theoretical entities which have occluded the study of actual cultures and substituted for engaging with the concrete experience of real people follow from the highly material interests not just of university administrators but also of elite, highly educated immigrants, whose ability to move by choice from positions of privilege in the non-Western world to highly desirable positions in Western academia has been facilitated by a racial politics in which an upper-class non-European "counts" as a minority American faculty member. Indeed, there is a vested interest in ignoring non-Western history and cultural practices, particularly when indigenous forms of oppression or exploitation are involved. The ability of an elite exile by choice to represent the non-Western Other, including victims of forced immigration (for political or economic reasons), depends upon ignorance of, and lack of interest in, all that might make people hailing from or descended from different parts of the world be more than, to use Hegel's phrase, so many cows all black at night. As the abundance of textual references in Figueira's work attests, it is hard for anyone either with experience of academic politics or who has tried to work in the field of postcolonial literary criticism not
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 18, 2011
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