Power, Postcolonialism, and International Relations: Reading Race, Gender, and Class

By Geeta Chowdhry; Sheila Nair | Go to book overview

7

IN ONE INNINGS

National identity in postcolonial times

Sankaran Krishna

This chapter examines the issue of national identity in postcolonial societies by focusing on a West Indian cricketer named Shivnaraine Chanderpaul from Guyana. 1 Still in his twenties, Chanderpaul has established himself as one of the most reliable batsmen in the West Indies cricket team and one of the premier batsmen in the world. 2 As a cricketer of Indian origin (his ancestors moved from India to British Guyana in the nineteenth century as indentured laborers on sugar plantations) Chanderpaul's location is complicated in interesting ways. Contemporary Guyana's population is about 50 per cent East Indian and about 38 per cent African in its origins. When Chanderpaul made his test debut for the West Indies against the visiting English (the erstwhile colonial power that left Guyana as recently as 1966), Guyana was wracked with ethnic tension between the Guyanese-Indians and Afro-Guyanese. A recent election had brought to power the political party closely affiliated with the East Indian population, unseating the party affiliated with the island's black population. There was some rioting in the streets and a perception that the elections were not entirely free and fair. It was in this tense political climate that Chanderpaul played his inaugural test innings.

The crowd at the Bourda Oval in the capital city of Georgetown was vectored by a complex and fascinating set of identity positions. Guyanese-Indians obviously identified with “their boy” and were keen to see him succeed. Most Afro-Guyanese wanted to see a fellow-national come good, especially because the Guyanese have always felt that they are discriminated against in gaining selection to the multinational Caribbean test team, which was dominated by white players in the colonial era, and in later decades by players from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad. Moreover, the West Indies were playing against the visiting English, a country whose imperial history and colonial mindset possibly lingered more strongly in cricket than in many other realms of encounter. Yet surely the Afro-Guyanese, even as they rooted for Chanderpaul, were unable to forget the fact that he was not one of “us” but of “them” - that he represented a national fragment that symbolized the ethnic tension of the moment.

-170-

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Power, Postcolonialism, and International Relations: Reading Race, Gender, and Class
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Postcolonial Criticism 33
  • 3 - Situating Race in International Relations 56
  • 4 - Beyond Hegemonic State(Ment)S of Nature 82
  • 5 - Cultural Chauvinism and the Liberal International Order 115
  • 6 - “sexing” Globalization in International Relations: 142
  • 7 - In One Innings 170
  • 8 - The “new Cold War” 184
  • 9 - A Story to Be Told 209
  • 10 - Postcolonial Interrogations of Child Labor 225
  • 11 - Human Rights and Postcoloniality 254
  • Bibliography 285
  • Index 312
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