The Pre-occupation of Postcolonial Studies

The Pre-occupation of Postcolonial Studies

Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: 10 b&w photographs Published: September 2000

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

The Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies contains essays by both leading figures and younger scholars engaged in the field of postcolonial studies. In this state-of-the-field reader, editors Fawzia Afzal-Khan and Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks have created a dynamic forum for contributors from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary vantage points to question both the limits and the limitations of postcolonial thought.
Since it burst on the academic scene as the “hot” new disciplinary field during the final decade of the twentieth century, postcolonial studies has faced criticism from those who question its “troubling” trajectories, its sometimes suspect epistemological and pedagogical methods, and its relatively narrow focus. With diverse essays that emerge from such disciplines as South Asian, Latin American, Arab, and Jewish studies, this volume responds to skeptics and adherers alike, addressing not only the broad theoretical issues at stake within the field but also the position of the field itself within the academy, as well as its relationship to modern, postmodern, and Marxist discourses. Contributors offer critiques on ahistorical and universalizing tendencies in postcolonial work and confront the need for scholars to attend to issues of class, ideology, and the effects of neocolonial practices. Seeking to broaden the field’s traditionally literary spectrum of methodologies, these essayists take up large thematic issues to examine specific sites of colonial activities with all of their historical, political, and cultural significance. Closing the volume is an insightful interview with Homi Bhabha, in which he discusses postcolonial studies in the context of contemporary cultural politics and theory.
The Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies not only offers an overview of the discipline but also pushes and pulls at the edges of postcolonial studies, offering a comprehensive view of the field’s diversity of thought and envisioning clear pathways for its future.

Contributors. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Ali Behdad, Homi Bhabha, Daniel Boyarin, Neil Larsen, Saree Makdisi, Joseph Massad, Walter Mignolo, Hamid Naficy, Ngugi Wa Thingo, Timothy B. Powell, R. Radhakrishnan, Bruce Robbins, Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, Ella Shohat, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan


“A diverse collection that effectively constitutes a reader for contemporary postcolonial studies . . . .” — Fred W. Burnett , Religious Studies Review

“Many of the chapters in this collection are a fascinating tour de force that makes the volume a must item in the libraries of not only those interested in postcolonial studies, discourses, theories, and paradigms, but also those interested in power, production of knowledge, the postcolonial state, marginality, and feminist struggles as well as literary and cultural criticism, modernity and postmodern paradigms. . . . [The contributors’] multidisciplinary and critical, as well as self-reflexive, approach to postcolonial studies is timely and theoretically challenging and stimulating.” — Huda Seif , XCP

"[A] welcome intervention providing significant vignettes on the historical trajectory of the field as well as its contemporary concerns. . . . It will serve as a comprehensive reader for entrants to the field, without disappointing experts whose urge for nuanced analysis and detailed argumentation will also be amply satisfied." — Manish Kumar Thankur , Anthropology Review Database

“A timely intervention in the debates surrounding the contribution made by postcolonial theory and the status of the discipline indicated by the term ‘postcolonial.’ This anthology enables a broadening and deepening of the field.” — Sangeeta Ray, author of En-Gendering India: Woman and Nation in Colonial and Postcolonial Narratives


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Fawzia Afzal-Khan is Professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She is the author of Cultural Imperialism and the Indo-English Novel: Genre and Ideology in the Novels of R. K. Narayan, Anita Desai, Kamala Markandaya, and Salman Rushdie.

Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks is Assistant Professor of English at Boston College. She is the author of Desiring Whiteness: A Lacanian Analysis of Racial Visibility (forthcoming).

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

At the Margins of Postcolonial Studies: Part 1 / Kalpana Sheshadri-Crooks 3

At the Margins of Postcolonial Studies: Part 2 / Fawzia Afzal-Khan 24

1. The Occupation of Postcolonial Studies: Knowledge and Institutional Politics

Postmodernism and the Rest of the World / R. Radhakrishnan 37

Une Pratique Sauvage: Postcolonial Belatedness and Cultural Politics / Ali Behdad 71

(Post)Occidentalism, (Post)Coloniality, and (Post)Subaltern Rationality / Walter Mignolo 86

Borders and Bridges: Seeking Connections between Things / Ngugi Wa Thiongo 119

Notes on the "Post-Colonial" / Ella Shohat 126

DetermiNation: Postcolonialism, Poststructuralism, and the Problem of Ideology / Neil Larsen 140

Secularism, Elitism, Progress, and Other Transgressions: On Edward Said's "Voyage In" / Bruce Robbins 157

2. The Preoccupations of Postcolonial Studies: Modernity, Sexuality, Nation

Street Theater in Pakistani Punjab: The Case of Ajoka, Lok Rehs, and the (So-Called) Woman Question / Fawzia Afzal-Khan 171

Beyond the Hysterectomies Scandal: Women, the Institution, the Family, and State in India / Rajeswari Sunder Rajan 200

The Colonial Drag: Zionism, Gender, and Mimicry / Daniel Boyarin 234

Postcolonial Literature in a Neocolonial World: Modern Arabic Culture and the End of Modernity / Saree Makdisi 266

Self-Othering: A Postcolonial Discourse on Cinematic First Contacts / Hamid Naficy 292

The "Post-Colonial" Colony: Time, Space, and Bodies in Palestine/Israel / Joseph Massad 311

Postcolonial Theory in an American Context: A Reading of Martin Delany's Blake / Timothy Powell 347


Surviving Theory: A Conversation with Homi K. Bhabha / Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks 369

Works Cited 381

Contributors 403

Index 407

Permissions 413
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2521-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2486-7
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