Postcolonial Contraventions: Cultural Readings of Race, Imperalism and Transnationalism

Postcolonial Contraventions: Cultural Readings of Race, Imperalism and Transnationalism

Laura Chrisman

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0719058279

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Laura Chrisman provides important new paradigms for understanding imperial literature, Englishness, and black transnationalism. Her concerns take her from the metropolitan center of Conrad's Heart of Darkness, to Frederic Jameson's theorization of empire.












the possession of power through the belief in one’s ability to know and represent the Other; to pursue such a narrative representation is necessarily to turn the Other into a version of oneself. This formulation does not admit of any notion of possible or progressive mediation. The phenomenon of imperialism/domination derives, in a sense, from the possibility of movement per se: it is ‘the dangerous transformative power’ of Kantian philosophy that enables its instrumentalisation by the state,

focus on the cultural, political and economic relations of Africa, Europe and the New World was not original. Such a focus has been the concern of African and African diasporic thinkers from at least Equiano onwards.2 Rather, what distinguished Gilroy’s work was its theoretical and political thrust. This was firmly anti-nationalist. The cultural values and critical perspectives of black nationalism were, Gilroy argued, ‘antithetical to the rhizomorphic, fractal structure of the transcultural,

Third-World peoples, he suggests that First-World people of colour are no less globally privileged than white Westerners: Even James Baldwin returning to America from France in a casket and W.E.B. Du Bois finding a resting place in Ghana … Diverse as their individual situations or predicaments were, these children of the West roamed the world with the confidence of the authority of their homeland behind them. The purchasing power of even very chapter10 21/12/04 158 11:25 am Page 158

continues into his ‘final’, universal humanist stage, Said’s linear historiography is found to be inaccurate. But nativism is itself, for Parry, far more impure, more composite, than either its detractors or contemporary Afrocentric supporters can allow. Consider Parry’s pathbreaking analysis of Negritude (the Caribbean and African formation that argued for a distinctive black chapter11 21/12/04 170 11:28 am Page 170 Postcolonial theoretical politics culture and philosophy) in her essay

Dhlomo. Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1985. Cunningham, Hugh. ‘The Language of Patriotism’. In Samuel, Patriotism. D’Aguiar, Fred. Feeding the Ghosts. New York: HarperCollins, 1998. David, Deirdre. Women, Empire, and Victorian Writing. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995. Davin, Anna. ‘Imperialism and Motherhood’. History Workshop Journal 5 (1978), 9–65. Daymond, Margaret. ‘Contexts for “Literature”: on “Literary” and “Cultural” Studies in an English Department Syllabus’. Scrutiny2: Issues in

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