Empire’s culture in Fredric Jameson, Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak
in Postcolonial contraventions

This chapter discusses Edward Said's work and that of two influential thinkers who share equally complicated relations with materialist theory – Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Fredric Jameson – dealing with their respective analyses of nineteenth-and early twentieth-century British imperialism. It focuses on the strengths and the limitations of their respective theorizations in relation to a materialist postcolonial theoretical practice. To do so, the author uses an approach that combines immanent critique with a comparative technique whereby the three thinkers are set in dialogue with one another. The chapter presents their analyses and also focuses on their conceptualizations of imperial culture and of space. Spivak offers a strategic intervention against contemporary Anglo-European bourgeois feminism that animates her discussion of how Jane Eyre's conceptions of European female individualism are predicated on and perpetuate the subordination of non-European women. Said works towards a humanistic politics and a contrapuntal intellectual culture that, for him, provides progress beyond the contemporary deadlock of imperialism and nationalism.

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Postcolonial contraventions

Cultural readings of race, imperialism and transnationalism

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