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Postcolonial futures: postcolonial literature and the Obama moment

Postcolonial futures: postcolonial literature and the Obama moment

Baillie, Justine (2009) Postcolonial futures: postcolonial literature and the Obama moment. In: School of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Conference, 28 May 2009, University of Greenwich. (Unpublished)

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Since the late 1970s the western academy has encouraged the development of postcolonial literary theory and the formulation of a postcolonial literary canon existing outside the prescriptive narratives of the ‘mother’ country and empire. Having lost faith in the binary oppositions underpinning such narratives, we turned to alternative fictions that contested the construction of the ‘other’, the world divided between the ‘West and the Rest’.

The publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism in 1978 marked the beginning of the discipline now known as postcolonial studies with its new ways of understanding ‘the west’s’ relationship with ‘the east’ and, by extension, all the former colonies of empire. Despite these radical origins, however, postcolonialism’s more recent emphasis on the psychological
and its affirmation of the hybrid text and self has, for many, served to obscure real economic social realities that have very little to do with the magical or wondrous textual expression of a postcolonial identity. This paper considers problems associated with defining the postcolonial and proposes that, in a literary context, we broaden its meaning to include texts traditionally outside the category of postcolonial literature. To extend the meaning of postcolonial is timely as we are now witnessing its relocation from ‘margin’ to ‘centre’ with the election of Barack Obama.

This moment may be seen as a disruption of conventional understandings of what constitutes postcolonial literature, essentially as oppositional discourse that could only define itself
as peripheral to, or ‘post’, metropolitan and economic concerns. [From the Author]

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: postcolonial literature, Obama moment,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Communications & Creative Arts
School of Humanities & Social Sciences
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:05

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