- Linked Histories: Postcolonial Studies in a Globalized World
Through the essays assembled for this collection, McCallum and Faith offer a glimpse of what a globalized post-colonial studies might look like. While post-colonial and globalization studies intersect at a number of points, there are relatively few thoughtful and thorough engagements with those intersections. Globalization's concern with cultural materialism and the constitutive forces of capital over geographical boundaries does not necessarily link neatly with post-colonialism's concerns for decolonization, subaltern historiography, and what Diana Brydon notes as the 'survival of certain ways of seeing and not-seeing from the past into the present.' McCallum and Faith's volume fulfills the promise of its title, making connections between post-colonialism and globalization. Paying particular attention to the question of history as the ground of these connections, this collection offers a number of possibilities for understanding the globalizing of post-colonial studies.
Mary Lawlor's essay on the Shoshone Tribal Cultural Centre and Bill Ashcroft's essay on post-colonialism in Latin American take up the ways in which history challenges and enables a more global approach to post-colonial studies. Lawlor examines the space of the cultural centre as a negotiation between tourism and historiography. Turning away from the predictable discussions of authenticity and cultural representation, Lawlor suggests that 'the Indians of contemporary Acoma . . . have appropriated familiar methods of mainstream tourism and historiography, and in the process offer Euro-Americans information about their own culture and history.' Similarly, Ashcroft's meditation on testimonial literature illuminates the permeability of the boundaries between the authentic and artificial cultural forms. He argues that 'testimonial literature, by interpolating itself at the juncture of literature and history, puts into question both the standard forms and the [End Page 427] very ideas of literature and history.' Both these essays move post-colonial questions outside of the geographical frame of anglophone North American post-colonialism's preoccupation with places formerly colonized by Britain. They do so by foregrounding the question of history and the materiality of its transmission.
In their discussions of the situation of post-colonial studies in relation to China and Maori political activism, Wang Ning and Victor Li also push up against the boundaries of post-colonial studies. Through an exploration of the writing of Rigobera Menchu, Edouard Glissant, and Chinua Achebe, Victor Li observes the metropolitan bent of Simon During's suggestion that Maori political activists do not need post-colonialism. In response, Li argues that 'postcolonialism may well become a loan word inserted into the Maori lexicon, a metropolitan word that will become locally inflected, ceding its identity as it becomes articulated to Maori exigencies.' Li thus reasserts the heterogeneity of resistance. In a two-part essay that looks first at the ways in which major post-colonial scholars such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha are read in Chinese academic circles, and second at the applicability of post-colonial theory to Chinese culture, he argues against the move within the Chinese academy to 'wage a struggle to decolonize Chinese culture and literary discourse' where decolonization would mean the valorization of a kind of 'pure' Chinese language and literature free of the modernizing influences of European culture. As Rey Chow's contribution to this volume recalls, fascism can often be found on the underside of idealism.
The discussions of diaspora in the essays by Revathi Krishnaswamy and Vijay Mishra examine the globalizing of post-colonial studies from the perspective of migrancy and dislocation. Both essays call for attention to class and gender, which have often been obscured by what Krishnaswamy calls the 'mythology of migrancy' characterized by a paradigmatic post-colonial figure such as Salman Rushdie. Mishra also focuses on Rushdie in order to mark the possibilities of Lyotard's differend for thinking through the relationship between the diasporic and the post-colonial.
Additionally, the essays by Rob Cover, Monika Fludernik, and Kalpana Sheshadri-Cooks take up the challenge to globalize post-colonial studies by examining the relationship between queer identities and...