Imperial Desire: Dissident Sexualities and Colonial Literature

Imperial Desire: Dissident Sexualities and Colonial Literature

Imperial Desire: Dissident Sexualities and Colonial Literature

Imperial Desire: Dissident Sexualities and Colonial Literature

Synopsis

Illuminates the intersections between colonial thought and homosexuality

An exploration of the intersection of colonialism and homosexuality in fiction and travel writing, this volume brings together two dynamic fields of academic inquiry: colonial discourse analysis and queer theory.

Excerpt

“My book,” writes Gayatri Spivak in her preface to A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, “charts a practitioner’s progress from colonial discourse studies to transnational cultural studies.” The path Spivak has taken is one that has been followed by many cultural theorists working in postcolonial studies through the 1990s and into the new millennium. Colonial discourse analysis’s relentless deconstruction of colonial texts written by Europeans has been replaced with a more nuanced understanding of colonial social structures, and an emphasis on diasporic histories that intersect with, but are not contained by, colonialism. Queer theory, similarly, has exceeded the careful examination of the specification of male homosexuality in the late nineteenth century, which was a feature of early work in gay and lesbian studies, to examine a myriad of practices, subjectivities, and readings. Queer and diasporic studies have, indeed, come together in recent work on queer diasporas, interstitial spaces of identity that resist solidifying into coherent identities. The notion of a queer diaspora, in its focus on a community beyond the nation, destabilizes nationalist ideologies that attempt to interpellate respectable sexual citizen-subjects; simultaneously, in its stress on a queer, multiply inflected identity, it questions globalizing discourses of gay or lesbian sexuality. If there is a danger in such new work, it is perhaps that colonialism itself, precisely specified by scholars such as Spivak, Homi Bhabha, Ann Laura Stoler, Robert Young, and other analysts of colonial discourse, here becomes only a metaphor for any regime of unequal power. Mindful of a need for specificity, this collection of essays thus attempts to revisit . . .

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