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The politics of literary postcoloniality

The politics of literary postcoloniality


AIJAZ AHMAD The politics of literary postcoloniality Let me start by confessing that the current discussions of post- colonialism in the domain of literary theory produce in me a peculiar sense of dejbi viu even a degree of fatigue.' There had been in the 1970s, in the field of political theory, a fulsome debate on the issue of postcolonialism, but with specific reference to the type of posteolonial states that arose in Asia and Africa after postwar decolonisations. Indeed, I had myself published something of a postscript to that debate. Now, as this same term resurfaces in literary theory, without even a trace of memory of that earlier debate, I am reminded of something that the Cuban-American critic, Roman de la Campa, said to me in conversation, to the effect that 'postcoloniality' is postmodernism's wedge to colonise literatures outside Europe and its North American offshoots - which I take the liberty to understand as saying that what used to be known as 'Third World literature' gets rechristened as 'posteolonial literature' when the governing theoretical framework shifts from Third World nationalism to postmodernism.2 The more substantial issues that are involved in the current expositions of what gets called 'postcolonial
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