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Flesh and Fish Blood

Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular

Subramanian Shankar

Publication Year: 2012

In Flesh and Fish Blood Subramanian Shankar breaks new ground in postcolonial studies by exploring the rich potential of vernacular literary expressions. Shankar pushes beyond the postcolonial Anglophone canon and works with Indian literature and film in English, Tamil, and Hindi to present one of the first extended explorations of representations of caste, including a critical consideration of Tamil Dalit (so-called untouchable) literature. Shankar shows how these vernacular materials are often unexpectedly politically progressive and feminist, and provides insight on these oft-overlooked—but nonetheless sophisticated—South Asian cultural spaces. With its calls for renewed attention to translation issues and comparative methods in uncovering disregarded aspects of postcolonial societies, and provocative remarks on humanism and cosmopolitanism, Flesh and Fish Blood opens up new horizons of theoretical possibility for postcolonial studies and cultural analysis.

Published by: University of California Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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pp. 2-9

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

Much of the material that makes up this book was presented at various forums over the course of a decade. I am grateful to audiences at the following institutions and meetings for questions and comments: American University, Cairo; Asian Studies Development Program of the East West Center ...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xviii

As the subtitle indicates, Flesh and Fish Blood is concerned with postcolonialism, translation, and the vernacular. The argument of the book represents an encounter with postcolonial studies as currently configured (mainly) in the North American academy as well as an inquiry into postcolonial literature and film from India. ...

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1. Midnight’s Orphans, or the Postcolonial and the Vernacular

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pp. 1-26

In 1997, Salman Rushdie celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of India’s independence from British rule by coediting The Vintage Book of Indian Writing, 1947–1997 with Elizabeth West. In the introduction to the anthology, Rushdie claimed that the most interesting literature of post-Independence India was in English.1 ...

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2. Lovers and Renouncers, or Caste and the Vernacular

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pp. 27-64

Postcolonial theory is peculiar. In startling ways it is not postcolonial at all. Consider, for example, caste and how little postcolonial theory has to say about it. On the one hand, caste has been the object of intense scholarly scrutiny for centuries. At least from the time of the British entry into India as a colonizing power, ...

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3. Pariahs, or the Human and the Vernacular

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pp. 65-102

Google pariah and the hits will show how the word has become a coveted name for, among other things, a movie about lesbians of color, a marching percussion theater group, and a video game.1 In its most common usage, pariah means, the OED informs us, “a member of a despised class of any kind; ...

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4. The “Problem” of Translation

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pp. 103-142

Postcolonialism, I have argued, whether understood as theory, historical condition, or literary canon, cannot be homogenized. While actually existing postcolonialism can be plotted along and between at least two axes of analysis (the transnational and the vernacular), scholarship within the North American academy has shown a strong predilection to standardize it ...

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Conclusion: Postcolonialism and Comparatism

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pp. 143-158

In pursuit of the vernacular, I have been led to two ancillary concerns—translation and comparatism. These two topics have found iteration in my argument in multiple ways. Noting how the vernacular directed attention to the question of translation, I took up that topic in the previous chapter. ...

Notes

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pp. 159-166

Works Cited

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pp. 167-180

Index

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pp. 181-185

Production Notes

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p. 205-205


E-ISBN-13: 9780520952348
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520272521

Page Count: 204
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: FlashPoints

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Indic literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Postmodernism (Literature) -- India.
  • Indic literature -- Translations -- History and criticism.
  • Postcolonialism in motion pictures -- India.
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