Marxism, Modernity, and Postcolonial Studies

Marxism, Modernity, and Postcolonial Studies

Marxism, Modernity, and Postcolonial Studies

Marxism, Modernity, and Postcolonial Studies

Synopsis

What is the relationship between Marxism and postcolonial thought? Can a revolutionary European ideology be an emancipatory intellectual tool in the post-imperial world? Or, in sites where European thought is often treated with suspicion, does it repeat distrusted legacies and epistemologies? This collection is the first systematic attempt to provide an overview of this collision. An international cast of contributors challenge the elision of Marxist thought in the debate on what the term "postcolonial" actually entails. The volume is essential reading for all engaged in postcolonial and cultural studies.

Excerpt

This book has its origins in a panel on “Marxism and Postcoloniality” organized by the editors for a “Rethinking Marxism” conference at Amherst several years ago. The large turnout for, and lively discussion during, that session–even as a blizzard swirled around the building housing the meeting rooms–convinced us that we should try to recapture the intellectual excitement of that day by continuing the conversation in print. Some of the contributors to this volume were participants in that conference; others were invited to add their thoughts later. All, however, share with the editors the convictions that Marxism and “postcolonial studies” have something to say to each other–and that there might be more productive ways of dealing with their differences than have been exhibited hitherto. There has, in fact, been little direct, serious dialogue between Marxists and postcolonial theorists. The neglect (even ignorance) of Marxism in postcolonial studies has often been countered by the reflexive dismissal of the entire field of postcolonial studies by Marxist writers. In this longstanding dispute, a good deal of over simplifi cation, caricature, and trivialization has crept into the discourse on both sides, with the charges each group hurls against the other being by now well known: Marxism is said to be indelibly Eurocentric, complicit with the dominative master-narratives of modernity (including that of colonialism itself) and, in its approach to texts, vulgarly reductionistic and totalizing; postcolonial studies, in turn, is viewed as complicit with imperialism in its contemporary guise as globalization, oriented exclusively to metropolitan academic adventurism, and, in its approach to texts, irredeemably dematerializing and unhistorical. In contrast to these polarizing and exclusionary positions, this volume advocates a strong and visible Marxist postcolonial studies.

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