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“Postwestern”

“Postwestern” Susan Kollin In addressing the keyword “postwestern,” I am fi rst prompted to attend to the power and ambiguity of the term “West” itself. Krista Comer takes up this task, noting how the “West” operates as a fl uid concept, encompassing both a “geopolitical entity and physical to- pography” that shifts meanings when placed in the context of that larger entity, “Western civilization” (238). What does it mean to call forth a “postwestern” critique when the term references both a seemingly distinct locale and a geography that has held signifi cance for global populations, from the ancient Greeks and Romans who saw it as the place of Elysium to the Europeans who set in motion a fi ve hundred–y ear colonial matrix of power (Mignolo xiii; Kollin, “Environments” 2)? Rather than continually demarcate one West from another, the keyword “postwestern” acknowledges how each extends the other in a confi rming and enabling relationship. In this way, Neil Campbell notes how regionality always involves “relation- ality” because it makes “encounters beyond itself”; regionality is “impinged upon by otherness and outside forces” and “necessarily transformed through its relations with its outsides” (141). Relationality makes visible how the hemispheric division of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

“Postwestern”

Western American Literature , Volume 53 (1) – Jun 1, 2018

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142

Abstract

Susan Kollin In addressing the keyword “postwestern,” I am fi rst prompted to attend to the power and ambiguity of the term “West” itself. Krista Comer takes up this task, noting how the “West” operates as a fl uid concept, encompassing both a “geopolitical entity and physical to- pography” that shifts meanings when placed in the context of that larger entity, “Western civilization” (238). What does it mean to call forth a “postwestern” critique when the term references both a seemingly distinct locale and a geography that has held signifi cance for global populations, from the ancient Greeks and Romans who saw it as the place of Elysium to the Europeans who set in motion a fi ve hundred–y ear colonial matrix of power (Mignolo xiii; Kollin, “Environments” 2)? Rather than continually demarcate one West from another, the keyword “postwestern” acknowledges how each extends the other in a confi rming and enabling relationship. In this way, Neil Campbell notes how regionality always involves “relation- ality” because it makes “encounters beyond itself”; regionality is “impinged upon by otherness and outside forces” and “necessarily transformed through its relations with its outsides” (141). Relationality makes visible how the hemispheric division of the

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Jun 1, 2018

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