Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction

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Allen & Unwin, Jan 1, 1998 - Social Science - 200 pages
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Postcolonial Theory is a ground-breaking critical introduction to the burgeoning field of postcolonial studies.

Leela Gandhi is the first to clearly map out this field in terms of its wider philosophical and intellectual context, drawing important connections between postcolonial theory and poststructuralism, postmodernism, marxism and feminism. She assesses the contribution of major theorists such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak and Homi Bhabha, and also points to postcolonialism's relationship to earlier thinkers such as Frantz Fanon and Mahatma Gandhi.

The book is distinctive in its concern for the specific historical, material and cultural contexts for postcolonial theory, and in its attempt to sketch out the ethical possibilities for postcolonial theory as a model for living with and 'knowing' cultural differences non-violently.

Postcolonial Theory is a useful starting point for readers new to the field and a provocative account which opens possibilities for debate.
 

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Contents

a brief intellectual history
23
Postcolonialism and the new humanities
42
q Provincialising Europe Power knowledge
54
Edward Said and his critics
64
Postcolonialism and feminism
81
the question of nationalism
102
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Page 9 - I am not wherever I am the plaything of my thought; I think of what I am where I do not think to think.
Page 6 - At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.
Page 150 - The telling has not been easy. One has to convey in a language that is not one's own the spirit that is one's own. One has to convey the various shades and omissions of a certain thought-movement that looks maltreated in an alien language. I use the word "alien," yet English is not really an alien language to us.
Page 30 - I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia. The intrinsic superiority of the Western literature is, indeed, fully admitted by those members of the Committee who support the Oriental plan of education.
Page 51 - And how is criticism to show disinterestedness ? By keeping aloof from what is called 'the practical view of things;' by resolutely following the law of its own nature, which is to be a free play of the mind on all subjects which it touches.
Page 39 - Humanity does not gradually progress from combat to combat until it arrives at universal reciprocity, where the rule of law finally replaces warfare; humanity installs each of its violences in a system of rules and thus proceeds from domination to domination.
Page 94 - This enabled the colonial administration to define a precise political doctrine: 'if we want to destroy the structure of Algerian society, its capacity for resistance, we must first of all conquer the women; we must go and find them behind the veil where they hide themselves and in the houses where the men keep them out of sight'.
Page 123 - The consciousness of self is not the closing of a door to communication. Philosophic thought teaches us, on the contrary, that it is its guarantee. National consciousness, which is not nationalism, is the only thing that will give us an international dimension.
Page 43 - ... a whole set of knowledges that have been disqualified as inadequate to their task or insufficiently elaborated: naive knowledges, located low down on the hierarchy, beneath the required level of cognition or scientificity.
Page 36 - Hence, it means that principally there are no mysterious incalculable forces that come into play, but rather that one can, in principle, master all things by calculation.

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About the author (1998)

Leela Gandhi lectures in the School of English at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She researches the cultural history of the Indo-British colonial encounter, and has published extensively in this area. She is joint editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies.

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