PDF | On Oct 1, , Lidan Lin and others published Leela Gandhi. Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. All rights reserved. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Gandhi, Leela, Postcolonial theory: a critical introduction I Leela Gandhi. p. cm. Postcolonial Theory is a ground-breaking critical introduction to the burgeoning field of Leela Gandhi is the first to clearly map out this field in terms of its wider .

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Research in African Literatures A Critical Introduction, by Leela Gandhi. The lengthy recitation of the historical origins of humanism in the early sections seems unwarranted and redundant, given that most readers will come to the book equipped with at least a basic awareness and knowledge of the fundamental issues at stake. But beyond this shortcoming, Ganehi Gandhi provides helpful definitions of key terms along with a genealogy of postcolonial theory, ganhdi its trajectory across disciplinary boundaries, and carefully, methodically outlining the terrain traversed in achieving its position alongside some of the most influential theoretical apparatuses of the late twentieth century—poststructuralism, postmodernism, feminism, and Marxism.

While Gandhi remains faithful to the book’s stated objective of providing a critical introduction to postcolonial theory, the book is considerably more rewarding and challenging than its stated structural parameters may initially imply. Gandhi’s critique allows for the exploration of important issues and questions relating to nationalism, pedagogy, and cultural studies. Drawing on the work of a plethora of theorists and critics—Ahmad, Bhabha, Chakrabarty, Fanon, Foucault, Lacan, Lloyd, Lyotard, Memmi, Said, Spivak—Gandhi’s interpretations and rigorous analysis are often stimulating as the text distances itself from its purely informational role.


For example, Gandhi’s insistence on the importance of complicity and collaboration, and the link she establishes later in the book with the potentiality of postnationalist discourse, allows her to formulate a critique of a Manichean and binary discourse concerning the colonized and the colonizer, highlighting instead the mutually constitutive, symbiotic dynamic that characterizes these relations.

This dimension is often not accorded the prominence it deserves in the formulation of postcolonial critiques. Gandhi’s book is exhaustive in its analysis of postcolonial theory and thorough in its attempt to establish strong connections across the heterogeneous topography of postcoloniality.

Postcolonial Theory – Hardcover – Leela Gandhi – Oxford University Press

Yet the pertinence of many of the key arguments is limited by the book’s restricted parameters. On the one hand, she defines postcolonial literature as “a contentious category which refers, somewhat arbitrarily, to ‘literatures in English’, namely those literatures [End Page ] which have accompanied the projection and decline of British imperialism”and on the other, she foregrounds the Indian context.

When she argues that “what postcolonialism fails to recognize is that what counts as ‘marginal’ in relation to the West has often been central and foundational in the non-West.

Thus, while it may be revolutionary to teach Gandhi as political theory in the Anglo-American academy, he is, and has always been, canonical in India” ixthe same argument does not apply to many areas of Africa where censorship, curricular control, and the cost of distributing works published essentially in Europe have severely restricted the local population’s access to cultural production.

For Gandhi, then, the shortcomings of postcolonialism reside in the failure to “foreground those cultural and historical conversations which circumvent the Western world” xand postcolonialism should “diversify its mode of address and learn to speak more adequately to the world which it speaks for” x.


Postcolonial Theory

Recent paradigms offered by transcolonial and transnational approaches facilitate such discussions outside of imperializing networks that inevitably reproduce exclusionary mechanisms, and accord prominence not only to print culture but also to other cultural manifestations that are often ignored by the Western academy. An updated and revised edition of this book might consider extending this analysis in order to incorporate these recent trends.

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