Book Cover

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Editor Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotes

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: Criticism after Postcoloniality

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pp. 3-20

What is the demand of criticism in the postcolonial present? I mean this question in a double sense, in the sense of a double demand. On the one hand, what does our cognitive-political present demand of a practice of postcolonial criticism? And on the other, what ought postcolonial criticism’s demand on this present to be? ...

Part I: Rationalities

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1. Colonial Governmentality

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pp. 23-52

The above remarks on modernity by the late Michel Foucault and Talal Asad mark out the problem-field in which the argument in this chapter is to be situated. I want to inquire into what appears to me a problem in the now considerably advanced discussion about colonialism— ...

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2. Religion in Colonial Civil Society

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pp. 53-69

It is generally assumed that religion has always played a political role in Sri Lankan history. After all, so it is said, since the dawn of recorded history in the island, there has been a well-established relation between Buddhism and the state, one moreover which, it is further supposed, has shaped to a very considerable degree the “national identity” of the Sinhalas. ...

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3. The Government of Freedom

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pp. 70-90

Reading and writing after Michel Foucault it is scarcely a controversial matter to assert that the investigation of the past ought to be connected to questions derived from the present. This, after all, is the now familiar idea of a history of the present. Such histories are concerned to destabilize the seeming naturalness or inevitability of the present, ...

Part II: Histories

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4. Dehistoricizing History

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pp. 93-105

My concern in this chapter is to engage Jean-Luc Nancy’s provocation quoted above—a provocation, as I shall read it, to dehistoricize history—on the intellectual and ideological terrain of the contemporary debate about the relation between community and history in Sri Lanka.1 ...

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5. “An Obscure Miracle of Connection”

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pp. 106-128

These inimitable sentences are, recognizably, Kamau Brathwaite’s.1 They are, to my mind, among the most movingly evocative sentences in black diaspora writing. For what they summon up so vividly is something of the quality of a black diasporic form of belonging. ...

Part III: Futures

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6. The Aftermaths of Sovereignty

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pp. 131-157

When Aijaz Ahmad published his notable reply to Fredric Jameson’s characterization of Third World literatures as “national allegories,” there was a modest enough elation among the Left postcolonial intelligentsia, those of us anyway who were, in Amitav Ghosh’s felicitous phrase, “travelling in the West.”1 ...

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7. Community, Number, and the Ethos of Democracy

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pp. 158-189

Shortly after midnight on April 20, 1995, women divers, cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the principal Tamil politicomilitary organization, bomb-blasted two gunboats belonging to the Sri Lankan navy at anchor in the Trincomalee harbor. It marked the sudden end of the Cessation of Hostilities that had been formally signed into effect by LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, ...

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8. Fanonian Futures?

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pp. 190-220

The postcolonial state in Jamaica is in crisis. Indeed, more fundamentally than this, the entire thirty-odd-year-old project of what I shall call the postcolonial nationalist-modern in Jamaica is in a profound crisis. This project, principally of course a “creole” middle-class project, really begins its cultural-political career in the nationalist movement of the 1930s and 1940s, ...

Coda: After Bandung: From the Politics of Colonial Representation to a Theory of Postcolonial Politics

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pp. 221-224

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 225-226

The arguments in this book are in many ways the outcome of a conversation carried on now over many years with four people: Vivek Dhareshwar, Tejaswini Niranjana, Satish Deshpande, and Mary John. These four friends are present in all the foregoing pages. I cannot write without hearing their doubts, without imagining their cross-examination, ...

Index

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pp. 227-234

Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History

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