This important book is a critical introduction to the rapidly expanding field of postcolonial studies. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the author draws on literary criticism, philosophy, anthropology, history and politics to develop a distinctive account of postcolonialism. Quayson discusses key debates in the field, including the implications of various forms of interdisciplinarity for postcolonial studies, the relationship between indigenous knowledge and contemporary historiography, the links between postmodernism and postcolonialism and the insights of feminism for postcolonial theory. He explores the relevance of these debates for cultural, literary and political criticism. Throughout the text, he stresses the importance of seeing postcolonialism as a process of analysis which does not simply refer to another stage after colonialism, but to a continuing struggle against colonialism and its effects. He encourages the reader to think through the issues that are raised by postcolonial theory and to relate these to political practice today.
This practical application of postcolonial theory allows the author to develop dynamic new perspectives on aspects of contemporary culture, history and literature. He discusses the work of Rushdie, Morrison, Achebe, Soyinka and Okri, amongst others; many of his examples are drawn from African cultures, an area which has been hitherto neglected by postcolonial theory. Quayson also develops postcolonial approaches to the literary canon, showing how this perspective can shed new light on some of the classical works of English literature, such as those of Shakespeare. This book will be essential reading for students of literature, history, anthropology and cultural studies, as well as all those concerned with debates about postcolonial theory and its political functions.
1. Instrumental and Synoptic Dimensions of Interdisciplinarity.
2. Postcolonial Historiography and the Problem of Local Knowledge.
3. Literature as a Politically Symbolic Act.
5. Feminism, Postcolonialism and the Contradictory Orders of Modernity.
6. Postcolonialism and Postmodernism.
7. Parables from the Canon: Postcolonializing Shakespeare.