Minor Transnationalism

Minor Transnationalism

Book Pages: 368 Illustrations: 8 illus. Published: March 2005

Cultural Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Theory, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Minor Transnationalism moves beyond a binary model of minority cultural formations that often dominates contemporary cultural and postcolonial studies. Where that model presupposes that minorities necessarily and continuously engage with and against majority cultures in a vertical relationship of assimilation and opposition, this volume brings together case studies that reveal a much more varied terrain of minority interactions with both majority cultures and other minorities. The contributors recognize the persistence of colonial power relations and the power of global capital, attend to the inherent complexity of minor expressive cultures, and engage with multiple linguistic formations as they bring postcolonial minor cultural formations across national boundaries into productive comparison.

Based in a broad range of fields—including literature, history, African studies, Asian American studies, Asian studies, French and francophone studies, and Latin American studies—the contributors complicate ideas of minority cultural formations and challenge the notion that transnationalism is necessarily a homogenizing force. They cover topics as diverse as competing versions of Chinese womanhood; American rockabilly music in Japan; the trope of mestizaje in Chicano art and culture; dub poetry radio broadcasts in Jamaica; creole theater in Mauritius; and race relations in Salvador, Brazil. Together, they point toward a new theoretical vocabulary, one capacious enough to capture the almost infinitely complex experiences of minority groups and positions in a transnational world.

Contributors. Moradewun Adejunmobi, Ali Behdad, Michael Bourdaghs, Suzanne Gearhart, Susan Koshy, Françoise Lionnet, Seiji M. Lippit, Elizabeth Marchant, Kathleen McHugh, David Palumbo-Liu, Rafael Pérez-Torres, Jenny Sharpe, Shu-mei Shih , Tyler Stovall


Minor Transnationalism at once challenges and renews poststructuralist modes of thought.” — Thomas Lamarre, Topia

“[A] remarkable collection of essays. . . . The volume's contributors finesse the argument for transnational cultures presented by Lionnet and Behdad and turn the volume itself into an accomplished exploration of the dynamic nature of minority lives in nation-states. This is one volume that readers will find especially persuasive and astoundingly informative.” — Vijay Mishra, Intersections

“One of the most interesting aspects of the book, then, is this model for cooperative research; it is a collaborative form one might hope to see followed more regularly in similar, interdisciplinary collections in the humanities. . . . [T]here are a number of excellent essays in the volume. . . .”
— Marian Eide, Women's Studies Quarterly

"[T]hought-provoking. . . . [E]xcellent. . . . [T]his rich and wide-ranging collection is probably best understood as an exciting first step-the promise of trans-minor routes and flows yet to be fully charted." — Fran Martin, Cultural Studies Review

"Thoughtful and thought-provoking." — Elleke Boehmer, Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History

“Highlighting minor-to-minor global networks that connect the margins without having to go through the center, Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih’s intriguing collection sparkles when put next to the usual anthologies on globalization. Individual essays on theory, literacy, performance, cinema, music, architecture, and borderlands cumulatively emphasize the multiple outcomes of cultural transversality and horizontal mobility. Reaching beyond the triumphalism of mainstream globalization discourse, Minor Transnationalism demonstrates that the moment for a better understanding of minoritization has truly arrived.” — Srinivas Aravamudan, author of Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688–1804

Minor Transnationalism opens up new approaches to reading minority cultures and major/minor dynamics of capitalist globalization and postcolonial emergence from Paris and Los Angeles to Japan, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Brazil. It wrests the ‘transnational’ away from tired paradigms of global capitalism or ethnic cooptation and makes it do the work of ‘minority-becoming.’ The result is a fabulous collection of cultural plenitude, globalized imagination, and critical lucidity.” — Rob Wilson, author of Reimagining the American Pacific: From South Pacific to Bamboo Ridge and Beyond


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Françoise Lionnet is Chair of French and Francophone Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Postcolonial Representations: Women, Literature, Identity.

Shu-mei Shih is Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917–1937.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction: Thinking through the Minor, Transnationally / Françoise Lionnet and Shu-Mei Shih 1

I. Theorizing

Inclusions: Psychoanalysis, Transnationalism, and Minority Cultures / Suzanne Gearhart 27

Rational and Irrational Choices: Form, Affect and Ethics / David Palumbo-Liu 41

Toward an Ethics of Transnational Encounters, or, "When" does a "Chinese" Woman Become a "Feminist"? / Shu-Mei Shih 73

The Postmodern Subaltern: Globalization Theory and the Subject of Ethnic, Area and Postcolonial Studies / Susan Koshy 109

II. Historicizing

Murder in Montmartre: Race, Sex, and Crime in Jazz Age Paris / Tyler Stovall 135

Giving "Minor" Pasts a Future: Narrating History in Transnational Cinematic Autobiography / Kathleen McHugh 155

Major and Minor Discourses of the Vernacular: Discrepant African Histories / Moradewun Adejunmobi 179

III. Reading, Writing, Performing

Transcolonial Translations: Shakespeare in Mauritius / Françoise Lionnet 201

Postcolonial Theory and the Predicament of "Minor Literature" / Ali Behdad 223

The Calm Beauty of Japan at Almost the Speed of Sound: Sakamoto Kyu and the Translations of Rockabilly / Michael K. Bourdaghs 237

IV. Spatializing

Cartographies of Globalization, Technologies of Gendered Subjectivities: The Dub Poetry of Jean "Binta" Breeze / Jenny Sharpe 261

The Double Logic of Minor Spaces / Seiji M. Lippit 283

National Space as Minor Space: Afro-Brazilian Culture and the Pelourinho / Elizabeth A. Marchant 301

Alternate Geographies and the Melancholy of Mestizaje / Rafael Perez-Torres 317

Contributors 339

Index 343

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3490-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3478-1
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