Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction

By Leela Gandhi | Go to book overview

1
After colonialism

In 1985 Gayatri Spivak threw a challenge to the race and class blindness of the Western academy, asking 'Can the subaltern speak?' ( Spivak 1985). By 'subaltern' Spivak meant the oppressed subject, the members of Antonio Gramsci's 'subaltern classes' (see Gramsci 1978), or more generally those 'of inferior rank', and her question followed on the work begun in the early 1980s by a collective of intellectuals now known as the Subaltern Studies group. The stated objective of this group was 'to promote a systematic and informed discussion of subaltern themes in the field of South Asian studies' ( Guha 1982, p. vii). Further, they described their project as an attempt to study 'the general attribute of subordination in South Asian society whether this is expressed in terms of class, caste, age, gender and office or in any other way' ( Guha 1982, p. vii). Fully alert to the complex ramifications arising from the composition of subordination, the Subaltern Studies group sketched out its wide-ranging concern both with the visible 'history, politics, economics and sociology of subalternity' and with the occluded 'attitudes, ideologies and belief systems--in short, the culture informing that condition' ( Guha 1982, p. vii). In other words,

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Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface viii
  • 1 - After Colonialism 1
  • 2 - Thinking Otherwise: a Brief Intellectual History 23
  • 3 - Postcolonialism and the New Humanities 42
  • 4 - Edward Said and His Critics 64
  • 5 - Postcolonialism and Feminism 81
  • 6 - Imagining Community: the Question of Nationalism 102
  • 7 - One World: the Vision of Postnationalism 122
  • 8 - Postcolonial Literatures 141
  • 9 - The Limits of Postcolonial Theory 167
  • Bibliography 177
  • Index 189
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