This volume invokes the “postcolonial contemporary” in order to recognize and reflect upon the postcolonial character of the contemporary conjuncture, as well as to inquire into whether postcolonial criticism can adequately grasp it. Neither simply for nor against postcolonialism, the book seeks to cut across this false alternative and to think with postcolonial theory about political contemporaneity.
Many of the most influential frameworks of postcolonial theory were developed from the 1970s to 1990s, during what we may now recognize as the twilight of the postwar period. If forms of capitalist imperialism are entering into new configurations of neoliberal privatization, wars-without-end, xenophobic nationalism, and unsustainable extraction, what aspects of postcolonial inquiry must be reworked or revised in order to grasp our political present?
In twelve essays that draw from a number of disciplines—history, anthropology, literature, geography, indigenous studies— and regional locations (the Black Atlantic, South Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Australia, Argentina) The Postcolonial Contemporary seeks to move beyond the habitual oppositions that have often characterized the field: universal vs. particular; Marxism vs. postcolonialism; politics vs. culture. The essays reckon with new and persisting postcolonial predicaments, doing so under four interrelated analytics: postcolonial temporality; deprovincializing the global south; beyond Marxism versus postcolonial studies; and postcolonial spatiality and new political imaginaries.
From the book’s powerful and substantial Introduction through its dozen compelling chapters, The Postcolonial Contemporary will be a landmark volume for reassessing a crucial critical framework for today’s world.