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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter traces key moments in the development of postcolonialism, principally through an engagement with the work of Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Among its principal contributions are its accounts of orientalism as a strategy of Western power/knowledge in relation to the rest of the world and of hybridity as its consequence, besides a considerable investment in the fraught project of taking the subaltern seriously. The chapter outlines Marxist objections to postcolonialism, namely that its poststructuralist-influenced critique of essentialism both fails to offer a historically compelling account of anticolonial resistance and undermines possibilities for resistance to contemporary capitalism. The third section of the chapter suggests that debates between Marxism and poststructuralism are anticipated in the archives of anti-colonial liberation, in which nativist essentialism, universal humanism, and deconstruction are all visible as strategies of resistance to power. Postcolonialism today is a divided house, bearing the inheritance of anti-colonial thought in its dissonant entirety.

Keywords: orientalism, hybridity, subaltern, capitalism, nativism, essentialism, humanism, deconstruction, Marxism, poststructuralism

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