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This interdisciplinary volume is designed to expand the agenda of postcolonial studies, assess the field’s past and present foci, and affect its future evolution. The editors ask scholars to consider the intellectual, political, and methodological practices that have shaped—and which should shape—postcolonial modes of thought. Their effort is to reinvent and transform the field. They argue that such reinvention has been happening but that, having already influenced perspectives and methods across many disciplines, postcolonial studies is becoming increasingly institutionalized. To remain useful, it needs new directions and emphases.
The essays here address questions about the field’s definition, relevance, and relationship to issues of modernity, transnationalism, and globalization. Can postcolonial studies produce insights that will illuminate what is marginalized or invisible within the discourses of globalization and neoimperialism? Can it draw on its tradition of anticolonial thought and sociocultural analysis to continue suggesting socioeconomically informed models of political mobilization and innovative critical language? Can it minimize Eurocentricism? The book contains a broad range of perspectives on these issues. It does not represent consensus but, rather, links contradictory and complementary contributions from history, anthropology, Asian and African studies, environmental studies, literature, political science, and religion to re-evaluate and stretch the field.