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’s issues per se. From such diverse and relatively modest beginnings, postcolonial studies of the woman-as-nation have since travelled widely in feminist circles, and in productive, cross-border ways. In view of this still-ramifying and, it should be said, still-contested interest, I feel it to be productive in this book to revisit and, variously, to elaborate, modify and consolidate my own thinking (and thus my own original essays) on the woman-nation topic. I also aim to do so within a more comparative, cross-cultural frame than I have attempted before, in order

in Stories of women
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Where postcolonialism is neo-orientalist – the cases of Sarojini Naidu and Arundhati Roy

globalisation has produced a neocolonial dependency of the chaotic, helpless ‘rest’ on the rational/ised, masculine west.30 I do not want to go as far as Dirlik in suggesting a knowing complicity between postcolonial studies and global neocolonialism. I also do not wish to argue that postcolonial studies in some sense consciously does the ideological work of a global free market, in which cultural diversity is restlessly de-contextualised and commodified.31 Yet it does seem to me that postcolonial criticism is related to, and representative of, the continuing dominance of the

in Stories of women
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Postcolonial women writers in a transnational frame

comparative framework can appear to hark back to the at times narrow, contrastive structures of more conventional comparative literary studies, often confined to literatures in European languages, which embrace certain early versions of postcolonial studies.6 In practice these frameworks tended either to over-relativise the different poles of the comparative, or to enforce commonalities on the basis of BOEHMER Makeup 3/22/05 2:55 PM Page 189 John's G5:Users:john:Public:John's Mac: John's Job Postcolonial women writers in a transnational frame 189 joint experiences of

in Stories of women
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Culture, criticism, theory since 1990

and political exchange, it also enabled Irish feminists to focus more fully on global debates, such as those surrounding immigration, development and multiculturalism.59 Another contentious feature of Ireland’s going global has been the vigorous debates regarding the validity and cogency of postcolonial studies for a reading of Irish history and culture. The proponents of 9780719075636_4_002.qxd 16/2/09 9:23 AM Page 31 Culture, criticism, theory 31 ‘travelling theory’, some argued, were exporting fashionable critiques that often had little purchase on the

in Irish literature since 1990
The inflection of desire in Yvonne Vera and Tsitsi Dangarembga

: Blackwell, 2001) makes no reference to historical struggles for homosexual rights, no doubt because this area remains both contentious and context-bound as a site for political identity formation. I should like to acknowledge here discussions with Alison Donnell about erasures and non-sayings around same-sex sexuality in postcolonial studies, and her own forthcoming work in this area with respect to the Caribbean. See, for example, Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony, trans. A. M. Berrett et al. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). Such views were widely

in Stories of women