As a field of specialization in the United States, Continental philosophy generally refers to French and German philosophy in the post-Kantian era. A few great thinkers other than French and German philosophers are included in its canon, for example, Denmark's Kierkegaard and Italy's Croce and Gramsci. Rarely does Continental philosophy extend its borders to Spain. Spanish philosophers in the Continental tradition remain unacknowledged in most anthologies. In recent years, advocates for diversity have raised the question of the importance of including philosophers from various parts of the world in our teaching and research practices. While I believe it is important to engage with philosophers from underrepresented parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America (as well as Spain, which occupies a privileged place vis-a-vis the others yet is still unrecognized), this is not the principal topic of this essay. Instead, I propose to deal with a related and perhaps more subtle issue. The issue I will attempt to develop addresses the "resonance factor" of postcolonial subjectivity in Continental philosophy. This, too, may be considered an issue of inclusion, but the type of inclusion to be considered is of a wholly different kind. The question here concerns the effects, if any, on the Western subject, of the consequences of Western colonization of other continents and peoples. This kind of question requires that we take a critical view of Western history in its colonialist expansionist phases. The purpose of the criticism is not to reject the past or to attempt to annihilate its consequences but to shed a critical light on practices in which we are engaged today. These practices are both, to some extent, a product of the past and ways of acting that define the way we look at the future.
As we enter the twenty-first century, there is much discussion about ongoing processes of "globalization." The world is interlinked together via technology, mass media and communications networks, economic agreements, and political conventions in ways that call for an analysis of Western ideological and philosophical constructs as these interact with subjects in both western and nonwestern societies. Closer to the field of Continental philosophy, the question deals with the construction of postcolonial subjects and the latter's interpellation process with the philosophical tradition that calls itself "Continental." It asks of the specialist in Continental philosophy to begin to think, or to imagine, what it is like to read French and German philosophy in a world where readers are located at multiple points throughout the world. In this view, if "identity" is considered a cultural construct, then the "subject" of philosophy cannot be presumed to sustain a homogeneous set of metaphysical characteristics (whether these characteristics are represented in the form of a Kantian self or a Heideggerian Dasein). Postcolonial critical theory, challenging the cultural location of the Continental thinker, raises the basic question: is there a difference between European philosophy and Eurocentrism? Can one be a Continental philosopher and a critic of Eurocentrism simultaneously? Is one to think that unless a philosopher specifically states something to the contrary, to teach Continental philosophy is to support and defend Eurocentric thought?
I will briefly define Eurocentrism as the cultural presumption that European thought and values-however these are defined-contain the essence of civilized or rational thought.' I should clarify that my critique of Eurocentrism in the context of doing philosophy is contextual rather than absolute. What I am after is not strictly Eurocentrism as such, but any pattern of thinking and acting that takes for granted the cultural and scientific hegemony of procedures and values established in the most powerful nations of the earth. That European nations-or at least some of them, like France and Germany-have occupied this position of power over others is a fact of history, just as Britain and the United States have dominated Anglocentric thought and cultural projects throughout the world. The greater the power of a nation or nations pursuing global political agendas, the more questionable the corresponding form of "centrism" becomes. The reason is that such concentrations of power have proven historically either to violate the rights of others outright or, at a minimum, to disregard the experiences and contributions of the less powerful, including the voices of many women and those who are socially and economically marginalized. The result has been, on one hand, to propose as comprehensive a less than universal form of knowledge and, on the other, to fail in the ethical responsibility to listen to those others whose voices may clash with the sources of epistemic legitimation established in the central parts of the world.
What has Continental philosophy to do with this? There is probably an unstated sociocultural (possibly also professional) assumption associating the teaching of Continental philosophy with some form, perhaps at least a mild form, of Eurocentrism. For example, it is not easy (and perhaps it is not considered appropriate) to engage in a discussion of developing countries in a Continental philosophy class. Students taking these courses generally want to know more about France and Germany or about European thought. For example, students do not come to a class on Heidegger expecting an answer to questions regarding readings of Heidegger in the Third World, or regarding Germany's heritage as a colonial power. There is a distinction between questions regarding colonialism and the rest of European politics. Questions regarding colonialism and its sequels are presumed to remain outside the epistemic/cultural horizon of the Continental philosophy class.
It does not require much reflection, however, once the omission has been identified, to realize that there must be some effect of European colonialism on Europe's intellectual history. This effect may be both subtle and indirect. While there may be no explicit mention of colonialism in a philosopher's work, the absence of its critique could already point to a silent acceptance of the colonialist project. It is therefore important to pay special attention to the way in which our interest in the field of Continental philosophy is defined. For example, is there an excessive concern for keeping the field of Continental philosophy methodologically pure and delimited to certain non-negotiable questions? Or is there a willingness to be open to new and hybrid constructions of Continental thought, such that can accommodate philosophers and thinkers from the West's internally diverse populations and the West's cultural peripheries?
Unless learning encompasses an analysis of the relations of power between central and peripheral cultures, the argument claiming that Continental philosophy is Eurocentric in nature cannot be easily dismissed. In defending one's philosophical practice against the charge of Eurocentrism, one could say that there is a distinction between reading texts from dominant cultures and promoting the dominance of such cultures over others. In my view, this is a valid distinction, but by itself it is insufficient to guarantee that a practice is free from Eurocentric effects. One could say, for example, that just because one is a specialist in Heidegger or Nietzsche this does not make one an accomplice of Western hegemony or Eurocentrism. One could even make an argument on behalf of knowledge for its own sake and the importance of engaging with important texts, regardless of political or cultural issues. Indeed, these are the kinds of arguments and forms of reasoning we embrace when, pursuing our scholarly interests, we detach a piece of knowledge from the intellectual history of the world's peoples. Indeed, I myself have often engaged in justifications of this nature. I begin my pedagogic practice from the conviction that teaching Nietzsche does not make me an accomplice of Eurocentrism. But how do I know that it does not? Or how can I be sure that precisely because I do not teach Nietzsche in such a way as to promote Eurocentrism, someone might judge that my teaching is lacking in some basic sense?
One line of defense against equating Continental philosophy with Eurocentrism is to argue that at least some Continental philosophers have attempted to be critical of a Eurocentrist philosophy. It is not clear, however, that a very strong case could be made on this ground given that, even if Eurocentrism is challenged on some fronts it may well remain unchallenged on others. Still, as an example of this type of challenge, I will mention Sartre insofar as Sartre is known for his political opinions against colonialism, including France's colonization of Algiers. Another strategy might be to claim that the effects of reading some Continental philosophers could be to deconstruct or undermine (at least to some extent) the ideology of Eurocentrism. This is a much more promising approach. With this approach one could take some threads out of an otherwise Eurocentric text to disentangle the fabric of Eurocentrism and point toward otherness. In this regard, I will address a reading of Nietzsche's views on history before I move on to examine properly postcolonial readings of Continental thought.
Using the second strategy, aside from Nietzsche one could equally address many others in the field. For example, Heidegger, despite his Nazi leanings, offered a strong critique of technology and European modernity, thereby distancing himself from certain core elements of the Eurocentrist historical project. Derrida, whose deconstructive method undermines ideological "isms," including "centrisms," stands out as a rebel against the overarching logocentric project of European philosophy. Yet despite their critical outlooks, as philosophers Heidegger, Nietzsche, and Derrida-even Sartre-are primarily Eurocentric in practice. The scholarly sources they use tend to be European. A break exists between this type of thinkers, and others of the type Bhabha, Spivak, and before them, Fanon and Freire. The break involves in part the use of sources, and, in part, the political stance taken by philosophers in view of their life experiences.
A Sartrean Challenge to Colonialism
Sartre will be used as an example of a philosopher whose work may be partially applicable to a postcolonial context. Although Sartre's existentialist philosophy is very Western in its basic proposals, especially that of freedom of choice for the individual, Sartre's concept of freedom is radical and critical of the status quo. As an engaged leftist intellectual, for example, he visited Cuba, along with Simone de Beauvoir, after the 1959 revolution. This visit alerted him to the realities of underdevelopment in capitalist dependent nations in the Americas. "Underdevelopment," he pointed out in 1961, "must not be defined as a simple deficiency of the national economy. It is a complex relationship between a backward country and the great powers that have maintained it in this backward cndition."2 Addressing the problem of colonialism, he states: "the semicolony, delivered from its chains, again finds itself in its misery facing an irritated former mother country."3 Sartre adds that even if the former colonizing power would stop overpowering its former colony, to the liberated country would have to either make do on its own or subsist in a relation of dependency to the former. It seems that the first option would be difficult for a former colony. Sartre recognizes that "simply, underdevelopment is violent tension between two nation--the amount of tension is measured in the backwardness of the one in relation to the other."4
While it is no longer considered acceptable to refer, as Sartre does here, to the neocolonized country as "backward," this kind of language was typical of the times in which he wrote. In this passage, Sartre was looking at Cuba through Parisian eyes. He noticed that the island's economic development is "backward,"but he was clearly aware that the lag in underdevelopment involved relations of dependence to powerful nations whose interests, in alliance with those of certain privileged classes in the colonized country, control the dependent nation's economy. Sartre favors the concept of the dependent country's empowerment to overcome neocolonial domination for the sake of implementing social justice. From this standpoint he accepted the justification of anticolonial nationalist revolutions in Third World countries. He also engaged in a strong critique of racism, both in its ordinary and violent forms, as it took place in Europe against the Jewish people. Understanding what Nietzsche called the morality of "resentment" among Aryan-identified Europeans, Sartre defined the dialectics of racial prejudice in the well-known statement, "if the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him."5
In his Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre theorized about the human being as a cultural construct. He noted the effects of cultural erasure taking place in an individual, who is often unaware of the degree to which she operates within the limits of a cultural field (as he calls it) giving meaning to her life and values. If dialectical investigation is possible, he states, then:
it is clear that my culture cannot be treated as a subjective accumulation of knowledge and methods `in my mind, instead, this culture which I call mine must be conceived as a specific participation in interiority in the objective culture. And instead of me being a particular social atom which itself defines the cultural possibilities, this participation defines me (in a specific way). As soon as I reflexively grasp this bond of interiority which links me to the cultural totalization, I disappear as a cultivated individual and emerge as the synthetic bond between everyone and what might be called the cultural field."6
As he states, then, reflection on her cultural position allows an individual to move from a pre-critical relationship to culture to a critical one. The realization of this bond between the individual, the culture, and others situated in the cultural field makes one aware that the way a person situates herself in the world is inevitably linked to the culture or set of cultures that one has interacted with and that have had an impact on one's life.
Sartre also claims that a person's critical understanding of her life is mediated by schemata rooted in history and culture. "I totalize myself on the basis of centuries of history and, in accordance with my culture, I totalize this experience."7 He adds that "to the extent that critical investigation is possible, the temporal depth of the totalizing process becomes evident as soon as I reflexively interpret the operations of my individual life."8
From these kinds of observation about the cultural construction of subjectivity and the emergence of a critical dialectical outlook toward the cultural schemata that condition our very concept of existence, it is only a small step to the political and ethical critique of European subjectivity as the product of a colonialist culture. European culture may be considered a colonialist culture to the extent that it supported the colonizing of the American continents and other regions of the earth in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Lest all Europeans stand accused of being colonizers, it is worth pointing out that just as European hegemony was exercised toward other peoples of the earth as well as toward their own internal minorities, such as the gypsies and the Jews, so was there also internal resistance among some Europeans to these hegemonic practices. Nor should one forget that other (non-European) powerful cultures have also colonized what failed to give them effective resistance. Powerful empires of one sort or another have occurred in ancient civilizations among peoples of different continents. Where the conditions for imperialist activity are found, hegemonic groups and nations throughout known history have exerted such power over others. In our own times, the one superpower (the United States) exerts its force and influence throughout the world to dominate world values in terms of its own schema of understanding history and progress. The tendency of dominant cultures to impose their own values on others throughout their spheres of influence makes it all the more imperative for Continental philosophy to sharpen its critical tools with respect to the analysis of Eurocentrism and other powerful instruments of the cultural colonization of others (e.g., Anglocentrism).
What can be proposed against these powerful hegemonic cultural forces? The Continental tradition offers at least one possible alternative: reflecting on its own postcolonial status at the beginning of this new millennium. Before I proceed to this topic, however, there are a few things I would like to observe about Nietzsche.
Nietzsche's Appeals to Monumental
and Critical History
In an early essay entitled "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life," Nietzsche noticed that among his contemporaries the consciousness of history did not always take the same form. He observed three different "types" of history, or of doing history. The names he gave to these were: antiquarian, monumental, and critical history.' The antiquarian historian wants to preserve whatever he can from the past. The monumental historian looks for the high moments in history as examples of deeds worth emulating, so as to be energized for future-oriented transformative action. The critical historian annihilates a part of the past in order to undo past oppressions. Describing critical history, Nietzsche states:
If he is to live, man must possess and from time to time employ the strength to break up and dissolve a part of the past: he does this by bringing it before the tribunal, scrupulously examining it and finally condemning it; every past, however, is worthy to be condemned -for that is the nature of human things: human violence and weakness have always played a mighty force in them .... Sometimes ... life . . . wants to be clear as to how unjust the existence of anything-a privilege, a caste, a dynasty, for example-is, and how greatly this thing deserves to perish. Then its past is regarded critically, then one takes the knife to its roots, then one cruelly tramples over every kind of piety. 10
In what follows, I will apply the term "critical" to a context underemployed by Nietzsche. Critical history, I want to claim, is not so much the destruction of the past as the reading of the past in a critical light. Nietzsche's categories do not explicitly offer this alternative reading, yet he does not rule it out. What Nietzsche calls "critical" history is more of a reference to the passion to be liberated from a perceived oppression than a reference to a balanced assessment of historical biases. His closest stand to a critical reading of history (understood as a critique of mainstream historical biases) is actually what he calls monumental history. For Nietzsche, the latter allows us to reflect on the greatest moments of history-a standpoint that may then provide us with a critical distance useful for evaluating the sociocultural assumptions of the present time. Monumental (not critical) history offers Nietzsche the alternative of providing an inspiration for actions that go against the grain of the moment. "Of what use, then, is the monumentalistic conception of the past, engagement with the classic and rare of earlier times, to the man of the present? He learns from it that the greatness that once existed was in any event once possible and may thus be possible again."11 Nietzsche's ideal of monumental history contains an undeniable truth, namely, that to struggle against an overarching contemporary trend one needs an even more powerful idea to serve as one's compass. If monumental history can achieve this standard for guidance, it has provided a positive meaning for a creative life. Still, what Nietzsche failed to address is that there are issues with respect to which monumental history cannot serve as our guide. Colonialism is one example. The extension of a superpower's dominion over other cultures and peoples may be a monumental enterprise, but it is not justified ethically. The building of the pyramids at the cost of the slave labor of its builders may be justifiable on monumental standards but, contra Nietzsche, others may hold that it is not ethically justified.
If colonialism were linked with monumental history, following Nietzsche's terms, only the turn to critical history would help us to justify the dissolution of colonialist oppression (whether past or present). How could the same event-say, the dissolution of a past oppression-appear justifiable under one view of history (critical history) though not necessarily justifiable under another (monumental history)? The answer in part lies in Nietzsche's inherent perspectivalism, which allows for flexibility (or at least multiplicity) in the way events in the world are seen and interpreted. Moreover, Nietzsche's incipient perspectival epistemology12 permits him to claim that all historically engaged action is at least partially biased. The importance we give to history itself, he claims in this early work, is a Western bias. "Our valuation of the historical may be only an occidental prejudice [okzidentalisches Vorurteil] but ... let us at least learn better how to employ history for the purpose of life!"" Bearing this in mind, I would take Nietzsche's awareness of the West's bias toward its own history to propose that if our conversations about history become more balanced in terms of the participants' places of origin and their differing historical standpoints, perhaps we can reduce at least a portion of this evident "occidental prejudice." Moreover, just as we mention history, so we could also mention philosophy. Insofar as our conversations about philosophy stop requiring an exclusively Eurocentric orientation, then Nietzschean perspectivism would grant that the force of new hybrid cultures is on the rise. It remains to those whose creativity is burdened under the weight of "occidental prejudice" and who perhaps have had to rise to the challenge of colonialism in their/our lives to apply a full-blown critique to the Eurocentrist bias as the latter appears in Continental thought.
So, let me move on to the work of those who, not necessarily trying to position themselves in the academy by virtue of being natives of the developing world, nevertheless have influenced our ways of reading Conti nental philosophy in a noncentrist direction.
Actually, at the point when postcolonial subjectivity is inserted into Continental philosophy, the concept of discipline and canon begins to break down. The writers I mention next are not quite considered philosophers, even though they are of interest to philosophers. Their works constitute the diaspora of philosophic ideas, as it were. This is where we see the influence of Marxism, existentialism, deconstruction, and post-structuralism-all of which are philosophical theories in their own right, though, when applied, we find them intermixed with social thought or literary criticism, as the case might be. Today there is at least one field where some of this material may be housed-cultural studies. But some of it is too old to be placed in categories of recent origin.
One place to start is with Frantz Fanon. Fanon was an Afro-Latin thinker from the Caribbean, specifically, the island of Martinique. He was taught what every colonized or neocolonized subject is taught to think: that the validity for all knowledge and social status comes from the "mother country" or the dominant "metropolis." In the case of Martinique, that country was France. His work, Black Skin, White Masks documents the impact of cultural imperialism on his island education, his attempt to prove himself in France, the pervasive racism of which he became conscious in France, and his personal struggle to accept himself as a black man without succumbing to hatred of the white race that oppressed him. Where is the Continental philosophy in this book? Fanon deals with psychoanalysis, identity, and race. His works emerges out of his Caribbean/French experience as mediated by Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian, and other psychoanalytic concepts. He mentions Hegel's concept of the struggle for recognition and Merleau-Ponty on the phenomenology of bodily perception.14 Clearly, as an educated Martinican, he came in contact with Continental thought if he received a good education. But why must a good education be structured by a colonialist project? One question we ask today is: to what extent was French wealth and cultural status indebted to its colonies? Why is French philosophy oblivious to France's colonial role in the Caribbean? In truth, it cannot be said that there was no interchange between France and its colonies. The colonizer is indebted to the colonized for the wealth and the labor power extracted from the colonies, at the least. Moreover, in Gayatri Spivak's words, the colonizer has performed an "epistemic violation"" of the colonized, insofar as all legitimizing concepts in the colony derive from the colonizer's mentality and interests.
Does Continental philosophy engage in a monologue if it does not include the voices and register the states of consciousness of those who know what it is like to have been colonized? What one finds in the texts of the postcolonial "others" is a kind of internal dialogue where, as in the case of Fanon, conceptual threads from the Continental tradition interweave with ideas developed in view of experiences reaped in developing countries, to produce a different textual mosaic. I continue offering some other examples.
In Brazil, the educator Paulo Freire, another product of Western education, became a leading figure in developing teaching methods for what he called the liberation of the oppressed. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire explains the methodology and philosophy of his new teaching strategy. Freire had read Fanon, along with the Western Continental canon of the 1960s (when his book was first published)-Marx, Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre, Althusser, Buber. A Christian, Freire had also read the New Testament, along with the work of Marxists, including Third World Marxists. He developed a Christian interpretation integrating some of the keenest insights of his sources. He intended his book to serve as a handbook for revolutionary leadership. His work, devoted to empowering the people as they became engaged in a process of popular education, was received throughout the developing world as a tool of liberation. In 1964, Freire was imprisoned by the Brazilian authorities on account of his freedom-oriented thinking, his solidarity with humble folk, and his subversion of authoritarian thinking.
Freire's work is the product of its time, with its strengths and limitations. But it shows a way of reading philosophy that is directly linked to the experiences of a developing people. Things that Europeans take for granted, such as reading and writing, were first-time opportunities for the adult peasants with whom he worked. Freire devised a dialectical method aimed at dislodging authoritarian methods of teaching. Instead, a mutual, reciprocal method of teaching and learning was devised for the instructor and the class. In the authoritarian class, he argued, "the teacher teaches and the students are taught. 06 In the democratic class, where education reflects "the practice of freedom," everyone contributes to learning, and the teacher often learns from the students." Needless to say, since the students were often illiterate peasants, this method was quite revolutionary even with respect to the elites of the developing countries, not to mention the impact it had on the centers of power in the metropolis, where much of what Freire noted about the disenfranchised peasants applied to students of color, the handicapped, and economically disadvantaged students.
There is an epistemic break between postcolonial predecessors such as Fanon and Freire and some of the deconstructive criticism that takes place in the United States today. I think Fanon is closer than Freire to our contemporary outlook because, as Homi Bhabha has noted, Fanon tried to locate the culture of a people in a performative process of continual renovation or change, a paradigm that harbors an element of unpredictability and uncertainty about the future." Influenced by deconstructive strategies, contemporary postcolonial critical studies attempt to place an element of undecideability in the colonial signifier, such that the utterance is prevented from attaining a self-validating closure. In Bhabha's view (and perhaps also Spivak's), it is here, in this "interruptive" moment (Spivak's concept),19 in this undecideable instant, that what I earlier called the "resonance" of the postcolonial is felt in Continental thought. Somewhere in the speech of the colonizing power, a code is left imperfect, through which critical thinking can garner an Other vision, an Other language, a meaning missing in the lexicon of the dominant. Thus, reversing my earlier comment as to whether a non-Eurocentric reading of Nietzsche might be missing or lacking something, in the eyes of a Eurocentric public, the suggestion here would be: rather, it is the Eurocentric reading that misses the reality of the post-colonized world if it indeed attempts to view itself as complete in terms of its cultural roots and relevance.
Postcolonial subjectivity points to the incompleteness of Eurocentrism, not just its blindness or its arrogance. In Nietzschean terms, one could say that the Eurocentric/Anglocentric consciousness fears the loss of its individuation, along with its epistemic dominance. Faced with this threat, which only becomes more real at the present time given the speed by which the West comes in contact with the educated elite of its former colonies and possessions, if it is not possible to silence the Other completely, the next best choice will be to appropriate the others' voices. Indeed, this is what Spivak argues the developed world is currently doing as the current globalization projects envelop the lives of people in cultural and economic peripheries.
In her recent work, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, Spivak (who by her own recognition is a literary critic, not a philosopher) takes Continental thought to a new frontier. A native of West Bengal, India, who received an elite education and has attained a position of prominence in the West, Spivak attempts neither to dialogue with Anglo-European culture nor to support the project of postmodern/postcolonial studies without qualification. In an ambitious move, she questions the entire project of capitalist globalization from a transnational and transdisciplinary perspective. Her work shatters existing conceptual frameworks, even the concept of postcolonial studies that she helped to develop in the past. As the book cover notes, the book "ranges from Kant's analytic of the sublime to child labor in Bangladesh." The work is meticulously researched, as one can detect in the use of footnotes that often extend the main text's literary discussion to socioeconomic contexts. Spivak takes deconstruction beyond Derrida and Marxism well beyond Marx as she challenges the New World Economic Order whose object is the globalization of finance capital. "Privatization is the kingpin of economic restructuring for globalization."20 The cost of development, she claims, is the loss of social redistribution projects that the nation-state was expected to undertake in the period prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. "In the post-Soviet world ... it is now more than ever impossible for the new or developing states ... to escape the orthodox constraints of a `neo-liberal' world economic system that, in the name of Development, and now, `sustainable development,' removes all barriers between itself and fragile national economies, so that any possibilities of social redistribution are severely damaged."21 Linked to this situation of economic cut-backs on the part of developing nations, the pressure to migrate to the developed world accelerates. Thus a whole sector of diasporic migrants become invested, according to Spivak, in the future of Eurocentrism. ... The new diaspora,' the new scattering of the seeds of 'developing' nations so that they can take root on developed ground, means: Eurocentric migration, labor export both male and female, border crossings, the seeking of political asylum, and the haunting-in-lace uprooting of `comfort women' in Asia and Africa."22 Regarding the new diaspora consisting of the intelligentsia from developing countries, Spivak is skeptical of the boom with which they have received the advent of postcolonial studies. "I will risk a generalization here. Elite 'postcolonialism' seems to be as much a strategy of differentiating oneself from the racial underclass as it is to speak in its name."23
I have come full circle in my excursion into the topic of Continental philosophy and postcolonial subjects. I began by decrying the absence of a consciousness of postcoloniality in much, though not all, of the discipline. I made reference to the pressure, often felt from conservative peers and some students, to maintain an aura of Eurocentric affiliation as one engages in the teaching or scholarly production of Continental philosophy. Yet it is a fact that to do so somehow constitutes an epistemic violation of, if not our own experience as natives of the world's non-dominant cultures, at least of the subaltern populations whose ways of thinking or struggles for justice may be silenced by the conceptual frameworks and methodologies on which we rely professionally. To be sure, there have been and in all likelihood there will continue to be innumerable valuable aspects and contributions of Continental philosophy and of European culture to a life of knowledge and to the struggle for social justice. My intent is not to eradicate Continental philosophy but to expand and diversify its scope in response to the challenges posed by non-Western and Southern voices. The postcolonial writers I have mentioned engage with a multiplicity of aspects of Western culture, which is not only Europe's or North America's, but which is assimilated in various degrees by anyone subject to its impact around the world. In this regard, I think that assuming a hybrid perspective on postcolonial subjectivity is a healthier practice than that of trying to establish oneself as a self-nominated official reader of European texts from the so-called periphery. Indeed, I fully sympathize with Spivak's depiction of "elite `postcolonialism."' It would be more appropriate to say that the postcolonial label should strictly refer to whatever invokes a critical memory of colonialism and its sequels. Such political practices have included the exploitation of the majority of the world's women with a good conscience. However, the stipulative definition of postcolonialism I have invoked is often overlooked in practice. Terms such as "postcolonial" and "diasporic" have become fashionable; they are appropriated for any number of uses. The "post" in "postcolonial" is at times is used in order to forego the critical sense, while "diasporic" can easily refer to those who seek to distance themselves from racialized or politically and economically discredited locations in today's global economy.
In sum, I have proposed to retake Nietzsche's perspectival project of a critical history of the world in which, for better or worse, we are living. In contrast to Nietzsche, however, my kind of critical history is one whose identity need not depend on monumental history for its higher model and complement. Realizing that the concept of the monumental and of greatness itself has been colored by our historical biases (and noticing the larger biases that can result when the aura of national power and wealth prevents us from attending as much as we should to such biases), I embrace a critical reading of history and of texts in general in order to seek freedom from multiple oppressions. This standpoint also requires an ethical project large enough to include such still-to-be-attained ideals as gender equity, economic opportunities for the disadvantaged, and the conservation of global ecosystems. To the extent that the voices of difference are heard in Continental thought, it is hoped, we will grow wiser in the theorizing and practice of philosophy. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620-8350
I.In the Eurocentric perspective, the connection between European thought and the essence of civilization may be considered either a contingent or an essential matter. My criticism is directed at the effects of either position on Continental philosophy.
2. Jean-Paul Sartre, Sartre on Cuba (New York: Ballantine Books, 1961 ), p. 81.
5. Jean-Paul Sartre, Anti-Semite and Jew (New York: Schocken Books, 1948), p. 13.
6. Jean-Paul Sartre, Critique of Dialectical Reason (London: NLB, 1976), p. 54.
9. Friedrich Nietzsche, "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life," in Untimely Meditations, trans. R. J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: University Press, 1983), p. 67.
10. Ibid., pp. 75-76.
11. Ibid., p. 69.
12. 1 call his perspectivalism "incipient" here insofar as Nietzsche did not develop this concept until his later writings.
13. Nietzsche., "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life," p. 66.
14. Frantz Fanon, Black Skins, White Masks (New York: Grove, 1967), pp. 216-22 and 225.
15. Gayatri Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press), p. 414; see also Spivak, The Postcolonial Critic, ed. by Sarah Harasym (New York: Routledge, 1990), p. 102.
16. Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Continuum, 1983), p. 59.
17. Ibid., p. 69.
18. Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994), p. 152.
19. Spivak, The Post-Colonial Critic, p. 44.
20. Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, p. 357.
23. Ibid., p. 358.…