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Introduction by Sangeeta Ray

Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.00003.x


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Why a three-volume Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies when we hear from many a quarter of the death of the field or, at best, accounts of a field bored with itself suffering from ennui and a general malaise? Or worse. Currently, in several genealogical and historical assessments of the place of “poststructuralist” theories in academic disciplinary formations under which postcolonial theory is grouped, early Anglophone postcolonial theory/theorists are characterized as unable to produce transformative approaches because, by emphasizing “the difficulty of giving an account of oneself in the dominant and hegemonic language of the colonial power, their work has tended to generate a self-perpetuating and politically unproductive anxiety that could be said to be self absorbed … [and thus to] fall under the rubric of reactional theorizing rather than actual theorizing, as privileged by Fanon” (Lionnet and Shih 2011, 20). And, as always, Indian intellectuals are singularly reprimanded for dominating the field and held responsible for its condition, especially in its earliest incarnations in the US academy. The Indian intellectuals mentioned by Lionnet and Shih are Homi Bhabha, Partha Chatterjee, and Gayatri Spivak. A few lines later, in the same paragraph, three Indian scholars are evoked as having shown us a way out of the impasse produced by such anxiety – Dipesh Chakrabarty, Ashis ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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