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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article comments on some of the evolving intellectual patterns about the relationship between postcolonial theory and historical studies. It considers misunderstandings and antagonisms surrounding postcolonialism as well as cultural and literary studies and historical writing on empires and colonialisms. It also looks at the current debates over the relevance of imperial pasts to the “colonial present,” especially in southwest Asia, the link between Islamic history and the discourses of imperialism and anti-imperialism, and the usefulness of postcolonialism for understanding the former Russian empire and the post-communist world. It also discusses settler colonialism in comparison to other forms of colonialism, postcolonial studies as part of the “cultural turn” at universities in Europe and North America, the “decolonial turn,” and the relationship between imperialism and Islam. Finally, it cites the Middle East as an important site of discourses of anti-imperialism, cultural nationalism, and identity politics.

Keywords: postcolonial theory, historical studies, postcolonialism, colonial present, imperialism, postcolonial studies, cultural turn, decolonial turn, Islam, Middle East

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