Postcolonial women writers in a transnational frame
historical movements of people, are founded upon a critique of ﬁxed origins
and ethnic absolutes: in Avtar Brah’s words, diaspora ‘takes account of a
homing desire, as distinct from a desire for a “homeland”’.8 As Paul Gilroy
inﬂuentially argues in The BlackAtlantic, cunningly shifting postcolonial and
cultural studies preoccupations from ‘roots’ to ‘routes’, modern black identities were developed in motion, through the transmission of peoples and cultural inﬂuences, through encounter and dialogue, rather than by way of a
competition between static entities
of the modernist ideologies of formalism are accompanied by the uncritical desire ‘to
allow art to return to its social context’,7 they all too often collapse into the opposite
reductive tendency, namely, the re-enactment of the political ‘death of art’. Second,
there is the persisting diﬃculty of studying the interconnection between gender, race
and sexuality in the cultural politics of modernity, despite all claims to the contrary.
The juxtaposition of Paul Gilroy’s The BlackAtlantic: Modernity and Double
Consciousness, devoted to a brilliant
to language (Levi 1986 : 69–79). Similarly, Paul Gilroy has shown how, in the context of plantation slavery, no patterns of communication existed that might enable reciprocal exchange between the master and mistress and their human chattels. In The BlackAtlantic he wrote that:
The extreme patterns of communication defined by the institution of plantation slavery dictate that we recognize the anti-discursive and extra-linguistic ramifications of power at work in shaping communicative acts. There may, after all, be no reciprocity on the plantation outside
. Hirst and G. Thompson, Globalisation in Question
(Cambridge: Polity, 1996).
8 J. Dunkerely, Americana (London: Verso, 2000).
9 Compare this usage to that of P. Gilroy, The BlackAtlantic (London: Verso,
10 Dunkerely, Americana, p. xxii.
11 Ibid., p. 37.
12 D. O’Hearn, Inside the Celtic Tiger: The Irish Economy and the Asian
Model (London: Pluto, 1998).
13 T. Caherty, A. Storey, M. Gavin, M. Molloy and C. Ruane (eds), Is Ireland
a Third World Country? (Belfast: Beyond the Pale, 1992).
14 R. McVeigh, ‘The British/Irish “peace process” and the colonial legacy’, in
human subject. As the Caribbean scholar C.L.R. James tellingly argued in his 1938 work, Black Jacobins could make a claim in the name of liberté , égalité and fraternité , but slavery was to remain central to the political economy of post-revolutionary France.
More powerfully still, Paul Gilroy ( 1993 ) in his landmark postcolonial work The BlackAtlantic argues powerfully that Hegel’s master–slave dialectic should be inverted. Euro-American modernity, for Gilroy, should be viewed through lenses of the gendered subjectivities of the slave, deconstructing the
Press , 2004 ); James
Ferguson , Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings
of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt ( Berkeley : University of California Press , 1999 ); Paul
Gilroy , The BlackAtlantic: Modernity and Double
Consciousness ( Cambridge,
MA : Harvard University
Press , 1993 ); Akhil
Mbembe , On the Postcolony ( Berkeley : University of California Press , 2001 ); Gilroy, The BlackAtlantic ; Dube,
Stitches on Time .
Magical State ; James Ferguson, Expectations of
Modernity ; Dube, After Conversion ; Dube and
De-scribing Imperial identity from alien to migrant
cross or collapse these categories.
In his analysis of a blackAtlantic culture, Paul Gilroy proposes
diaspora as an alternative way of understanding modernity and cultural
22/3/02, 9:48 am
identities (the term ‘diaspora’ was taken up by historians of Africa and
slavery in the 1950s, although Gilroy says that its genealogy as a concept
in black cultural history is obscure). He maintains that diasporic
identities work at ‘other levels than those marked by national boundaries’
(1993: 218). Similarly, Stuart
neighborhood. Human Organization, 71(3), 292–305.
Hastrup, K. 1995. A Passage to Anthropology: Between Experience and Theory. London and New
Holsey, B. 2013. BlackAtlantic Vvsions: History, race, and transnationalism in Ghana.
Cultural Anthropology, 28, 504–518.
Hsu, W. F. 2014. Digital ethnography toward augmented empiricism: A new methodological framework. Journal of Digital Humanities, 3(1), 1–5.
Keane, F. 1998. Another picture of starving Africa: It could have been taken in 1984, or
1998. Guardian, June 8.
Koné, L. 2009. Pollution in Africa: A new toxic
, the Law and the End of Slavery (New Haven, CT,
14 E. Rugemer, ‘Slave Rebels and Abolitionists: The BlackAtlantic and the Coming of
the Civil War’, Journal of the Civil War Era, 2:2 (2012); S. Drescher, ‘Emperor of the
World: British Abolitionism and Imperialism’, in D. R. Peterson (ed.), Abolitionism and
Imperialism in Britain, Africa and the Atlantic (Athens, OH, 2010); C. Hall, Civilising
Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830–1867 (London, 2002);
P. Mandler, ‘“Race” and “Nation” in Mid-Victorian Thought’, in S. Collini et al