Cartographies of Transnationalism in Postcolonial Feminisms
Geography, Culture, Identity, Politics
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About the author
Jamil Khader is professor of English at Stetson University, where he teaches postcolonial literature and theory, transnational feminism, and popular fiction. He is the co-editor, with Molly Rothenberg, of Žižek Now: Current Perspectives in Žižek Studies (Polity Press 2013). His articles appeared in Feminist Studies, The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, College Literature, MELUS: The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, Ariel: Review of International English Literature, Children’s Literature, The Journal of Homosexuality, The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and other journals and collections.
This book proffers a new theory of the radical possibilities of contemporary postcolonial feminist writings from Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and the Caribbean, against what can be described as “actually-existing colonialisms.” These writers include prominent and other less-known postcolonial women writers such as Tsitsi Dangarembga, Louise Erdrich, Aurora Levins Morales, Rosario Morales, Esmeralda Santiago, Raymonda Tawil, Michelle Cliff, and Rigoberta Menchú. Negotiating the contradictions among gender, nation, and globalization, postcolonial women writers construct extimate subjectivities that mark their excessive locations in the social field through the dialectical relation between the intimate and the external, the intimately or internally external, articulating these contradictions within the larger history and narratives of anti-colonial internationalist struggle for liberation and emancipation.
Grounded in a commitment to the future of the postcolonial nation and the project of decolonization and liberation within the ever-encroaching, neocolonial global capitalist system, postcolonial women’s narratives of displacing offer not only an alternative mode of ideological critique of scripted and commonly-inherited discourses of identity, home, culture that obfuscate the fundamental social antagonism, but also ways of changing them through practices of radical politics. The book thus charts four intersecting, dialogic strategies, by which postcolonial women writers produce extimate subjectivities: travel, unhomeliness, multiple and shifting subject positions, and transnational alliances. First, specific strategies of travel, voluntary and involuntary, within glocal networks of dispossession, displacement, and labor migration that foreground their extimate locations as internally external. Second, tactics of unhomeliness that uncover traces of the foreign, and elsewhere, in the edifice of the familiar that serve as the basis for interrogating dominant discourses of belonging. Third, techniques of multiple and shifting subject positions that recognize the excessive location of the extimate subject, in order to unravel not only the contingency of the subject’s ontic properties, but also her locations in the interplay of oppression and privilege. And fourth, strategies for building political solidarity with transnational and transethnic communities of struggle that are grounded in the concrete Universality of the excluded communities.
This book bears witness to the radical possibility in contemporary postcolonial feminist writing, and promises a way out of the impasse of the current culturalization of politics in the humanities that has resulted from the uncritical celebration of hybridity and the concomitant emphasis on diaspora, postnationalism, and cosmopolitanism in dominant discourses of postcolonial, ethnic, and transnational studies.
; November 2012
212 pages; ISBN 9780739170649Read online
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Title: Cartographies of Transnationalism in Postcolonial Feminisms
Author: Jamil Khader
Introduction: The Poetics and Politics of Displacing: The Extimate Locations of Postcolonial Feminisms
Chapter One: “The Meaning of So Many Roads”: Geography, Circular Migrancy, and Decolonizing the Commonwealth in Puerto Rican Feminist Writings
Chapter Two: “None of the Women are at Home”:Culture, Unhomeliness, and The Politics of Expansion in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions
Chapter Three: “Escaping the Claustrophobia of Belonging”: Identity, Transracial Ontology, and Rewriting the Columbus Quincentenary in Louise Erdrich’s Fiction
Chapter Four: "We Palestinians are the Jews of the Arab World": The Politics of Solidarity, the Ethics of Otherness, and Anti-Colonial Internationalism in Raymonda Tawil’s My Home, My Prison
Conclusion: Did Anyone Say Revolution? Postcolonial Feminisms, Cosmopolitics, and the End of Revolutionary Politics
In the press
This is a hands-on, eloquent, and refreshingly honest kind of criticism, rooted in feminism while drawn to community organizing and its battle with the neoliberal “feminization of poverty.” Unimpressed by the anodyne formulas of “cosmo-theory,” Khader takes us through a series of superb close-readings from the intimacy of the domestic to the ex-timacy of the political, giving us along the way one of the best defenses anywhere of internationalism as an ethos, an aesthetic, and a politics. A new kind of theory and maybe (hopefully) its future.