front cover of Caribbean Migrations
Caribbean Migrations
The Legacies of Colonialism
Anke Birkenmaier
Rutgers University Press, 2021
2021 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

With mass migration changing the configuration of societies worldwide, we can look to the Caribbean to reflect on the long-standing, entangled relations between countries and areas as uneven in size and influence as the United States, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. More so than other world regions, the Caribbean has been characterized as an always already colonial region. It has long been a key area for empires warring over influence spheres in the new world, and where migration waves from Africa, Europe, and Asia accompanied every political transformation over the last five centuries. In Caribbean Migrations, an interdisciplinary group of humanities and social science scholars study migration from a long-term perspective, analyzing the Caribbean's "unincorporated subjects" from a legal, historical, and cultural standpoint, and exploring how despite often fractured public spheres, Caribbean intellectuals, artists, filmmakers, and writers have been resourceful at showcasing migration as the hallmark of our modern age.
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front cover of Cold War and Decolonisation
Cold War and Decolonisation
Australia's Policy towards Britain's End of Empire in Southeast Asia
Andrea Benvenuti
National University of Singapore Press, 2017
In this book, Andrea Benvenuti discusses the development of Australia’s foreign and defense policies toward Malaya and Singapore in light of the redefinition of Britain’s imperial role in Southeast Asia and the formation of new postcolonial states. Benvenuti sheds light on the impact of Britain on Australia’s political and strategic interests in Southeast Asia during the Cold War. It will be of interest to historians of Australia’s foreign relations, Southeast Asia, and the British Empire and decolonization.
 
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front cover of Colonial and Post-Colonial Governance of Islam
Colonial and Post-Colonial Governance of Islam
Continuities and Ruptures
Edited by Marcel Maussen, Veit Bader, and Annelies Moors
Amsterdam University Press, 2012
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
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Colonial Debts
The Case of Puerto Rico
Rocío Zambrana
Duke University Press, 2021
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.
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The Coloniality of the Secular
Race, Religion, and Poetics of World-Making
An Yountae
Duke University Press, 2024
In The Coloniality of the Secular, An Yountae investigates the collusive ties between the modern concepts of the secular, religion, race, and coloniality in the Americas. Drawing on the work of Édouard Glissant, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Sylvia Wynter, and Enrique Dussel, An maps the intersections of revolutionary non-Western thought with religious ideas to show how decoloniality redefines the sacred as an integral part of its liberation vision. He examines these thinkers’ rejection of colonial religions and interrogates the narrow conception of religion that confines it within colonial power structures. An explores decoloniality’s conception of the sacred in relation to revolutionary violence, gender, creolization, and racial phenomenology, demonstrating its potential for reshaping religious paradigms. Pointing out that the secular has been pivotal to regulating racial hierarchies under colonialism, he advocates for a broader understanding of religion that captures the fundamental ideas that drive decolonial thinking. By examining how decolonial theory incorporates the sacred into its vision of liberation, An invites readers to rethink the transformative power of decoloniality and religion to build a hopeful future.
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The Common Cause
Postcolonial Ethics and the Practice of Democracy, 1900-1955
Leela Gandhi
University of Chicago Press, 2014
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.
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front cover of The Confounding Island
The Confounding Island
Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament
Orlando Patterson
Harvard University Press, 2019

The preeminent sociologist and National Book Award–winning author of Freedom in the Making of Western Culture grapples with the paradox of his homeland: its remarkable achievements amid continuing struggles since independence.

There are few places more puzzling than Jamaica. Jamaicans claim their home has more churches per square mile than any other country, yet it is one of the most murderous nations in the world. Its reggae superstars and celebrity sprinters outshine musicians and athletes in countries hundreds of times its size. Jamaica’s economy is anemic and too many of its people impoverished, yet they are, according to international surveys, some of the happiest on earth. In The Confounding Island, Orlando Patterson returns to the place of his birth to reckon with its history and culture.

Patterson investigates the failures of Jamaica’s postcolonial democracy, exploring why the country has been unable to achieve broad economic growth and why its free elections and stable government have been unable to address violence and poverty. He takes us inside the island’s passion for cricket and the unparalleled international success of its local musical traditions. He offers a fresh answer to a question that has bedeviled sports fans: Why are Jamaican runners so fast?

Jamaica’s successes and struggles expose something fundamental about the world we live in. If we look closely at the Jamaican example, we see the central dilemmas of globalization, economic development, poverty reduction, and postcolonial politics thrown into stark relief.

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front cover of Connections after Colonialism
Connections after Colonialism
Europe and Latin America in the 1820s
Edited by Mathew Brown and Gabriel Pacquette
University of Alabama Press, 2013
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.
Contributors
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
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front cover of Conscripts of Modernity
Conscripts of Modernity
The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment
David Scott
Duke University Press, 2004
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.

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front cover of Constructing the Pluriverse
Constructing the Pluriverse
The Geopolitics of Knowledge
Bernd Reiter, editor
Duke University Press, 2018
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
 
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front cover of Contested Histories in Public Space
Contested Histories in Public Space
Memory, Race, and Nation
Daniel J. Walkowitz and Lisa Maya Knauer, eds.
Duke University Press, 2009
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

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Continental Drift
From National Characters to Virtual Subjects
Emily Apter
University of Chicago Press, 1999
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.

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front cover of Continuous Pasts
Continuous Pasts
Frictions of Memory in Postcolonial Africa
Sakiru Adebayo
University of Michigan Press, 2023
In Continuous Pasts, author Sakiru Adebayo claims that the post-conflict fiction of memory in Africa depicts the intricate ways in which the past is etched on bodies and topographies, resonant in silences and memorials, and continuous even in experiences as well as structures of migration. Adebayo argues that the post-conflict fiction of memory in Africa invites critical deliberations on the continuity of the past within the realm of positionality and the domain of subjectivity—that is to say, the past is not merely present; instead, it survives, lives on, and is mediated through the subject positions of victims, perpetrators, as well as secondary and transgenerational witnesses. The book also argues that post-conflict fiction of memory in Africa shows the unfinished business of the past produces fragile regimes of peace and asynchronous temporalities that challenge progressive historicism. It contends that, in most cases in Africa, the post-conflict present is beset with a tight political economy wherein the scramble for survival trumps the ability to imagine a just future among survivors—and that it is precisely this despairing disposition toward the future that some writers of post-conflict fiction attempt to confront in their works. On the whole, Continuous Pasts shows how post-conflict fictions of memory in Africa recalibrate discourses of futurity, solidarity, responsibility, justice, survival, and reconciliation. It also contends that post-conflict fictions of memory in Africa provide the tools for imagining and theorizing a collective African memory. Each text analyzed in the book provides, in very interesting ways, an imaginative possibility and template for how post-independence African countries can ‘remember together’ using what the author describes as an African transnational memory framework.
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The Creolization of Theory
Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih, eds.
Duke University Press, 2011
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

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A Critical Synergy
Race, Decoloniality, and World Crises
Meghji, Ali
Temple University Press, 2023
Practitioners of decolonial theory and critical race theory (CRT) often use one or the other, but not both. In his provocative book, A Critical Synergy, Ali Meghji suggests using the two theories in tandem rather than attempting to hierarchize or synthesize them. Doing so allows for the study of social phenomena in a way that captures their global and historical roots, while acknowledging their local, national, and contemporary particularities.

The differences between decolonial thought and CRT, Meghji insists, does not necessarily imply one approach is stronger. Rather, he asserts, they often provide alternative but not incompatible viewpoints of the same social problem. Meghji presents case studies of capitalism, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, and twenty-first-century far-right populism to show that with both theories, we can understand more, as insights may be lost by using only one.

Meghji is not calling for a universal theoretical synthesis in A Critical Synergy, but rather a practice that can help open sociology and social science to the tradition of pluriversality much more broadly.
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front cover of A Critique of Postcolonial Reason
A Critique of Postcolonial Reason
Toward a History of the Vanishing Present
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Harvard University Press, 1999

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.

“We cannot merely continue to act out the part of Caliban,” Spivak writes; and her book is an attempt to understand and describe a more responsible role for the postcolonial critic. A Critique of Postcolonial Reason tracks the figure of the “native informant” through various cultural practices—philosophy, history, literature—to suggest that it emerges as the metropolitan hybrid. The book addresses feminists, philosophers, critics, and interventionist intellectuals, as they unite and divide. It ranges from Kant’s analytic of the sublime to child labor in Bangladesh. Throughout, the notion of a Third World interloper as the pure victim of a colonialist oppressor emerges as sharply suspect: the mud we sling at certain seemingly overbearing ancestors such as Marx and Kant may be the very ground we stand on.

A major critical work, Spivak’s book redefines and repositions the postcolonial critic, leading her through transnational cultural studies into considerations of globality.

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front cover of Crossing Borderlands
Crossing Borderlands
Composition And Postcolonial Studies
Andrea Lunsford
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004

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.

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