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Postcolonizing the Commonwealth

Studies in Literature and Culture

Edited by Rowland Smith
Subjects Literary Criticism
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Paperback : 9780889203587, 222 pages, May 2000
Ebook (PDF) : 9780889206076, 222 pages, January 2006

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Postcolonizing the Commonwealth: Studies in Literature and Culture, edited by Rowland Smith
Introduction | Rowland Smith
1. Postcolonial/Commonwealth Studies in the Caribbean: Points of Difference | Edward Baugh
2. Proximities: From Asymptote to Zeugma | Alan Lawson
3. Looking in from “Beyond”: Commonwealth Studies in French Universities | Jacqueline Bardolph
4. Climbing Mount Everest: Postcolonialism in the Culture of Ascent | Stephen Slernon
5. Afrikaners, Africans and Afriquas: Métissage in Breyten Breytenbach’s Return to Paradise | Johan U. Jacobs
6. Inheritance in Question: The Magical Realist Mode in Afrikaans Fiction | Sheila Roberts
7. Natal Women’s Letters in the 1850s: Ellen McLeod, Eliza Feilden, Gender and “Second-World” Ambi/valence | Margaret J. Daymond
8. Rural Women and African Resistance: Lauretta Ngcobo’s Novel And They Don’t Lie | Cherry Clayton
9. Five Minutes of Silence: Voices of Iranian Feminists in the Postrevolutionary Age | Nima Naghibi
10. FAS and Cultural Discourse: Who Speaks for Native Women? | Cheryl Suzack
11. Can Rohinton Mistry’s Realism Rescue the Novel? | Laura Moss
12. Dislocations of Culture: Unhousing and the Unhomely in Salman Rushdie’s Shame | Susan Spearey
13. A Vision of Unity: Braithwaite, Ngugi, Rushdie, and the Quest for Authenticity | Mac Fenwick
14. Cowboy Songs, Indian Speeches and the Language of Poetry | J. Edward Chamberlin
Jacqueline Bardolph, the former Dean of Arts at the University of Nice, died in 1999.
Edward Baugh is a member of the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies (Mona) and (frequently) its Chair.
J. Edward Chamberlin is a member of the English Department at the University of Toronto.
Cherry Clayton has taught at the Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg and at the University of Guelph.
Margaret Daymond is a member of the English Department at the University of Natal, Durban.
Mac Fenwick is a graduate student of English at Queen’s University.
Johan U. Jacobs is Head of the School of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Human Sciences at the University of Natal, Durban.
Alan Lawson is Deputy Director of the Graduate School and Dean of Postgraduate Students at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
Laura Moss is a member of the English Department at the University of Manitoba.
Nima Naghibi is a graduate student of English at the University of Alberta.
Sheila Roberts is a member of the English Department at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Stephen Slemon is a member of the English Department at the University of Alberta.
Rowland Smith is the Vice-President: Academic at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Susan Spearey is a member of the English Department at Brock University.
Cheryl Suzack is a graduate student of English at the University of Alberta.


Women and resistance in Iran; cowboy songs; fetal alcohol syndrome; the conquest of Everest; women settlers in Natal. What do these topics have in common?
The study of what used to be called Commonwealth literature, or the new literatures, has by now come to be known as postcolonial study. This collection of essays investigates the status of postcolonial studies today.
The contributors come from three generations: the pioneers who introduced study of the “new” literatures into university English departments, the next generation who refined and developed many of the theoretical positions embodied in postcolonial study, and the next, much younger, generation, who use the established practices of the discipline to investigate the application of this theory in a wide range of cultural contexts.
Although the authors write from such different starting points, a surprisingly similar set of images, phrases and topics of concern emerge in their essays. They return constantly to issues of difference and similarity, the re-examination of categories that often appear to be too rigidly defined in current postcolonial practices, and to concepts of sharing: experience, ideas of home, and even the use of land.
Postcolonizing the Commonwealth: Studies in Literature and Culture offers an intriguing analysis of the state of postcolonial criticism today and of the application of postcolonial methods to a variety of texts and historical events. It is an invaluable contribution to the current debate in both literary and cultural studies.


What is valuable about Postcolonizing the Commonwealth is its inclusion of topics that are often missing from discussions and teaching of Postcolonial literatures....[which makes the book] so different from the volumes published by such mainstream publishing houses as Routledge....When read as a snapshot of what three generations of scholars in the field of Postcolonial studies in five different areas of the world are doing as teachers, theorists, and administrators, the book forces us to think about the material conditions of academic production and how fraught they can be.

- Arun Mukherjee, York University, English Studies in Canada, 2005 July