POST-COLONIAL Books review assignment

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POST-COLONIAL Books review assignment

  1. 1. Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israeli ConflictPostcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israeli Conflict is a 2008 book edited by Philip CarlSalzman and Donna Robinson Divine and published by Routledge Press.The book is based on the proceedings of a conference on "Postcolonial Theory and the MiddleEast" held at Case Western Reserve University in 2005. 1The essays were first published in aspecial issue of the journal Israel Affairs.Postcolonial theory is one of the main frameworks for thinking about the world and acting tochange the world. Arising in academia and reshaping humanities and social sciences disciplines,postcolonial theory argues that our ideas about foreigners, particularly our negative ideas aboutthem, are determined not by a true will to understand, but rather by our desire to conquer,dominate, and exploit them. According to postcolonial theory, the cause of poverty, tyranny, andmisery in the world, and of failed societies around the world, is Euro-American imperialism andcolonialism. Previously published as a special issue of Israel Affairs, this work examines andchallenges postcolonial theory. In scholarly, research-based papers, the specialist authorsexamine various facets of postcolonial theory and application. First, the theoretical assumptionand formulations of postcolonial theory are scrutinized and found dubious. Second, thedeleterious impact on academicdisciplines of postcolonial theory is demonstrated. Third, thedistorted postcolonial view of history, its obsession with current events to the exclusion of thehistorical basis of events, is exposed and corrected. Fourth, an examination of Middle Easternculture challenges the assumption that these societies have been shaped entirely, and victimized,by Western intrusion. Finally, exploring the Arab-Israel conflict, the one-sided case ofpostcolonial Arabism is explored and found to be faulty.1[www.spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=2787]
  2. 2. The book contains the following essays:Irfan Khawaja “Essentialism, Consistency, and Islam: A Critique of Edward Said‟sOrientalism”Ronald Niezen “Postcolonialism and the Utopian Imagination”Ed Morgan “Orientalism and the Foreign Sovereign: Today I am a Man of Law”Laurie Zoloth “Mistaken-ness and the Nature of the „Post”: The Ethics and theInevitability of Error in theoretical Work”Herbert Lewis “The Influence of Edward Said and Orientalism on Anthropology, or: Canthe Anthropologist Speak?”Gerald M. Steinberg “Postcolonial theory and the Ideology of Peace Studies”Efraim Karsh “The Missing Piece: Islamic Imperialism”David Cook “The Muslim Man‟s Burden: Muslim Intellectuals confront their ImperialistPast”Andrew Bostom “Negating the Legacy of Jihad in Palestine”Philip Carl Salzman “Arab Culture and Postcolonial Theory”Richard Landes “Edward Said and the Culture of Honor and Shame: Orientalism and ourMisperceptions of the Arab-Israeli Conflict”Gideon Shimoni “Postcolonial Theory and the History of Zionism”S. IlanTroen “De-Judaising the Homeland: Academic Politics in Re-Writing the Historyof Palestine”
  3. 3. Donna Robinson Divine “The Middle East Conflict and its Postcolonial Discontents”Irwin J. Mansdorf “The Political Psychology of Postcolonial Ideology in the Arab World: ananalysis of „Occupation‟ and the „Right of Return‟”A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the VanishingPresent(published 28 Jan2000, edition 1)GayatriChakravortySpivak, one of the foremost thinkers in postcolonial theory, looks at theplace of her discipline in the academic "culture wars." A Critique of Post-Colonial Reasonincludes a reworking of her most influential essay, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" which haspreviously appeared in only one anthology.GayatriSpivaks long-awaited book...sets out to challenge the very fields Spivak has herselfbeen most associated with--postcolonial studies and third world feminism...[A Critique ofPostcolonial Reason] is remarkble for the warnings it provides--powerful critiques of diversepositions structure the authors stance--as guardian in the margin. Spivak forcefullyinterrogates the practices, politics and subterfuges of intellectual formations ranging fromnativism, elite poststructuralist theory, metropolitan feminism, cultural Marxism, globalhybridism, and "white boys talking postcoloniality2."A Critique of Postcolonial Reason is almost above all else self-conscious, self-aware, self-deprecating. In 139 brilliant footnotes to "Culture," Spivak carries on a running engagementwith the flotsam and jetsam (what Walter Benjamin called the "detritus" of culture or "Trashof History") of what passes for public life and the attendant information and culture industryin this global thing we live in: ad campaigns by clothing designers, articles and stories fromthe New York Times or "Good Morning America"...Spivaks tone makes the book a constantpleasure. A mocking smile seems always present, along with sincere engagement withimportant issues...From the first page of the preface to her footnote almost 400 pages later2-YogitaGoyal
  4. 4. about the exchange with the World Bank official at the European Parliament, Spivak focuseson the ignorant, arrogant Eurocentric destruction of people and the environment and theenabling practices of culture that make it possible...This is a most important and significantbook3.Spivak focuses on the relationship of debates in philosophy, history, and literature to theemergence of a postcolonial problematic. Overall, she seeks to distance herself frommainstream postcolonial literature and to reassert the value of earlier theorists such as Kantand Marx...Those already interested in the postmodern and postcolonial debates may findher style invigorating4.A founder of postcolonial studies surveys the current state of the field and finds much tocriticize. This is vintage Spivak--dazzling, often exasperating, but unfailingly powerful.--Partha Chatterjee, author of The Nation and Its FragmentsIn these pages GayatriSpivak performs what often seems either impossible or purelygestural--a critique of transnational globalization which manages to be equally attuned to itscultural and economic effects. This book deserves to be read for its modulated defense ofMarxism and feminism alone. It will be welcomed as the clearest statement to date ofSpivaks own relationship to the postcolonial theory with which she herself--wrongly, as sheforcefully argues here--is so often identified. With a brilliance that is uniquely hers, Spivakissues a challenge which will be very hard to avoid to the limits of theory and of academicinstitutions alike5.3--David S. Gross (World Literature Today )4--Kent Worcester (Library Journal )5--Jacqueline Rose, author of States of Fantasy
  5. 5. GayatriSpivak tells us that here she charts her progress from colonial discourse studies totransnational cutlural studies. She does so brilliantly. And she does so much more. Sheconstructs this extraordinary progress through an intricate labyrinth, but one with blazinglights in every corner6.GayatriSpivak works with remarkable complexity and skill to evoke the local details ofemergent agency in an international frame. Her extraordinary attention to the texts shereads and her ability to track the reach of global power make her one of the unparalleledintellectuals of our time7.GayatriSpivaks most recent text, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, brings together in asingle volume a wide range of her work in postcolonial studies…She weaves together thesemultiple levels of critique brilliantly, presenting a rigorous reading of the discourses ofimperialism… A Critique of Postcolonial Reason presents a scrupulous discussion ofimperialism in European philosophy, literature, history, and culture8.Postcolonialism: An Historical IntroductionPublication Date: July 16, 2001Robert Youngs Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction is indisputably the best reader on thesubject. Youngs book eschews the usual narrative history of anticolonial resistance andpostcolonial theory in favour of a genealogical one, focusing on social, political and culturalorigins of resistance and the academic discipline of postcolonialism.He is also careful not to6--SaskiaSassen, author of Globalization and its Discontents7--Judith Butler, author of The Psychic Life of Power8--Rachel Riedner (American Studies International )
  6. 6. discourage students from theory, and effectively combines the thematic survey mode (seen inAniaLoombas Colonialism/Postcolonialism and Leela Gandhis Postcolonial Theory: AnIntroduction, among others). Beginning with a brilliant exposition of the terms colonialism,imperialism and neo-imperialism, Young moves on to discuss Latin American, Asian andAfrican colonisations by France, England and other European powers from the 18th century.Young historicises the rise of anticolonial thought by looking closely at the moments in whichthese emerged. Further, Young is careful to locate the economic, administrative and socialvariations in the native cultural formations. Young thus skirts the danger of homogenisingcolonialism when he is able to distinguish between, say, French and British empires. Youngsgenealogy also takes into account figures and moments persistently ignored by postcolonialthinkers and critics: Fanon, Nkrumah, Cesaire among others. He thus locates the holy trinity ofpostcolonial studies (SPivak, Bhabha, Said) in terms of this tradition. Written in lucid prose,with a keen sense of historical engagements (by which i mean cross-fertilisation and borrowingof ideas during the various nationalist movements across the world) in the anticolonial struggles,Youngs work is easily a text book for students and researches. If one may inject the personal,what i found fascinating in the book was Youngs constant interrogation of the evolution ofcertain meanings,associations,and tropes in anticolonialism and postcolonialism. With a finessethat he no doubt owes to his poststructuralist training, Youn is able to unravel the threads ofterms like empire and colony in terms of etymology and patterns of usage. the concludingsections, with essays on Foucault and Tunisia and Derrida and ALgeria, Young once moreunderscores the ideological and intellectual debt that contemporary postcolonal theory owes todeconstruction and poststructuralism. Young retains the verve, respect for differences and variedformations (cultural, linguistic, political) and brilliance of his previous White Mythologies andColonial Desire, and adds precision of language, a fine historical sense, and smoothness of style
  7. 7. to his already considerable repertoire. Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction is anindispensable book for anyone interested in the area.On the PostcolonyUniversity of California Press, May 18, 2001AchilleMbembe is one of the most brilliant theorists of postcolonial studies writing today. In Onthe Postcolony he profoundly renews our understanding of power and subjectivity in Africa. In aseries of provocative essays, Mbembe contests diehard Africanist and nativist perspectives aswell as some of the key assumptions of postcolonial theory. This thought-provoking andgroundbreaking collection of essays—his first book to be published in English—develops andextends debates first ignited by his well-known 1992 article "Provisional Notes on thePostcolony," in which he developed his notion of the "banality of power" in contemporaryAfrica. Mbembe reinterprets the meanings of death, utopia, and the divine libido as part of thenew theoretical perspectives he offers on the constitution of power. He works with the complexregisters of bodily subjectivity — violence, wonder, and laughter — to profoundly contestcategories of oppression and resistance, autonomy and subjection, and state and civil society thatmarked the social theory of the late twentieth century. This provocative book will surely attractattention with its signal contribution to the rich interdisciplinary arena of scholarship on colonialand postcolonial discourse, history, anthropology, philosophy, political science, psychoanalysis,and literary criticism.

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