Imperial Co-Histories: National Identities and the British and Colonial Press

Imperial Co-Histories: National Identities and the British and Colonial Press

Imperial Co-Histories: National Identities and the British and Colonial Press

Imperial Co-Histories: National Identities and the British and Colonial Press

Synopsis

Bringing together scholars from the United States, Britain, Australia, India, and Canada, Codell (art history and English, Arizona State U.) presents 12 essays that examine Victorian-era newspapers, gazettes, journals and other publications from the British imperial center and the colonial peripheries for insights into how the "co-histories" (a concept borrowed from Franz Fanon) of center and periphery were constructed. As the publications studied were sites of both authority and resistance, so these essays examine both phenomena in separate sections. Distributed by Associated University Presses. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Excerpt

Julie F. Codell

What is theoretically innovative, and politically crucial, is the
need to think beyond narratives of originary and initial subjectiv-
ities and to focus on those moments or processes that are pro-
duced in the articulation of cultural differences. These “in-
between” spaces provide the terrain for elaborating strategies of
selfhood—singular or communal—that initiate new signs of
identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation,
in the act of defining the idea of society itself.

—Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture

In recent years, readings of the colonial and postcolonial “condi-
tions” have identified a central deliriousness in the working of
imperial history…. the hesitancies and uncertainties that colo-
nialism seemed so adept at producing…. the discursive ambiva-
lences of imperialism…. spaces of bewilderment and loss …

Englishness has consistently been defined through appeals to
the identity-endowing properties of place…. as a Gothic cathe-
dral, the Victoria Terminus, the Residency at Lucknow, a cricket
field, a ruined country house, and a zone of riot…. Englishness
has been generally understood to reside within some type of imag-
inary, abstract, or actual locale. … to control, possess, order, and
dis-order the nation’s and the empire’s spaces.

—Ian Baucom, Out of Place: Englishness, Empire, and the Locations of Identity

The role of the press in writing empire

The press, a locale at once “IMAGINARY, abstract, or actual,” in ian Baucom’s words, is one such place where identity can be discursively ambivalent, hesitant, and bewildering. the press often presumes to speak for a nation or a people or a “public,” but it speaks conditions and identities always in process and always multi-voiced. This book’s essays collectively examine the press’s production of “co-histories” in its unique virtual spaces where joint histories, simultaneous, ideal, and “real,” intervene in one another’s texts in a dialogue between . . .

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