Ann Baynes Coiro
John Milton put A Maske presented at Ludlow Castle in the middle of his authorial identity when he announced that he was an important writer. A Maske has often been linked with Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue. John Fletcher's The Faithful Shepherdess was one of Milton's favourite plays and reading it can feel like a phantasmagoric encounter with Milton's Maske. The points of intersection between Coelum Britannicum and A Maske show the difference between the sceptical courtier and the romantic humanist. A Maske is the crucial nexus of Milton's two great English influences: Spenser's pastoral romance and Shakespeare's richly human drama. The most fascinating feature of the masque is the Lady. The masque's reversion to a conventional deus ex machina (Sabrina, or, if necessary, Heaven) only underscores retrospectively the boldness of Milton's most original creation in A Maske, a real woman acting nobly in the world.
In 2005 the African Union declared the diaspora ‘the sixth region of the continent’. While this was a welcome move, it was also clear that the AU’s understanding of the term ‘diaspora’ was fuzzy at best and was driven predominantly by an economic model. This chapter looks at Africa’s diverse diasporas—both internal to the continent, such as the Indians of East Africa, and externally, such as in Brazil or Liverpool—in order to argue that there is no direct correlation between blackness, diaspora and Africanness, and that whatever identification there might be between the continent and its diasporas depends essentially on the now endangered project of pan-Africanism.
This chapter draws on Derek Gregory’s idea of the ‘colonial present’ in an attempt both to politicize the postcolonial and to embed postcolonial concerns at the heart of geopolitics. It addresses the geopolitical position of Africa in the US-sponsored ‘war on terror’ by exploring the tensions that exist between biopolitical processes of security and development. It concludes with a discussion of alternative modernities which suggests that other forms of biopolitics are being practised, in Africa and elsewhere, that subvert the imperial ambitions of the colonial present even if they do not always succeed in resisting it.
De Witt Douglas Kilgore
Can we imagine a future in which the African diaspora is seen as central to the flow of events? This chapter seeks to answer that question through a history of Afrofuturism as a critical term and a critique of the concept as deployed by black and white science fiction writers. The word is presented as a heuristic that makes visible black artistic production of futures that seek escape from dystopian erasures that seem real. The idea captures stories about science, technology, and culture other than those that limit future history to Eurocentric extrapolations. Kilgore argues that the term has allowed both a reconsideration of canonical African-American literature as well as an extension of science fiction’s ability to see prophetically across racial and cultural divides.
This article comments on the lack of unity among scholars of postcolonial studies, arguing that the field is suffering from an identity crisis as its proponents continue to insist on their own disciplinary structures. It considers the suggestion that postcolonialism might usefully be characterized as “a combination of revisionisms” or as a “radical undoing of modernity,” as well as the notion that postcolonial studies is grounded in a principle of critical refusal, of “unquestioned identification” of any kind. It describes the tendency of scholars to critique postcolonial studies in relation to other studies, such as those of globalization, migrancy, diaspora, cosmopolitanism, subalternity, race, or popular culture. It contends that “postcolonial studies” is an omnibus term for what was always a fractious and disruptive set of scholarly practices. Finally, it expects postcolonial critical thought to continue to transform the academy and refuse to submit to methodological singularity.
Postcolonialism’s understanding of religion, broadly conceived, depends on a certain secular relation between critique and history. It is assumed that historicization constitutes a critical secular practice within which true-to-the-Greek and other conventional senses of the word ‘critique’ ultimately cause life to become separated from itself. The chapter suggests that the critical historicization of religion, and of life more generally, which foregrounds itself as a particular secular possibility for our present, has yet to think the question of ‘inheritance-translation’ (Derrida) in which such historicization remains necessarily implicated.
David Farrier and Patricia Tuitt
Few scholars would dispute that the modern-day refugee condition is intimately tied to the problematic of the postcolony, yet the distinctiveness of postcolonial theory among the various frames of reference within which questions of refugee status and asylum are analysed has not to date been fully appreciated. This chapter, a dialogue between a legal and a literary scholar, aims to provide a postcolonial supplement to Agamben-inspired readings of the refugee condition within the disciplines of literature and law. Key to this supplement is the claim that it is through postcolonial theory that Agamben can realize his desire to reach beyond the biopolitical.
While the writings by people of African descent living in English Canada have been published for over two hundred years, and comprise an archive of several thousand texts, the critical category “Black Canadian literature” or “African Canadian literature” has only recently secured widespread public and academic recognition. This chapter identifies two prominent and intermingling “schools” of analysis that have shaped academic discussions of the category and field—an emphasis on diasporic routes, and an emphasis on historic Canadian roots—before advancing the idea that Black Canadian literature has also been shaped powerfully by the long-standing idea that Canada is a land of genuine liberation and equality for peoples of African descent. Black Canadian literature’s heightened critical confrontation of both the dream and delusion of what we might now cautiously term “post-race” makes this emergent field of newfound global importance regarding the ongoing yet contradictory cultural politics of race today.
This article examines the history of modernism in the Caribbean region. It explains that the distinctive features of the early twentieth-century response to encroaching modernity can be represented as the spoils of the colonial adventures of the previous century and earlier. The article discusses US-based Jamaican novelist Michael Thelwell's view on the solipsism and obsolescence of modernism within black writing, and Stephen Slemon's opinion that modernism can be seen as a wholesale appropriation and refiguration of non-Western artistic practices by a society utterly committed to the preservation of its traditional prerogatives for gender, race, and class privilege.
Mary Lou Emery
The concept of the planetary appears frequently in appeals for newer models of modernism, often with different meanings and implications. The planetary registers possibilities of multiple spatial and temporal dimensions beyond the rational ordering of the global. Through alternate temporalities and evoking an ecological imagination, the planetary vision becomes especially compelling in the context of the Caribbean. It is from Caribbean writers that this concept first emerged in literary studies. In their writings, one can find dynamic transitions from global to planetary readings of modernity and modernism. One can see the beginnings of this planetary alterity in the contramodernist Relational disorderings of identity, place, and time in Banjo and Voyage in the Dark. Caribbean writers' versions of the plantation's cry displace the global by transfiguring Caribbean icons of the exchange of commodified human beings into gateways for new webs of historical and geographical relations.