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conclusions, I don’t think that that is a problem. When read as a snapshot of what three generations of scholars in the field of Postcolonial studies in five different areas of the world are doing as teachers, theorists and administrators, the book forces us to think about the material conditions of academic production and how fraught they can be. Arun Mukherjee York University Works Cited Rushdie, Salman. “Commonwealth Literature Does Not Exist.” Imaginary Homelands. London: Granta Books, 1981. Anthony J. Hall. The American Empire and the Fourth World. The Bowl with One Spoon. Volum e One. Montreal: M cGillQueen ’s UP, 2003. Pp. 534. $49.93. This massive book is part one of a larger work, suggestively titled “The Bowl With One Spoon,” in reference to an indigeneous world view that has, since 1492, steadfastly opposed what Hall terms “the West’s master parable”: “the concept of all human interaction as a struggle to advance civilization’s conquest of savagery and barbarism” (xii). Hall explains that the bowl with one spoon, “an Aboriginal pictorial representation of the principle that certain hunting territories are to be held in common,” was employed to “signify the terms of treaty agreements” and became under Tecumseh an image signifying “the need for federal unity among Indigeneous peoples if the shared Indian Country was ever to achieve sovereign recognition in international law” (epigraph). From his perspective as a scholar work­ ing in Canada, Hall sets this simple but powerful image against a regime of possessive individualism that he sees running amok in contemporary neo-liberal globalization and the current u.s.-led war on terror. For Hall, the bowl with one spoon “is consistent with the creative and humane use of the state to achieve a variety of shared purposes” (422), a vision of the role of the state very much at odds with current trends toward dismantling the social welfare state. In retrieving this visual metaphor, Hall seeks to remedy his sense that “there is very little in the iconography and vocabulary of North-American 204 |Brydon popular culture to take into account the kind of treaty diplomacy with Indigeneous peoples that provided the context for the original operation of Johnson Hall” (16). Johnson Hall becomes a touchstone for him of what might have been and what might still be should his book be taken seri­ ously. It symbolizes the reciprocal bonds that made “immigration into Indian Country a very different process from the form of expansionism aimed at extinguishing Indian Country” and provided the seeds for “the emergence of the Fourth World as a pluralistic realm of prolific intercultural inventiveness on the middle ground of compromise, negotiation, and exchange” (458). Hall’s reclaiming of this history circumvents the polari­ ties that plague much discussion of equity issues, identity politics and postcolonial discussion today by turning back to the historical record and seeking out paths not taken or blocked in the past. He argues, for example, that “Race-based paradigms in the social sciences, but especially the lens of ‘Indian-white relations,’ obscure full appreciation of the fact that European immigration into the Americas could take many forms” (457). Hall describes his idea for the book as trying to create “a text expansive and comprehensive enough to demonstrate the richness of the connec­ tions linking the history of Johnson Hall, for example, to the dynamic eruptions of Indian Country that are integral to our own time” (20). That expansiveness is both a strength and a weakness of the text, in that its rambling and repetitive style may put off readers who might benefit from its challenge to rethink the history of the Americas and their global inter­ actions over the last four hundred years from what now seems a fresh perspective, although in many ways it is a self-conscious revival of Red Tory traditions that have receded in influence since the Trudeau years. In its very form, Hall’s book performs an alternative vision of human relations to that provided by more conventional histories. An eclectic mix of heroic, nostalgic and utopian narrative, the book is organized thematically as “a kind of literary cartography to a landscape of history, law and politics that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1913-4835
Print ISSN
0317-0802
Pages
pp. 204-207
Launched on MUSE
2019-04-03
Open Access
No
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