field of postcolonial studies. In this state-of-the-field reader, editors Fawzia Afzal-Khan and Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks have created a dynamic forum for contributors from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary vantage points to question both the limits and the limitations of postcolonial thought. Since it burst on the academic scene as the “hot” new disciplinary field during the final decade of the twentieth century, postcolonial studies has faced criticism from those who question its “troubling” trajectories, its sometimes suspect epistemological and pedagogical methods, and its relatively narrow focus. With diverse essays that emerge from such disciplines as South Asian, Latin American, Arab, and Jewish studies, this volume responds to skeptics and adherers alike, addressing not only the broad theoretical issues at stake within the field but also the position of the field itself within the academy, as well as its relationship to modern, postmodern, and Marxist discourses. Contributors offer critiques on ahistorical and universalizing tendencies in postcolonial work and confront the need for scholars to attend to issues of class, ideology, and the effects of neocolonial practices. Seeking to broaden the field’s traditionally literary spectrum of methodologies, these essayists take up large thematic issues to examine specific sites of colonial activities with all of their historical, political, and cultural significance. Closing the volume is an insightful interview with Homi Bhabha, in which he discusses postcolonial studies in the context of contemporary cultural politics and theory. The Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies not only offers an overview of the discipline but also pushes and pulls at the edges of postcolonial studies, offering a comprehensive view of the field’s diversity of thought and envisioning clear pathways for its future.
Contributors. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Ali Behdad, Homi Bhabha, Daniel Boyarin, Neil Larsen, Saree Makdisi, Joseph Massad, Walter Mignolo, Hamid Naficy, Ngugi Wa Thingo, Timothy B. Powell, R. Radhakrishnan, Bruce Robbins, Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, Ella Shohat, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
In Science and Social Inequality, Sandra Harding makes the provocative argument that the philosophy and practices of today's Western science, contrary to its Enlightenment mission, work to insure that more science will only worsen existing gaps between the best and worst off around the world. She defends this claim by exposing the ways that hierarchical social formations in modern Western sciences encode antidemocratic principles and practices, particularly in terms of their services to militarism, the impoverishment and alienation of labor, Western expansion, and environmental destruction. The essays in this collection--drawing on feminist, multicultural, and postcolonial studies--propose ways to reconceptualize the sciences in the global social order.
At issue here are not only social justice and environmental issues but also the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our understandings of natural and social worlds. The inadvertent complicity of the sciences with antidemocratic projects obscures natural and social realities and thus blocks the growth of scientific knowledge. Scientists, policy makers, social justice movements and the consumers of scientific products (that is, the rest of us) can work together and separately to improve this situation.
In The Sign of the Cannibal Geoffrey Sanborn offers a major reassessment of the work of Herman Melville, a definitive history of the post-Enlightenment discourse on cannibalism, and a provocative contribution to postcolonial theory. These investigations not only explore mid–nineteenth century resistance to the colonial enterprise but argue that Melville, using the discourse on cannibalism to critique colonialism, contributed to the production of resistance. Sanborn focuses on the representations of cannibalism in three of Melville’s key texts—Typee, Moby-Dick, and “Benito Cereno.” Drawing on accounts of Pacific voyages from two centuries and virtually the entire corpus of the post-Enlightenment discourse on cannibalism, he shows how Melville used his narratives to work through the ways in which cannibalism had been understood. In so doing, argues Sanborn, Melville sought to move his readers through stages of possible responses to the phenomenon in order to lead them to consider alternatives to established assumptions and conventions—to understand that in the savage they see primarily their own fear and fascination. Melville thus becomes a narrator of the postcolonial encounter as he uncovers the dynamic of dread and menace that marks the Western construction of the “non-savage” human. Extending the work of Slavoj Zizek and Homi Bhabha while providing significant new insights into the work of Melville, The Sign of the Cannibal represents a breakthrough for students and scholars of postcolonial theory, American literary history, critical anthropology, race, and masculinity.
A philosophical anthropology of everyday experience, this book is also a deeply informed and thought-provoking reflection on the work of cultural critique. States of Exception looks into a community of immigrants from India living in southern New Jersey—a group to whom the author, as a daughter of two of its members, enjoyed unprecedented access.
Her position allows Keya Ganguly to approach the culture of a middle-class group (albeit one that is marginalized by racial prejudice), while the group’s relatively comfortable and protected style of life offers unusual insight into the concept of the everyday and the sense in which a seemingly commonplace existence can be understood as in crisis: a state of exception. Thus, Ganguly draws on the work of the Frankfurt School, particularly Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, to explore the possibilities of a dialectical critique of the everyday—a state of exception informing ordinary yet crisis-ridden narratives of the self under late capitalism.
The state has recently been rediscovered as an object of inquiry by a broad range of scholars. Reflecting the new vitality of the field of political anthropology, States of Imagination draws together the best of this recent critical thinking to explore the postcolonial state. Contributors focus on a variety of locations from Guatemala, Pakistan, and Peru to India and Ecuador; they study what the state looks like to those seeing it from the vantage points of rural schools, police departments, small villages, and the inside of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Focusing on the micropolitics of everyday state-making, the contributors examine the mythologies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies of the state through ethnographies of diverse postcolonial practices. They show how the authority of the state is constantly challenged from the local as well as the global and how growing demands to confer rights and recognition to ever more citizens, organizations, and institutions reveal a persistent myth of the state as a source of social order and an embodiment of popular sovereignty. Demonstrating the indispensable value of ethnographic work on the practices and the symbols of the state, States of Imagination showcases a range of studies and methods to provide insight into the diverse forms of the postcolonial state as an arena of both political and cultural struggle. This collection will interest students and scholars of anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, political science, and history.
Contributors. Lars Buur, Mitchell Dean, Akhil Gupta, Thomas Blom Hansen, Steffen Jensen, Aletta J. Norval, David Nugent, Sarah Radcliffe, Rachel Sieder, Finn Stepputat, Martijn van Beek, Oskar Verkaaik, Fiona Wilson
The term “subalternity” refers to a condition of subordination brought about by colonization or other forms of economic, social, racial, linguistic, and/or cultural dominance. Subaltern studies is, therefore, a study of power. Who has it and who does not. Who is gaining it and who is losing it. Power is intimately related to questions of representation—to which representations have cognitive authority and can secure hegemony and which do not and cannot. In this book John Beverley examines the relationship between subalternity and representation by analyzing the ways in which that relationship has been played out in the domain of Latin American studies.
Dismissed by some as simply another new fashion in the critique of culture and by others as a postmarxist heresy, subaltern studies began with the work of Ranajit Guha and the South Asian Subaltern Studies collective in the 1980s. Beverley’s focus on Latin America, however, is evidence of the growing province of this field. In assessing subaltern studies’ purposes and methods, the potential dangers it presents, and its interactions with deconstruction, poststructuralism, cultural studies, Marxism, and political theory, Beverley builds his discussion around a single, provocative question: How can academic knowledge seek to represent the subaltern when that knowledge is itself implicated in the practices that construct the subaltern as such? In his search for answers, he grapples with a number of issues, notably the 1998 debate between David Stoll and Rigoberta Menchú over her award-winning testimonial narrative, I, Rigoberta Menchú. Other topics explored include the concept of civil society, Florencia Mallon’s influential Peasant and Nation, the relationship between the Latin American “lettered city” and the Túpac Amaru rebellion of 1780–1783, the ideas of transculturation and hybridity in postcolonial studies and Latin American cultural studies, multiculturalism, and the relationship between populism, popular culture, and the “national-popular” in conditions of globalization.
This critique and defense of subaltern studies offers a compendium of insights into a new form of knowledge and knowledge production. It will interest those studying postcolonialism, political science, cultural studies, and Latin American culture, history, and literature.
Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices brings together for the first time a selection of trailblazing essays by Ella Shohat, an internationally renowned theorist of postcolonial and cultural studies of Iraqi-Jewish background. Written over the past two decades, these twelve essays—some classic, some less known, some new—trace a powerful intellectual trajectory as Shohat rigorously teases out the consequences of a deep critique of Eurocentric epistemology, whether to rethink feminism through race, nationalism through ethnicity, or colonialism through sexuality.
Shohat’s critical method boldly transcends disciplinary and geographical boundaries. She explores such issues as the relations between ethnic studies and area studies, the paradoxical repercussions for audio-visual media of the “graven images” taboo, the allegorization of race through the refiguring of Cleopatra, the allure of imperial popular culture, and the gender politics of medical technologies. She also examines the resistant poetics of exile and displacement; the staging of historical memory through the commemorations of the two 1492s, the anomalies of the “national” in Zionist discourse, the implications of the hyphen in the concept “Arab-Jew,” and the translation of the debates on orientalism and postcolonialism across geographies. Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices not only illuminates many of the concerns that have animated the study of cultural politics over the past two decades; it also points toward new scholarly possibilities.
The imposition of modern American colonial rule has defined U.S.–indigenous relations since the time of the American Civil War. In resistance, Kevin Bruyneel asserts, indigenous political actors work across American spatial and temporal boundaries, demanding rights and resources from the government while also challenging the imposition of colonial rule over their lives. This resistance engenders what he calls a “third space of sovereignty,” which resides neither inside nor outside the U.S. political system but rather exists on its boundaries, exposing both the practices and limitations of American colonial rule.
The Third Space of Sovereignty offers fresh insights on such topics as the crucial importance of the formal end of treaty-making in 1871, indigenous responses to the prospect of U.S. citizenship in the 1920s, native politics during the tumultuous civil rights era of the 1960s, the question of indigenousness in the special election of California’s governor in 2003, and the current issues surrounding gaming and casinos.
In this engaging and provocative work, Bruyneel shows how native political actors have effectively contested the narrow limits that the United States has imposed on indigenous people’s ability to define their identity and to develop economically and politically on their own terms.
Kevin Bruyneel is assistant professor of politics at Babson College.
From Mohandas Gandhi’s nineteenth-century tour in a third-class compartment to the recent cinematic shenanigans of Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, the railway has been one of India’s most potent emblems of modern life. In the first in-depth analysis of representations of the Indian railway, Marian Aguiar interprets modernity through the legacy of this transformative technology.
Since the colonial period in India, the railway has been idealized as a rational utopia—a moving box in which racial and class differences might be amalgamated under a civic, secular, and public order. Aguiar charts this powerful image into the postcolonial period, showing how the culture of mobility exposes this symbol of reason as surprisingly dynamic and productive. Looking in turn at the partition of India, labor relations, rituals of travel, works of literature and film, visual culture, and the Mumbai train bombings of 2006, Aguiar finds incongruities she terms “counternarratives of modernity” to signify how they work both with and against the dominant rhetoric. Revealing railways as a microcosm of tensions within Indian culture, Aguiar demonstrates how their representations have challenged prevailing ideas of modernity.
In Africa, the development of “dictatorship fiction” as a vehicle for depicting the authoritarian state arose more slowly than in other parts of the world. The dictator novel emerged earlier in Latin America, as the region’s anticolonial disengagement preceded that of Africa. Thus, the Latin American variant of this literary genre has been extensively studied, but until now there has been no comparable exploration of the fictional and dramatic representations of tyrannical regimes in Africa. In Unmasking the African Dictator, Gichingiri Ndigirigi redresses that imbalance with a collection of essays that fully examine the figure of the “Big Man” in African arts.
This volume features twelve articles from both established and emerging scholars who undertake representative readings of the African despot in fiction, drama, films, and music. Arranged chronologically, these essays cover postcolonial realities in a wide range of countries: Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, the Congo, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda. Included here are a variety of voices that illuminate the different aspects of dictator fiction in Africa and in the process enrich our understanding of the continent’s literature, politics, and culture.
This work features a foreword by formerly exiled Kenyan novelist, poet, and critic Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Ndigirigi’s own extended introduction reviews the overarching themes found in the collection and summarizes each of the artistic works being examined while placing the individual essays in context. A pioneering study, Unmasking the African Dictator examines the works of several major authors of dictator fictions like Achebe, Ngugi, Farah, and Tamsi, among others. It is an ideal resource for both undergraduate and graduate courses on African literature, culture, and politics.
Gichingiri Ndigirigi is an associate professor of English at the University of Tennessee. He is the author of Ngugi wa Thiong'o’s Drama and the Kamiriithu Popular Theater Experiment.
In What Is a World? Pheng Cheah, a leading theorist of cosmopolitanism, offers the first critical consideration of world literature’s cosmopolitan vocation. Addressing the failure of recent theories of world literature to inquire about the meaning of world, Cheah articulates a normative theory of literature’s world-making power by creatively synthesizing four philosophical accounts of the world as a temporal process: idealism, Marxist materialism, phenomenology, and deconstruction. Literature opens worlds, he provocatively suggests, because it is a force of receptivity. Cheah compellingly argues for postcolonial literature’s exemplarity as world literature through readings of narrative fiction by Michelle Cliff, Amitav Ghosh, Nuruddin Farah, Ninotchka Rosca, and Timothy Mo that show how these texts open up new possibilities for remaking the world by negotiating with the inhuman force that gives time and deploying alternative temporalities to resist capitalist globalization.
The Yakama Nation of present-day Washington State has responded to more than a century of historical trauma with a resurgence of grassroots activism and cultural revitalization. This pathbreaking ethnography shifts the conversation from one of victimhood to one of ongoing resistance and resilience as a means of healing the soul wounds of settler colonialism. Yakama Rising: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism, and Healing argues that Indigenous communities themselves have the answers to the persistent social problems they face. This book contributes to discourses of Indigenous social change by articulating a Yakama decolonizing praxis that advances the premise that grassroots activism and cultural revitalization are powerful examples of decolonization.
Michelle M. Jacob employs ethnographic case studies to demonstrate the tension between reclaiming traditional cultural practices and adapting to change. Through interviewees’ narratives, she carefully tacks back and forth between the atrocities of colonization and the remarkable actions of individuals committed to sustaining Yakama heritage. Focusing on three domains of Indigenous revitalization—dance, language, and foods—Jacob carefully elucidates the philosophy underlying and unifying each domain while also illustrating the importance of these practices for Indigenous self-determination, healing, and survival.
In the impassioned voice of a member of the Yakama Nation, Jacob presents a volume that is at once intimate and specific to her home community and that also advances theories of Indigenous decolonization, feminism, and cultural revitalization. Jacob’s theoretical and methodological contributions make this work valuable to a range of students, academics, tribal community members, and professionals, and an essential read for anyone interested in the ways that grassroots activism can transform individual lives, communities, and society.