Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular

Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular

Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular

Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular

Synopsis

In Flesh and Fish Blood Subramanian Shankar breaks new ground in postcolonial studies by exploring the rich potential of vernacular literary expressions. Shankar pushes beyond the postcolonial Anglophone canon and works with Indian literature and film in English, Tamil, and Hindi to present one of the first extended explorations of representations of caste, including a critical consideration of Tamil Dalit (so-called untouchable) literature. Shankar shows how these vernacular materials are often unexpectedly politically progressive and feminist, and provides insight on these oft-overlooked--but nonetheless sophisticated--South Asian cultural spaces. With its calls for renewed attention to translation issues and comparative methods in uncovering disregarded aspects of postcolonial societies, and provocative remarks on humanism and cosmopolitanism, Flesh and Fish Blood opens up new horizons of theoretical possibility for postcolonial studies and cultural analysis.

Excerpt

As the subtitle indicates, Flesh and Fish Blood is concerned with postcolonialism, translation, and the vernacular. the argument of the book represents an encounter with postcolonial studies as currently configured (mainly) in the North American academy as well as an inquiry into postcolonial literature and film from India. My general objective is both to illustrate and to overcome a broad failure with regard to vernacular knowledges in contemporary scholarly engagements with postcolonial societies. By vernacular knowledges I mean those oriented away from the transnational, the modern, and the hybrid and toward the local, the traditional, and the culturally autonomous. Because of certain biases that I explore in detail in the book, postcolonial studies has faltered in acknowledging and exploring these vernacular knowledges. Since 9/11, this failure has come to seem ever more costly as it becomes clear that many events in the postcolonial world emanate from vernacular cultural sources about which the United States remains profoundly ignorant. Working with material from and about India, therefore, I set out in this book to open fresh avenues of investigation into postcolonial societies by suggesting that we be attentive to the vernacular.

Accordingly, the first three chapters are largely concerned with an inquiry into the vernacular in relationship to the postcolonial and the colonial. I take up the argument with contemporary approaches to postcolonial studies most substantially in the first chapter. in the . . .

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