Academic journal article CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture

Postcolonial Studies in the Twenty-First Century: A Book Review Article about New Work by Ashcroft, Mendis, McGonegal, Mukerjee and Carrera Suarez, Duran Almarza, Menendez Tarrazo

Academic journal article CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture

Postcolonial Studies in the Twenty-First Century: A Book Review Article about New Work by Ashcroft, Mendis, McGonegal, Mukerjee and Carrera Suarez, Duran Almarza, Menendez Tarrazo

Article excerpt

Much has been written since the turn of the new century about the effects of colonization and this helped to consolidate the field of postcolonial studies with theories of globalization including perspectives of cosmopolitanism and the field of (im)migration and diaspora studies (see, e.g., Appiah; Beck; Braidotti, Hanafin, Blaagaard; Brennan; Cheah and Robbins; Dagnino; Gupta; Krishnaswamy and Hawly; McClennen; Nava; Schoene; Spencer; Sturm-Trigonakis; Walkowitz; for a bibliography in postcolonial studies see Totosy de Zepetnek, "Selected Bibliography" ). In 1995 Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin argued in their introduction to The Post-colonial Studies Reader that "Postcolonial studies are based in the 'historical fact' of European colonialism, and the diverse material effects to which this phenomenon gave rise. We need to keep this fact of colonization firmly in mind because the increasingly unfocused use of the term 'post-colonial' over the last ten years to describe an astonishing variety of cultural, economic and political practices has meant that there is danger of its losing its effecting meaning altogether" (2). It is in the 2006 introduction to the second edition of The Post-colonial Studies Reader where the editors argue that while the term postcolonial still stands for "both the material effects of colonization and the huge diversity of everyday and sometimes hidden responses to it throughout the world" (2-3), postcolonial theory has seen an increase in the variety of fields and disciplines that employ the term: "while post-colonial theory was a creation of literary study, it has provided a methodology for this wide range of disciplines" (5).

In 2007, Patricia Yaeger published what Sunil Agnani, Fernando Coronil, Gaurav Desai, Mamadou Diouf, Simon Gikandi, Susie Tharu, and Jennifer Wenzel discussed in the 2006 Modern Language Association of America annual convention round table "The End of Postcolonial Theory?" The participants' objective was to figure out the meaning of what many addressed as the "end of postcolonial theory." Their conclusion can be summed up as the need to open the field rather than focus on established and standard perceptions of what postcolonial studies would be (638). Some scholars believe that postcolonial studies is being eclipsed by globalization studies and others advocate for interdiscursive and interdisciplinary approaches so as to go "beyond a certain kind of postcolonial studies" (Lomba, Kaul, Bunzl, Burton, Esty 7). Revathi Krishnaswamy and J.C. Hawly conclude that "to be global is first and foremost to be postcolonial and to be postcolonial is always already to be global" (3). It is true that postcolonial studies has moved away from areas of regional studies to fields such as the social sciences or media studies, among others and all in the pursuit of new configurations and re-routings of knowledge where dynamism, critical theory, and relevance must always be present (e.g., on the application of postcolonial theory to Central and East European cultures, a concept much resisted until recently, see Totosy de Zepetnek, "Cultures"; Berlina and Totosy de Zepetnek). Dennis Walder asked in his 1998 Post-Colonial Literatures in English whether if there is an "after" postcolonial space, maybe it will be constructed as in Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient: "As a self-consciously self-referential mosaic of moments in the present and past-a structure repeatedly reinforced in the narrative by the images of Italian frescoes and other forms of fragmentary or ruined art--yet a structure interfered with by personal memories and historical event, in short by the changing world ... yet their multiplicity of identities suggests the direction post-colonial literary studies may go: recasting histories to create a set of achronic narratives which reach back and (allegorically at least) forward in order to rechart the world, testifying to what Ondaatje through the patient calls 'our communal histories. …

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