THE POLITICS OF LITERARY POSTCOLONIALITY BY AIJAZ AHMAD PDF

Postcolonial Text, Vol 2, No 1 Introduction: The Politics of Postcoloniality. Aijaz Ahmad is the author of many influential books on literature, politics. In this you could be a political radical like Shelley or a conservative.

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Postcolonial Text, Vol 2, No 1 Introduction: The Politics of Postcoloniality. Aijaz Ahmad is the author of many influential books on literature, politics. In this you could be a political radical like Shelley or a conservative. This special issue has its origins in a conference on "The Politics of Postcoloniality" organized by the editors and held at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in October The idea for that conference began in a series of conversations that we had been engaged in as then graduate students in English about the status, value, and future of the field of postcolonial studies with which we were just beginning to become acquainted.

The three of us had been debating amongst ourselves the merit of the various objections raised against postcolonial theory, and the possibility of alternative forms of postcolonial analysis that could engage with and transform structures of oppression and violence.

Our organization of the conference reflected our wish to extend the terms of debate by reaching outside the parameters of the historical home of postcolonial studies, the English Department, to include scholars from a variety of disciplines, including those who do not see their work as situated in the field.

Of course, as we acknowledged in the conference call for papers, the debate over the future and merit of postcolonial studies is hardly new. In many ways, in fact, it is quite old; old in the sense that it is tired, or more accurately, that critics seemed tired of engaging it. Indeed, expressions of concern about the conceptual efficacy of the term "postcolonial" have long been expressed by many scholars; suspicion about the entrenchment of postcolonial scholars in the Euro-American university has become almost rampant; and attacks on the field for its insufficient attention to materialism are now fairly standard.

Familiarity with the controversies that plague postcolonial studies has translated, it seems to us, into fatigue with discussions aimed at renegotiating its founding assumptions and procedures.

The impasse that has beset the field since its inception exists now as much as it ever did, only there is noticeably less interest in thinking critically about how it might be overcome.

Among practitioners, the failure to take up in earnest the task of reconceptualizing postcolonial studies may have to do with the general but pervasive sense that the field has had its day, so to speak. That is, there seems to be an increasing perception that, as E. San Juan Jr. As newcomers to the field, such proclamations trouble and puzzle us, especially since the alternative to postcolonialism seems to be the emergence of "globalization studies," a field with an even murkier politics and one that seems all too often to focus attention back on cultural production and cultural practices in Europe and North America.

However, they also stem from the concern that as poor a job as postcolonial literary studies has done of acknowledging literature not written in English or building an inclusive and engaged community of scholarship across borders and classes, postcolonial theory has provided a valuable critique of the discourses that underwrote the colonial project and that continue to inform neoliberal imaginings of a unified world market , including "civilization" and "progress.

Recently Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have argued in Empire that by paying too much attention to this legacy, postcolonial scholarship risks "end[ing] up in a dead end" We agree that this risk of a dead end is at hand in fact, one could say postcolonialism is already in a dead end , but we disagree that it is because of an undue focus on a "past form of domination" that no longer exists.

It is only as an inheritance that we can begin to understand imperialism and combat, as Hardt and Negri argue, the "new strategies of rule" into which it has transmuted in the contemporary era. As Diana Brydon argues in her contribution to this issue, Hardt and Negri "were too hasty in dismissing postcolonial theory as a backward-looking study with no relevance to the challenges of globalization. The civilizing mission remains alive and well.

While our choice of title for this special issue might seem so generic as to be meaningless, by foregrounding the terms "politics" and "postcoloniality" we want to suggest that postcolonialism remains an indispensable critical practice insofar as it stands in opposition to the militaristic and market-driven agendas of our time.

In distinguishing "postcoloniality" from "postcolonialism," Graham Huggan has argued that the former term represents a regime of value that privileges the late capitalist system of commodity exchange, while the latter term represents a politics that resists the global processes of commodification. This distinction may be somewhat crude in its sanitization of postcolonialism but it does serve the useful function of reminding us of the important strategic work that postcolonial criticism undertakes, particularly in a context of intense and intensifying political and economic inequality.

Despite their divergent ideas and opinions, however, they agree that postcolonialism is far from irrelevant to twenty-first century political goals and struggles, and that, on the contrary, its conceptual tools and analytic framework can and should be harnessed in the interests of critiquing the colonial past and the contemporary world order.

In this, the authors of the following essays question the wholesale dismissal of the field undertaken not just by Hardt and Negri, but by a wide range of critics before them. One of the most scathing indictments of the field has been articulated by San Juan Jr. Like many other critics of postcolonial studies, San Juan Jr. I know that it never promised explicitly to make the colonized world a better place for colonized peoples. It did, however, carry with it the implicit expectation that, through exposure to new literatures and cultures and challenges to hegemonic assumptions and power structures, lives would be made better.

Whether postcolonialism has made good on its promise or not is open to question, as King recognizes. The answer varies, of course, according to whom you ask, but for most it involves more than a simple affirmation or negation. Describing postcolonialism as a melancholic discipline, Khanna maintains that the factors leading to announcements of its death — for instance, the failures of anti-colonial liberation projects and the current neo-imperial forces of globalization — have in fact been sites of engagement for a field characterized primarily by the paradox of impossibility.

But affect in this case — and Khanna borrows from Sigmund Freud, Nicolas Abraham, Maria Torok, and Jacques Derrida to theorize it — is more than a disabling affect attached to the past; it is also, and most importantly, "an ethico-political gesture toward the future," thus providing the possibility of an enabling postcolonial agency.

She undertakes a materialist reading of contemporary Caribbean women writers and literary criticisms of this literature in an attempt to demonstrate the critical capabilities of the Western Marxist theorists Georg Lukcs and Raymond Williams for contemporary postcolonial literary study.

Like Scott, Rao points to the apparent failure of postmodernist postcolonial critics to produce a sustained critique of the material history and continuation of imperialism. According to Rao and Mezzadra and Rahola, Milz, and Scott concur here the wholesale rejection of universals such as Marxism, nationalism, and even imperialism has deprived postmodernist versions of postcolonialism of a crucial analytic through which to properly understand the current world order.

Rao provides the example of a recent special issue of Postcolonial Studies that focused on plumbing and toilets as evidence of the irrelevance of the present postmodernist mode of postcolonial critical practice. It would seem that the postcolonial critic also has a responsibility to challenge popular left critiques of U. Bush and his co-horts as buffoons and tyrants, strategically forgetting that the current "war on terrorism" is indebted to a history of Euro-American attempts to dominate global politics and economics and is imbedded in an evolving system of global power that is manifested, as well, in Clinton-ordered attacks on pharmaceutical plants in Sudan or the political economy of the HIV-AIDS pandemic in Africa.

One reason postcolonial critics have been slow to engage with U. For many academics outside literary studies, the consequent postcolonial preoccupation with textuality and discourse is a reason for criticism.

For many postcolonial literary theorists, it is a cause of anxiety. According to Brydon, this criticism and anxiety are, in part, misplaced. Brydon emphasizes that "[l]iterature has a role to play but cannot provide a substitute for politics. Brydon attributes crucial importance to "the way we look at the world" in her conceptualization of a postcolonial politics of "negotiation and compromise" that can move beyond the limitations of the current "politics of blame," politics of "speaking truth to power," and the now misused phrase "the personal is political.

In her contribution to this volume, Milz argues that postcolonial critical discourse provides important tools for addressing the relationship between globalization, literature, and literary study. The latter situates the study of postcolonial texts within the project of "globalizing literary study" and, thus, within a context of world literature in English that establishes the Modern Language Association of America as the central, privileged place of world intellectual encounter and power.

This approach emphasizes what has been neglected in contemporary global literary study and postcolonial literary study alike — namely that the current contexts of neoliberal globalization have a pervasive influence on literature and the study of literature and, accordingly, necessitate a view of texts that takes into account this very situatedness and what it says about the current functions of literature and its study. Rajan wonders if the globalizing of literary studies is not more an effect of economic politics than it is the result of an emancipatory or pluralist turn in the humanities that minority studies represents.

Her chief question is whether members of "visible" minorities have not in fact been assimilated and interpellated into working on their ethnic identities as a result of economic pressures of globalization. As a self-described "outsider" to the field of postcolonial study — in the sense of being situated in an English Department as a "hyphenated" Indo-Canadian focusing on German and French Romantic texts — she draws on personal experience in order to suggest that postcolonial literary studies have constructed and limited the position of the racialized scholar in the Euro-American university.

Her perspective provides a unique formulation of and response to the identity politics debate, one that articulates the concern that postcolonial literary study reinforces the very constructions of colonial identities it purports to deconstruct and dismantle, and thus challenges us to think anew the question of what it means to be a "postcolonial intellectual. Despite the concerns of critics such as San Juan, Aijaz Ahmad, and Ella Shohat, postcolonial studies continues to be imagined by postcolonial critics as a form of intellectualism that is particularly political.

Similarly, Brydon contends in her contribution to this collection that the immediate task of the postcolonial critic is to create the kinds of knowledge and subjects who can work collaboratively towards "negotiating political change in the organizations of governance, power and wealth in the world.

Mezzadra and Rahola introduce the concept of "postcolonial time" to highlight the contributions postcolonialism can provide to the definition of a genealogy of the present. James, and others in order to identify, "in the failure of the projects to which their names were connected, the sense of an hidden history" and, with it, the sense of a capacity for insubordination which has been erased by the "history of the winners.

They suggest an understanding of contemporary global power relations that, while acknowledging the dominance of the Western capitalist system, accentuates the "hidden" legacies and significances of postcolonial liberation movements and their very failures.

Yet, even while sympathizing with the critiques of postcolonialism they outline, they also articulate a future for postcolonialism that recognizes that material inequality is at least partly lived, understood, and changed, through discourses, cultural expressions, and the symbolic or figurative.

Chinese, South Asian, Lebanese, Caribbean , as well as between specific new diasporas and old diasporas e. Jewish, Armenian, African , and of exploring the broader political and epistemological implications of the marker "new diaspora. In his extensive survey of the major issues in the field of new diaspora studies, Chariandy enters into conversation postcolonial theory, ethnic studies, migration studies, globalization theory, postmodernist theory, and materialist criticism.

The interdisciplinary engagement and reach of the essay emphasizes how useful and even indispensable the theoretical insight of other disciplines and subdisciplines can be for the postcolonial critic when it comes to situating specific cultural texts and symbols in relation to their social, political, and economic functions.

Her call for making "connections across lines and barriers" Said focuses on the issue of language privilege, or, more precisely, on the widespread exclusion of non-English Indian literatures such as Anandamath in Anglo-American postcolonial literature courses and scholarship.

It contributes to anti-Hindutva scholarship by means of postcolonial literary criticism, which becomes a tool for contextualizing Anandamath in a way that helps better understand and interrrogate contemporary militant Hindu nationalism in India. While the essays in this collection draw upon, and extend, various critiques of postcolonial studies, they also articulate a future for postcolonialism as a critical project i.

Gandhi, Leela. Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. New York: Columbia University Press, Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. London: Harvard University Press, Huggan, Graham. The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins. New York: Routledge, King, Thomas. Toronto: House of Anansi, Trenton: Africa World Press, Seshadri-Crooks, Kalpana. Durham and London: Duke University Press, Spivak, Gayatri Chakraborty. Death of a Discipline.

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AIJAZ AHMAD THE POLITICS OF LITERARY POSTCOLONIALITY PDF

Douramar Aijaz Ahamad, 26 April Cropped. They require a different kind of prose. But it is a long, drawn-out process and what happens there will also depend on the international context. Well before the founding of NLRBritain had acquired a powerful tradition of Marxist thought and plitics widespread leftwing intellectual culture, especially in the postwar years.

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THE POLITICS OF LITERARY POSTCOLONIALITY BY AIJAZ AHMAD EPUB

Grojas Aijaz Ahmad House of Anansi, The interdisciplinary engagement and reach of the essay emphasizes how useful and even indispensable the theoretical insight of other disciplines and subdisciplines can be for the postcolonial critic when it comes to situating specific cultural texts and symbols in relation to their social, political, and economic functions. This item appears ov List: These funds made it possible for them to build charities, schools, clinics, shelters, etc. That is the real secret behind the Islamicist electoral sweep. Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. Whether postcolonialism has made good on its promise or not is open to question, as King recognizes. However, has the book been replaced by the web? If you are engaged in the problems of your time your art will respond to it anyway, regardless of whatever idea you may have about artistic freedom.

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