CFP – Critical Juncture Conference: Translating Across Boundaries

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Hello Postcolonial Studies Scholars! I hope this message finds you well-rested and in good spirits! My name is Michael Vaughn – I am a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department, and one of the organizers for Emory’s Critical Juncture conference, happening on campus April 5-6, 2019. Critical Juncture is an interdisciplinary, graduate student-run conference now […]

Colonialism and neo colonialism

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Book: Colonialism and neo-colonialism Author: Jean Paul Sartre Paul Jean Satre, Colonialism and Neocolonialism, Routledge, 2001, 175 pages. $17 and $103 Bio: My name is Shahzada Rahim and I am a postgraduate student of Politics and International studies with keen interest of writing on History, current affairs, geopolitics and international political economy. Moreover, I am […]

Colonialism and neo colonialism

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Book: Colonialism and neo-colonialism Author: Jean Paul Sartre Paul Jean Satre, Colonialism and Neocolonialism, Routledge, 2001, 175 pages. $17 and $103 Bio: My name is Shahzada Rahim and I am a postgraduate student of Politics and International studies with keen interest of writing on History, current affairs, geopolitics and international political economy. Moreover, I am […]

Partition: Oral Histories

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(Source: Wikimedia Commons) He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect, But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot, And a bout […]

Negotiating Waters: Seas, Oceans and Passageways in the Colonial and Postcolonial Anglophone World

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ILCEA 4 – University of Grenoble Alpes & Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) February 15th and 16th, 2018 In close collaboration with Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), the University of Grenoble Alpes is organizing an international conference on February 15-16, 2018 on seas and oceans in the Colonial and Postcolonial World. This conference seeks to […]

Recoding World Literature: Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany’s Pact with Books.

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Mahapatra 1 Aruni Mahapatra Review: Mani, B. Venkat. Recoding World Literature: Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany’s Pact with Books. Fordham University Press, 2017. 
 The story of ‘world literature’ is a German story. Since the early decades of the nineteenth century, German men have found a range of reasons to argue whether reading literature from […]

The Debate on Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital

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Forthcoming in Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World (SCTIW) Review, Fall 2017. Rosie Warren, The Debate on Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital, Verso Books, 2016, 304 pp., $20.96 (ppk), ISBN 9781784786953 The book jacket of Rosie Warren’s edited volume advertises the book her work focuses on, Vivek Chibber’s Postcolonial Theory and […]

How Did We Get Into This Mess? Politics, Equality, Nature.

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Monbiot, George. How Did We Get Into This Mess? Politics, Equality, Nature. London: Verso, 2017. 342 pages. $9.99 ebook, $16.95 paperback, $19.96 hardback. Molly Slavin Graduate Student Emory University mslavin@emory.edu There is a small, but growing, field invested in interrogating the convergences between postcolonial theory and critiques of neoliberalism. In their 2000 work Empire, Michael […]

Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis

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McLeod, John. Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis. New York: Routledge, 2004. 194 pages. $45.95 paperback, $120.00 hardback Molly Slavin Graduate Student Emory University mslavin@emory.edu Postcolonial studies has always borne a close relationship to urban studies. Frantz Fanon’s 1961 analysis of the geography of the colonial city in The Wretched of the Earth marks a watershed […]

What is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewrite and Invention of the Canon

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Mukherjee, Ankhi. What is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewrite and Invention of the Canon. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014. 296 pages. $65 cloth and $65 e-book. Caroline Schwenz Graduate Student Emory University cschwen@emory.edu The question of the canon and the classic has plagued postcolonial studies for as long as scholars like Gauri Viswanathan have interrogated the […]

Call for articles for a special issue of Open Library of Humanities: Postcolonial Perspectives in Game Studies

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Since the first key publications in the nineties on videogames research in Humanities and Social Sciences contexts, the field of Game Studies has become an established platform for discussion and debate on how games contribute to our cultural, social and aesthetic experiences. Game Studies has, consequently, also taken up debates on diversity and inclusion, time […]

Religion and Racism – Intercultural Perspectives

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CALL FOR PAPERS for the topical issue of Open Theology journal RELIGION AND RACISM – INTERCULTURAL PERSPECTIVES (second call) Open Theology (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/opth) invites submissions for the topical issue ‘Religion and Racism – Intercultural Perspectives,’ under the general editorship of Dr. Daniel White Hodge (North Park University). The area of religion and racism presents a dearth […]

Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Graduate Courses

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Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies   WGS 586: Special Topics Course Description: Topics Vary Topics Include:Logics of Violence and Vulnerability, Dark Continent: Blackness and the Feminine, Black Feminist Genealogies, Politics of Race and Gender Frequently Taught By: Falguni Sheth, Rizvana Bradley, Beth Reingold   WGS 587: Globalization: Feminist Inroads in Epistemology, Theory and Method Course Description:For many social critics […]

Spanish Graduate Courses

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Spanish 530: Al- Andalus Course Desciption: This course traces correspondences of architecture and literature, and the role that such correspondence played in the development of what has come to be known as Al-Andalus in the canonic context of Medieval Iberia and Renaissance Spain (1200-1600).  Class discussions will be based on comparative representations of space, time, characterization, […]

Graduate Division of Religion Courses

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Graduate Division of Religion   RLE 701: Questions of War Course Descriptions: Traditionally, ethicists refer to the debate over the moral justification of war as “the question of war.” This course includes writings by Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and Michael Walzer to discuss the moral justification. Increasingly, however, […]

Political Science Graduate Courses

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Political Science   POLS 585: Special Topics Course Description: Topics Vary Topics Include Political Economy of Development, Politics of Race and Gender, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights, Security, The Worlds of Welfare Capitalism Frequently Taught By: Richard Doner, Beth Reingold, David Davis, Edward Queen, Dabney Evans, Shawn Ramirez, Thomas Remington  

Philosophy Graduate Courses

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Philosophy   PHIL 551: Cosmopolitamism Course Description: This seminar studies the meaning, intellectual strengths and weaknesses, and practical viability of cosmopolitanism.  The course has a double focus:  the first is normative:  cosmopolitanism as an ethics and political philosophy; the second is ontological:  cosmopolitanism as a theory of human nature and a theory of nature and […]

History Graduate Courses

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History   HIST 564: Africa & Era of Slave Trade Course Description: This course focuses on the history of selected African societies from the sixteenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries. It will begin with an examination of the Atlantic slave trade and its impact on Africa and return intermittently to these subjects. The primary goal, however, […]

French Graduate Courses

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French   Fren 785: Special Topics Course Description: Topics Vary Topics Include: Edouard Glissant, States of Migration. Cannibalism in Caribbean Liteature, Oho! Congo!: Literature and War in the Two Congos, Caribbean Southern Frequently Taught By: Valerie Loichot, Subha Xavier

English Graduate Courses

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English   ENG 732: Studies in Victorian Literature Course Description: This course offers students the chance to study five rich, complex Victorian literary works from diverse critical perspectives. The novels to be read and analyzed are Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, and Thomas Hardy’s Jude the […]

Comparative Literature Graduate Courses

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Comparative Literature   CPLT 751: “Special Topics Course Description: Topics Vary Topics Include: Hannah Arendt and the Literature of Politics; Nations & Identities: Africa, Americas & Europe; Postcolonial and Global Studies in the 21st Century; Cannibalism in Caribbean Literature; Black Cultural Theory; Literature and War: The Two Congos Frequently Taught By: Munia Bhaumik, Jeffery Lesser […]

Art History Graduate Courses

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Art History   Arthist 592: Shamanism and Art in the Americas Course Description: The underlying religious complex of ancient and modern indigenous American cultures can be understood under the umbrella term of shamanism, or the direct visionary contact with the spiritual world by trained intermediaries in order to promote balance, fertility, and health. Art is […]

Anthropology Graduate Courses

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Anthropology   Anthro 501: History of Anthropological Thought Course Description: This course traces some of the main trends in the history of theory in socio-cultural anthropology since the field’s origins in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  It begins with a consideration of the Victorian-era thinkers such as Tylor, Morgan, Spencer, and Frazer, and […]

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Undergrad Courses

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Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies WGS 328: Women, Religion & Ethnography Course Description: Cross-cultural ethnographic study of women’s religious lives, including ritual and leadership roles, forms and contexts of religious expression, and negotiations between dominant cultural representations and women’s self-representations. Frequently Taught By: Jennifer Ortegren   WGS 342: Globalization and Transnational Culture Course Description: “Globalization” […]

Spanish Undergrad Courses

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Spanish SPAN 190: Freshman Seminar Course Description: Freshmen only. In-depth treatment of a topic in language, literature, or culture of the Luso-Hispanic world through readings, frequent writing assignments, and class discussions. Topics Include: Zombies in Havana! Tracing the Route of a Film Genre in the Global Americas Frequently Taught By: Dierdre Reber   SPAN 318: […]

Sociology Undergrad Courses

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Sociology SOC 247: Race and Ethnic Relations Course Description: Relations between and within groups, and conflict and cooperation in light of a number of models of social interaction. Application of principles to racial, religious, and ethnic minorities. Frequently Taught By: Maria Martinez-Cola   SOC 266: Global Change Course Description: Introduction to the study of globalization. […]

Portuguese Undergrad Courses

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Portuguese PORT 412: Topics in Lusophone Culture Course Description: This one-credit course is being taught in conjunction with HIST 585: Nations and Identities: Africa, Americas, and Europe, but may be taken independently. Both courses explore the relationships between the countries of Lusophone Africa, Portugal, and Brazil from World War II to the present through film, […]

Political Science Undergrad Courses

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Political Science POL 190: Freshman Seminar Course Description: For first-year students only. Entry-level seminar focusing on a specific topic. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Topics Include: India Challenges Opportunities Frequently Taught By: Holli Semetko   POL 371: Guerilla Political Videography Course Description: This is a practical hands-on course on how to express […]

Music Undergrad Courses

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Music MUS 204: Music Cultures of the World Course Description: This course introduces students to the diverse musical styles of the world. The focus is to examine different musical genres and understand the specific social contexts in which they emerge. Frequently Taught By: Benjamin Krakauer

Latin American and Caribbean Studies Undergrad Courses

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Latin American and Caribbean Studies Courses LACS 263: Plantation to Postcolonial, A Comparative Study of Plantation America Course Description: “Plantation America”, stretching from the American South, through the Caribbean to northern Brazil, comprises a geographical area that, as its name suggests, was dominated by the economic system of plantation monoculture. This course will attempt two […]

Jewish Studies Undergrad Courses

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Jewish Studies JS 271: Topics in Jewish Studies Course Description: Special Topics in Jewish History: Variety of subjects emphasizing Jewish History. Content will vary. May be repeated when the topic changes. Topics Include: Migration and Minorities in Germany, from Pots to Palaces Frequently Taught By: Cornelia Wilhelm, Hilary Gopnik   JS 370: Topics in Jewish […]

History Undergrad Courses

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History HIST 190: Freshman Seminar Course Description: Introduces first-year students to the discipline of history, particularly historical sources and methods; aims to improve critical reading, analytical, and writing skills in small group discussion. Topics Include: Transnational Black Experience on Film; Charts, Maps & Graphs; Hindu Nationalism in India Frequently Taught By: Leroy Davis Jr, Elena […]

German Undergrad Courses

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German GER 408: Transnational Studies, Turks, Germans and Jews Course Description: Aims to continue students’ development toward advanced language proficiency by thematically exploring minority culture, including Jewish, Turkish, Afro-German, or exile literature. Topic to be announced in advance. May be repeated for credit when topic varies Frequently Taught By: Nicholas Block

French Undergrad Courses

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French FREN 190: Freshman Seminar Course Description: This freshman seminar will focus on themes in French culture from social history, the arts, and current information media. Cross-cultural comparisons provide a rich basis for discussion. Topics Include: Race in 20th and 21st Century Paris Frequently Taught By: Subhagnana Xavier   FREN 313: French and Francophone Culture […]

Film Undergrad Courses

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Film FILM 373: Special Topics in Film Course Description: Individual topics on film study focusing on a specific period (e.g., primitive era, transition to sound, post-World War II) or national movement (e.g., Italian neorealism, the nouvelle vague, das neue Kino, Latin American militant cinema). Weekly screenings required. Topics Include: Picturing Tibet Frequently Taught By: Nancy […]

English Undergrad Courses

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English ENG 101: Expository Writing Course Description: Every semester. Intensive writing course that trains students in expository writing through a number of variable topics. Satisfies first-year English writing requirement. Topics Include: topics for discussion vary, can include postcolonial content Frequently Taught By: graduate students   ENG 181: Writing About Literature Course Description: Every semester. Intensive […]

Economics Undergrad Courses

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Economics ECON 231: Introduction to Global Trade and Finance Course Description: An introduction to international trade, capital flows, and finance. Topics include the impact of public policy decisions concerning protectionism, balance of payments, and foreign exchange markets on economic activities. Frequently Taught By: Edouard Wemy, Ruth Uwaifo   ECON 309: Contemporary Economic Issue Course Description: […]

East Asian Studies Undergrad Courses

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East Asian Studies EAS 380: Social Movement, East &West Course Description: This course examines social movements in the East and West from a comparative perspective. The goal is to better understand the varying cultural, historical and institutional contexts and dynamics through which social movements emerge, evolve and leave traces. Frequently Taught By: Sun-Chul Kim   […]

Dance Undergrad Courses

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Dance DANC 127: World Dance Forms Course Description: Students will study a world dance form, learning the basic techniques, movement vocabulary, and a dance or dances indicative of the form. The material will be further explored through historical, cultural and political perspectives. This course culminates in a performance or lecture demonstration. Required course for dance […]

Comparative Literature Undergrad Courses

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Comparative Literature CPLT 110: Introduction to Literary Studies Course Description: An introduction to literary studies, combined with an intensive writing approach. From the broad perspective of world literature, consideration of topics such as desire, language, and identity. Fulfills the first-year writing requirement. Topics Include: Language and Caribbean Literature Frequently Taught By: Graduate Students   CPLT […]

Chinese Undergrad Courses

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Chinese Language CHN190: Noodle Narratives of the Silk Road Course Description: The noodle has a rich tradition and it has traveled longer and further than Marco Polo himself. However, contrary to popular myth, Marco Polo was not the person who first brought the noodle from China to Italy. There is an array of conflicting theories […]

Art History Undergrad Courses

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Art History ARTHIST 226: South and Central American Art Course Description: Introduction to the art and architecture of ancient Central and South America (Northern and Central Andes) with emphasis on Costa Rica and Peru. Art of various media in the Carlos Museum collection will be featured. Frequently Taught By: Rebecca Bailey   ARTHIST 365: Postcolonial […]

Anthropology Undergrad Courses

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Anthropology ANT 205: Foundations in Global Health Course Description: An introduction to the overall field of global health, its history, methods, and key principles, with case studies illustrating the burden of disease in nations with strikingly different political-economic contexts. Frequently Taught By: Peter J Brown, Andrea Rissing, Tenzin Namdul, Michelle Parsons   ANT 207: Foundation […]

American Studies Undergrad Courses

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American Studies AMST 190: Freshman Seminar Course Description: Fall, spring. Variable topics related to the U.S. and the Americas that combine interdisciplinary perspectives and methods from the humanities and social sciences. Topics Include: News Coverage of Ethnic Minorities Frequently Taught By: Nathan McCall   AMST 285: Special Topics Course Description: Seminars arranged around current issues […]

African Studies Undergrad Courses

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African Studies AFS 221: The Making of Modern Africa Course Description: Traces the gradual incorporation of Africa into an expanding world economy and examines the impact of this incorporation on the development of African societies and modern nation states. Frequently Taught By: Kristin Mann   AFS 263: Intro to African Studies Course Description: Introduction to […]

African American Studies Undergrad Courses

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African American Studies AAS 190: Freshman Seminar, African American Studies Course Description: Variable Topics Topics Include: Transnational Black Experience on Film, News Coverage of Ethnic Minorities Frequently Taught By: Leroy Davis Jr, Nathan McCall   AAS 247: Racial and Ethnic Relations Course Description: Relations between and within groups, and conflict and cooperation in light of […]

Chatterjee, Partha

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Biography  Partha Chatterjee was born in Calcutta in 1947. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Calcutta, he pursued a PhD at the University of Rochester in New York, which he completed in 1972. His work has been largely interdisciplinary, affecting critical approaches across the humanities, particularly history, through his […]

Glissant, Edouard

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Edouard Glissant was born in Saint-Marie, Martinique in 1928 to a family of five children. His father was working as an agricultural manager, or ‘géreur d’Habitation’[1], and directly exposed the young Edward to the colonial reality. During childhood, he moved to Lamentin, the second most populated city in Martinique, where Glissant discovered primary school and the […]

Postcolonial Studies @ Emory–Call for Book Reviews

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Postcolonial Studies @Emory Solicits Book Reviews Postcolonial Studies @Emory: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/postcolonialstudies/ Faculty Developer: Deepika Bahri, Deepika.bahri@emory.edu Book Review Editor: Mike Lehman, m.d.lehman@emory.edu Postcolonial Studies @ Emory is a long standing website that aims to create a more inclusive digital community for postcolonial studies scholars across the globe. Our website accepts book review submissions as well as […]

Sample Book Review for Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis

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McLeod, John. Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis. New York: Routledge, 2004. 194 pages. $45.95 paperback, $120.00 hardback Molly Slavin Graduate Student Emory University mslavin@emory.edu Postcolonial studies has always borne a close relationship to urban studies. Frantz Fanon’s 1961 analysis of the geography of the colonial city in The Wretched of the Earth marks a watershed […]

Sample Book Review–What is a Classic?

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Mukherjee, Ankhi. What is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewrite and Invention of the Canon. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014. 296 pages. $65 cloth and $65 e-book. Caroline Schwenz Graduate Student Emory University cschwen@emory.edu The question of the canon and the classic has plagued postcolonial studies for as long as scholars like Gauri Viswanathan have interrogated the […]

Mies, Maria

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Biography Maria Mies is a Marxist feminist scholar who is renowned for her theory of capitalist-patriarchy, which recognizes third world women and difference. She is a Professor of Sociology at Fachhochschule in Cologne, Germany, but retired from teaching in 1993. Since the late 1960s she has been involved with feminist activism. In 1979, at the […]

Wendt, Albert

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Biography Albert Wendt is an acclaimed novelist, poet and short-story writer who was born in Western Samoa in 1939. At age 13, he was sent from Western Samoa to the New Plymouth Boys’ High School in New Zealand on a government scholarship. Wendt stayed in New Zealand to eventually earn an MA in history from […]

Walcott, Derek

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I who am poisoned with the blood of both Where shall I turn, divided to the vein? I who have cursed The drunken officer of British rule, how choose Between this Africa and the British tongue I love? “A Far Cry from Africa” Introduction When the Swedish Academy awarded poet and playwright Derek Walcott the Nobel […]

Verghese, Abraham

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Biography Verghese was born in 1955 to well-educated, South Indian Christian parents who migrated to Ethiopia (See Christianity in India, Transnationalism and Globalism). After starting his medical education, Verghese was forced to leave Ethiopia in 1973 due to the unstable political situation. Upon arriving in America, he began work as an orderly. Eventually, he returned […]

Vassanji, M. G.

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Biography Moyez G. Vassanji was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1950 and raised in Tanzania. His family was part of a community of Indians who had emigrated to Africa. When he was 19, Vassanji left the University of Nairobi on a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied nuclear physics in which he later […]

Zimbabwe’s Struggle for Liberation

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“To outsiders, perhaps, Zimbabwe is just a name signifying some random geographical boundaries… But for me it is different. Rhodesia was a forbidden country for me, a white man’s play land…I was always outside looking in…And I did not know until years of bloodshed and turmoil later just how sweet life could be here…I had […]

Yoruba Women and Gelede

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The Yoruba The Yoruba are one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, concentrated in the south of the country.  Archeological evidence suggests that the Yoruba have lived in the general area since prehistoric times. The Yoruba kingdom was of considerable power and importance and it was broken up through a series of wars […]

Yeats, W.B. and Postcolonialism

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Which Yeats? There are many versions of William Butler Yeats (b 1865  d 1939),  Ireland’s most famous poet, dramatist, critic, and Senator. Variously claimed by nationalists, occultists, fascists, modernists, Romantics, and postcolonialists, Yeats’s life and work are open to many interpretations. As a writer who devoted himself to building Irish culture and literature, Yeats’s position as […]

Women, Islam, and Hijab

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Background The practice of hijab among Muslim women is one based on religious doctrine, although the Quran does not mandate it. Instead, it comes from the Hadith of Sahih Bukhari. The Hadith, the “tradition of Mohammed,” reveals the teachings of the Prophet to believers. Bukhari’s version of this text is generally regarded as the standard […]

Victorian Women Travelers in the 19th Century

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Why Women Began To Travel Women began to travel in the nineteenth century for many personal and political reasons. Some women sought to further a cause, like missionary work, while others traveled to satisfy personal curiosities of “exotic” lands. Most women, however, traveled to escape gender oppression in Europe (Stevenson 2). One form of gender […]

Transnationalism and Globalism

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Defining the Term In sweeping strokes, we can understand “globalism” as closely related to the term “postcolonialism” itself. The two terms share the idea of cosmopolitan centers in changing relations with rural areas and the emerging metropolises of the Third World. For the purposes at least of this page, however, we will use “globalism” to […]

Third World and Third World Women

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What geographical regions constitute the Third World? Who are Third World women? Who defines and writes about the terms “Third World” and “Third World Women”? The answers to the above questions are important to both postcolonial studies and feminist studies. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak explains that the term “Third World” was initially coined in 1955 by those […]

Spice Trade in India

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Introduction Buying black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and other spices  is so inexpensive now that it seems hard to believe that once,  they were valued as highly as gold and silver. Archaeologists estimate that from as far back as 50,000 B.C. humans had used the special qualities of aromatic plants to help flavor their food. The […]

Sepoy Mutiny of 1857

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The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked. Did they not, in India, to borrow an expression of that great robber, Lord Clive himself, resort to atrocious extortion, when simple corruption could not […]

Representation

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Defining Representation Representation is a critical concept not only in postcolonial studies and academia, but in the larger cultural milieu. The term itself can be defined in many different ways. Often, we think of representation primarily as “presence” or “appearance” where there is an implied visual component. Representations can be clear images, material reproductions, performances […]

Postcolonial Performance and Installation Art

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This article discusses contemporary performance and installation artists who address the objectification of the non-white bodies in Western culture: Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Joyce Scott and Kay Lawal, James Luna, Renée Green, Lyle Ashton Harris and Renée Cox, and Grace Jones. Significantly, many of these performance artists use their own bodies as a medium to interrogate the history of “human […]

Postcolonial Novel

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The novel has been the aesthetic object of choice for a majority of postcolonial scholars. While postcolonial writers have by no means failed to produce poetry nor have critics in the field entirely neglected verse, it is the novel and studies of the novel that have had the greatest influence in the field. To some […]

Partition of India

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“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.” – Jawarharal Nehru, “Tryst With Destiny” speech celebrating Indian independence Whether the partition of these countries was wise and whether it […]

Orientalism

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Edward Said’s evaluation and critique of the set of beliefs known as Orientalism forms an important background for postcolonial studies. His work highlights the inaccuracies of a wide variety of assumptions as it questions various paradigms of thought which are accepted on individual, academic, and political levels. The Terms The Orient signifies a system of representations framed by […]

Nuclear Proliferation in the Third World

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Introduction Monday, May 10, 1998 marked a day that will not soon be forgotten. It was the day India began nuclear testing, much to the horrified shock of the U.S. and Western European superpowers. According to Arundhati Roy, a widely and extensively lauded and criticized Indian author, it is a day that will live in […]

Nobel Prize in Literature

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Alfred Nobel Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1833. In 1842, the Nobel family moved to Russia, where Alfred and his brothers received an education in the humanities and the natural sciences from private tutors. Nobel is accredited with the invention of dynamite in 1866. Dynamite and the blasting cap are two of […]

Nationalism

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The methods of partitioning land have undergone tremendous change since the thirteenth century. During medieval and renaissance times, royal dynasties and religious organizations formed the foundations of political and geographical divisions. As the modern era approached, people began to question the Divine Right of Kings and the dynastic apportioning of their land.  The following are […]

Myths of the Native

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The Colonizer In his essay “Literature and Society,” Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o explores the mechanisms of imperialism. To ensure economic and political control the colonizing power tries to control the cultural environment: education, religion, language, literature, songs and other forms of artistic and cultural expression, hoping in this way to control a people’s self-image and world outlook. One repressive strategy used by […]

Goshthi, Mushaira

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  This page was developed to mark the establishment of a multilingual, multi-religious poetry club for the community in Atlanta, and for faculty and students  at Emory University. The club is no longer active, but this page has been retained to furnish introductory information about the traditions of Mushairas and Goshthis in the Indian subcontinent. […]

Museums and Colonial Exhibitions

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The tradition of exhibiting people of color in Western societies has existed since the earliest encounters between Europeans and indigenous populations in the New World and in Africa. Indeed, on his return to Spain after his first voyage to the New World in 1492, Columbus brought several Arawaks to Queen Isabella’s court, where one of them […]

Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity

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Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel, Robinson Crusoe, is a rich text for understanding the mechanisms of European colonialism and the relation between the colonizer and the colonized (represented by Crusoe and Friday). Defoe represents Crusoe as being the ultimate incarnation of an Englishman: industrious, self-determining, and ready to colonize natives. (See Anglophilia) Crusoe encounters a native and […]

Metafiction

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Introduction Although implicit in many other types of fictional works, self-reflexivity often becomes the dominant subject of postmodern fiction. In 1970, William H. Gass wrote an essay in which he dubbed the novel’s self-reflexive tendency “metafiction” (Waugh 2). Critics of postmodern metafiction claim that it marks the death or exhaustion of the novel as a […]

Marx and the Idea of Commodity

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Introduction Before we begin our adventure through Karl Marx and his complex idea of commodity, the purpose and intent of this web page should be noted. This particular page is aimed at providing a framework through which one may begin to critically engage in Marx’s notion of the commodity. Furthermore, this page should not be […]

Maps in Colonialism

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Introduction Maps as we know them today are the result of millennia of study and observation. Unlike modern maps, which focus on the exact lay of the land, the creations of ancient European mapmakers emphasized roads, cities, rivers, and safe harbors, since other details were not as important to travelers and traders at the time […]

Magical Realism

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Magical Realism A literary mode rather than a distinguishable genre, magical realism is characterized by two conflicting perspectives, one based on a so-called rational view of reality and the other on the acceptance of the supernatural as prosaic reality. Magical realism differs from pure fantasy primarily because it is set in a normal, modern world […]

List of Writers and Filmmakers from the Indian Subcontinent

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Meena Alexander (Nampally Road, Fault Lines, River and Bridge, The Shock of Arrival, Manhattan Music) Anjana Appachana (Incantations and Other Stories, Listening Now) Shauna Singh Bauldwin (English Lessons and Other Stories) Sujata Bhatt (Brunizem, Monkey Shadows, The Stinking Rose) Vikram Chandra (Red Earth and Pouring Rain, Love and Longing in Bombay) Upamanyu Chatterjee (English August, The Last Burden) Amit Chaudhuri (A Strange and Sublime Address, Afternoon Raag, Freedom […]

Languages of South Asia

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A wealth of languages make their home on the Indian Subcontinent. Estimates for the number of languages spoken range from over three hundred to well over a thousand, though the bulk of these are dialects of one language or another. Even with the most conservative estimates, these languages differ greatly in their technical aspects, but a Russian […]

Language

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“… make language stammer, or make it ‘wail,’ stretch tensors through all of language, even written language, and draw from it cries, shouts, pitches, durations, timbres, accents, intensities.” – G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus Language is often a central question in postcolonial studies. During colonization, colonizers usually imposed or encouraged the dominance of their […]

Kerala and The God of Small Things

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A full understanding of and appreciation for Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things requires that the reader be well acquainted with the land and culture through which Roy weaves her tale. Roy achieves the rich descriptive texture and vivid imagery of her novel by writing about something with which she is intimately familiar. […]

Kathakali

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Introduction Kathakali, literally translated as “story-play,” is a classical Indian dance rooted in Hindu mythology. This dance, which is briefly mentioned in Arundhati Roy’s novel, The God of Small Things, is indigenous to Kerala, a small state in southwest India. Thematically, the dance focuses on the “treasure-trove of the ancient Puranas chronicling the lives, loves, and conflicts of […]

Jews in India

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A unique and multicultural group of people, the Jews of India add exciting flavor to India’s already diverse population. Centered in three main communities in Bombay, Calcutta, and along the Malabar Coast, these unusual sects of Jews have combined many of their ancient Israelite customs with traditional Indian lifestyle, and have created a rich culture […]

Hybridity and Postcolonial Music

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Ethnomusicology Bruno Nettl, a music and anthropology professor at the University of Illinois, lists some of the various definitions for “ethnomusicology.” Meanings, in terms of the material that is studied, range from “folk and what used to be called “primitive,” i.e. tribal or possibly ancient music,to “all human music” (The Study of Ethnomusicology, 2-3). Definitions […]

Homophobia and Postcolonialism

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Let the Americans keep their sodomy, bestiality, stupid and foolish ways to themselves, out of Zimbabwe.  – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Frantz Fanon, one of the earliest and most influential postcolonial theorists, saw homosexuality as a sign of psychological distress, exclusive to Western peoples (that is people of western/Caucasian racial stock) and directly related to […]

Hegemony in Gramsci

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Hegemony “Hegemony” was most likely derived from the Greek egemonia, whose root is egemon, meaning “leader, ruler, often in the sense of a state other than his own” (Williams, Keywords 144). Since the 19th century, “hegemony” commonly has been used to indicate “political predominance, usually of one state over another” (Williams, Keywords 144). According to Perry Anderson’s “The Antinomies of Antonio […]

Geography and Empire

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Introduction and Definition of Terms The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language defines geography as “the description of the earth’s surface.” Its Greek root words, geo– and graphein, literally mean “earth writing.”  Maps are defined as “a representation, usually on a flat surface of the whole or a part of an area.”  The English word “map” is […]

Gender and Nation

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The “Public” and “Private” Realms of Political Personhood Colonial powers brought with them daunting philosophical, theological, naval and mercantile traditions they used to justify occupation and control. Separating public from private, particular from universal, human from divine, family from state, and male from female realms of experience and action forms a crucial aspect of these […]

Gandhi’s Salt March to Dandi

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The Salt Tax After proclaiming the Declaration of Independence of India on January 26, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi came to an impasse in his political career focused on freeing India from British rule. A new anti-government campaign was imperative for achieving the secularization of India; it remained unclear, however, to Gandhi what form was most appropriate […]

Filipino American Literature

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“The identity of a Filipino today is of a person asking what is his identity.” – Nick Joaquin “This is then what one finds in Filipino fiction: a self that shares in all of the contradictoriness of the national self.” – Ninotchka Rosca The Postcolonial Meets the “Ethnic” United States The study of Filipino American literature offers […]

Field Day Theatre Company

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Introduction The Field Day Theatre Company began as an artistic collaboration between playwright Brian Friel and actor Stephen Rea. In 1980, the duo set out to launch a production of Friel’s recently completed play, Translations. They decided to rehearse and premiere the play in Derry, Northern Ireland, with the hope of establishing a major theatre company for Northern Ireland. The […]

Female Genital Cutting

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The knife cut down the guardian of the village today. Now he is dead and gone. Before the village was dirty, But now without the guardian it is clean. So look at us, we are only women and the men have come to beat the tam-tam. They have phalli like the elephants. They have come […]

Essentialism

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  One of the central modes of representation is essentialism. Diana Fuss says that essentialism is most commonly understood as a belief in the real, true essence of things, the invariable and fixed properties which define the ‘whatness’ of a given entity … Importantly, essentialism is typically defined in opposition to difference … The opposition […]

Divorce in India

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The Law All major religions have their own laws which govern divorces within their own community, and many have separate regulations regarding divorce in interfaith marriages in India. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in India are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; Christians by the Indian Divorce Act, 1869; Parsis by the Parsi Marriage […]

Cricket in the West Indies

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Introduction The game of cricket has had a long and complicated history in the West Indies. Originally imported to the West Indies as an agent of control and reaffirmation, the game steadily evolved into a cultural institution radically opposed to the original intentions of those who conspired for its import. The exact role cricket has […]

Communism in India

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Literature and the Communist Movement in India Having a general understanding of the communist movement in India is incredibly important in fully comprehending and appreciating several postcolonial novels, such as Arundhati Roy‘s The God of Small Things and Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh. Along with the politics, it is also important to recognize how nationalism, the caste system, and violence […]

Colonialism and Architecture

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The colonial presence is always ambivalent, split between its appearance as original and authoritative and its articulation as repetition and difference. It is a disjunction produced within the act of enunciation as a specifically colonial articulation of those two disproportionate sites of colonial discourse and power: the colonial scene as the invention of historicity, mastery, […]

Colonial Education

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What is Colonial Education? The process of colonization involves one nation or territory taking control of another nation or territory either through the use of force or by acquisition. As a byproduct of colonization, the colonizing nation implements its own form of schooling within their colonies. Two scholars on colonial education, Gail P. Kelly and […]

Christianity in India

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Introduction Christians constitute the second largest religious minority in India next to Islam. The 21 million Christians in India account for 2 percent of the total population. With 16.5 million adherents to the faith, Roman Catholics form the largest single Christian group in India. There are approximately 4.5 adherents to the Protestant faith (Europa 1740). The […]

Chicana Feminism

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Chicana Defined “Chicana” refers to women of Mexican descent who are born and/or raised in the United States. Although the term is widely used by Chicana activists and scholars today, many Chicana women debate the term’s origin and early connotations. Some believe that the term originated with the indigenous Mexica (Meh-sheik-a) tribes of Mesoamerica while […]

Caste System in India

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Background The caste system in India is an important part of ancient Hindu tradition and dates back to 1200 BCE. The term caste was first used by Portuguese travelers who came to India in the 16th century (see Spice Trade in India). Caste comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word “casta” which means “race”, “breed”, […]

Booker Prize

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Introduction One of the most prestigious prizes in the literary field launched in 1969 as the Booker-McConnell Prize. Today, it is known as the Man Booker, most often referred to as simply the “Booker,” and is administered by the National Book League of the United Kingdom. The Man Booker Prize itself is awarded to the […]

Bollywood and Women

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Brief History of Indian Cinema India was first exposed to motion pictures when the Lumiere Brothers’ Chinematographe showed six soundless short films on July 7, 1896, in Bombay. By 1899, Harishchandra Bhatvadekar shot two short films, which were exhibited with Edison’s projecting kinetoscope. Throughout the first two decades, the trend continued with filmmakers such as […]

Arranged Marriages, Matchmakers, and Dowries in India

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Arranged Marriages in India Arranged marriages have been part of the Indian culture since the fourth century. Many consider the practice a central fabric of Indian society, reinforcing the social, economic, geographic, and the historic significance of India (Stein). Prakasa states that arranged marriages serve six functions in the Indian community: (1) helps maintain the social […]

Apartheid Literature

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A Brief Introduction to the Apartheid In 1910, after years of conflict and warfare, the Afrikaner community (the descendants of Dutch traders, livestock farmers and religious refugees from west Europe) and the British established a nation-state called the Union of South Africa.  The National Party was formed by the Afrikaners, while the British constituted the […]

Apartheid

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Historical Background South Africa is a land of abundant natural resources, mild climate, and fertile lands. Resources range from diamond and gold to platinum, and the land is fertile enough to feed the rest of the world if cultivated intensively. Yet many Europeans believed Africa to be the “Dark Continent,”  a continent of poverty, harsh […]

Anglophilia

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“By G – I do love the Ingles. G-d dammee, if I don’t love them better than the French by G -!” – Voltaire (qtd. in Buruma 21). Introduction Why can’t the rest of the world be just like England? When Voltaire raised this question in 1756 in his Philosophical Dictionary, it would logically follow that […]

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty

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Introduction While she is best known as a postcolonial theorist, Gayatri Spivak describes herself as a “para-disciplinary, ethical philosopher”– though her early career would have included “applied deconstruction.” Her reputation was first made for her translation and preface to Derrida’s Of Grammatology (1976) and she has since applied deconstructive strategies to various theoretical engagements and textual analyses […]

Rhodes, Cecil

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Introduction Born in 1853 in Hertfordshire, England, Cecil Rhodes was the fifth son of Reverend Francis William Rhodes. Although Rhodes debated whether to follow in his father’s footsteps as a vicar or his brothers’ paths in the army, he knew neither choice suited him. Cecil was quite sick as an adolescent, so much so that […]

Nettleford, Rex

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The power to create and innovate remains the greatest guarantee of respect and recognition. (Nettleford Mirror 227) Biography: The Formation of a Caribbean Intellectual Rex Nettleford, a leading Caribbean intellectual visionary and renaissance figure, was born on February 3rd, 1933 in the rural town of Falmouth, Jamaica. Enveloped by the folklore of of Jamaica and the natural integration […]

Nandy, Ashis

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Biography Ashis Nandy is a prolific political psychologist, sociologist, and cultural critic. Nandy has also coauthored a number of human rights reports and is active in movements for peace, alternative sciences and technologies, and cultural survival. He is a member of the Executive Councils of the World Future Studies Federation, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, […]

Memmi, Albert

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Introduction Born in Tunisia, a Jew in a predominately Muslim colony, Albert Memmi writes that he was “sort of a half-breed of colonization, understanding everyone because I belonged completely to no one” (xvi). Memmi’s 1957 book, The Colonizer and the Colonized (part of which has also been published under the title, Portrait of the Colonizer), is one of […]

Mannoni, Octave

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Biography Born in France of parents from Corsica, Octave Mannoni (1899-1989) belonged to a small group of critics who managed to think independently while faithfully following Lacan. After a tumultuous youth, Mannoni traveled to Africa and resided for more than twenty years in Madagascar, where he held various positions while working as an ethnologist. Upon return […]

Kaige, Chen

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Introduction Unlike the United States, China regards its cinema as a high art rather than a form of entertainment. According to David A.Cook’s History of Narrative Film, Chinese Cinema is “taught and understood as another form of literature.” This is due in part to its mastery of film aesthetics including cinematography, montage, and mise-en-scène. Simple plot […]

Gilroy, Paul: The Black Atlantic

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Intellectual History in a Transatlantic Frame While some critics annotate the social and cultural impact that time-space compression has on our contemporary situation — in which material practices around the world speed up and reduce the distances between far-flung places — others have turned their attention to history to investigate what forms the transnational has […]

Gell-Mann, Murray

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Biography Born on September 15, 1929, in New York, New York, Murray Gell-Mann had a passion for learning that was seemingly inborn and insatiable. Son of Austrian-Hungarian immigrants, Murray and his brother, Ben, frequently visited museums and zoos, and explored their urban environment in an endless quest for knowledge. The passion for education was a […]

Fanon, Frantz

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Biography Frantz Fanon’s relatively short life yielded two potent and influential statements of anti-colonial revolutionary thought, Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961). These works have made Fanon one of the most prominent contributors to the field of postcolonial studies. Fanon was born in 1925, to a middle-class family in the French colony of […]

Davis, Angela

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Biography “The work of the political activist inevitably involves a certain tension between the requirement that positions be taken on current issues as they arise and the desire that one’s contributions will somehow survive the ravages of time” – Angela Davis, (“Women, Culture and Politics,” 1989). Student, Professor, Communist, Activist, Radical, Presidential Candidate, Fugitive, Feminist, […]

Chow, Rey

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A critic of the way sinologists, Orientalists, and Western intellectuals have traditionally approached China and the “East,” Rey Chow refuses to assign China “absolute difference” from the West and instead stakes her ground “neither in the Chinese nor the Western but rather on a dialectic on which ‘Chinese’ and ‘Western’ is played” (WCM x.v.i.i.). As […]

Chen, Kaun-Hsing

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Biography Kuan-Hsing Chen grew up in Taiwan and completed his college education there before he went to the U.S. for graduate study. Chen received his Ph.D. from University of Iowa in 1988. He then moved back to Taiwan and joined the faculty of the foreign language and literature department at National Tsinghua University in Hsinchu. […]

Bahri, Deepika

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Works Bahri has a particular interest in aesthetics, and has worked to develop this area in postcolonial studies. In Native Intelligence: Aesthetics, Politics, and Postcolonial Literature (2003), she writes about the “aesthetic dimension” of postcolonial literature, borrowing a phrase from the Frankfurt School theorist, Herbert Marcuse (see also Theodor Adorno).  This book argues that postcolonial literature needs to […]

Anzaldúa, Gloria

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Biography Born in 1942 in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas to sixth-generation Mexicanos, this self-described “Chicana, Tejana, working-class, dyke-feminist poet, writer-theorist” was punished in grade school for her inability to speak English “properly,” yet is now recognized as a leading cultural theorist and a highly innovative writer (see Language). Her work, which is […]

Anderson, Benedict

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Biography Benedict Richard O’Gorman Anderson was born on August 26, 1936 in Kunming, China to James O’Gorman and Veronica Beatrice Mary Anderson. James was an officer in the Imperial Maritime Customs in China and according to his son, a Sinophile; he was also of mixed Irish and Anglo-Irish descent, and his family had been active in […]

Vargas Llosa, Mario

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Biography Peruvian novelist, essayist, journalist, literary critic, and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1936. He attended Leoncio Prado Military Academy from 1950 to 1952 and Colegio Nacional San Miguel de Piura in 1952. From 1955 to 1957, he studied Literature and Law at the University […]

Tharoor, Shashi

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“In writing of Indian culture, I am highly conscious of my own subjectivity; arguably, there is more than one Indian culture, and certainly more than one view of Indian culture.” – Shashi Tharoor (HAPR) Introduction As a diplomat and writer, Shashi Tharoor has explored the diversity of culture in his native India. By exploring the themes […]

Soyinka, Wole

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Biography Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian born writer of international renown, is an artist proficient in multiple genres. Soyinka has written in the modes of drama (Death and the King’s Horseman and Madmen and Specialists), poetry (Idanre and other Poems), autobiography (Ake: The Years of Childhood), the novel (The Interpreters), literary and cultural criticism (Myth, Literature and the […]

Smith, Zadie

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Biography Zadie Smith grew up in Willesden Green, England. She was born into a mixed race family; her mother is from Jamaica, and her father is English. She has two brothers, both younger than she, and two older half-siblings. Smith began writing poems and short stories when she was six. In addition to writing, she loved […]

Silko, Leslie Marmon

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Biography Leslie Marmon Silko, an accomplished Native American writer, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1948. She has a mix of Laguna Pueblo, Mexican, and white ancestry. Silko grew up at the Pueblo of Laguna, located in west central New Mexico. She attended a Catholic school in Albuquerque, commuting from Laguna. In 1969 she […]

Sidhwa, Bapsi

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Biography Bapsi Sidhwa is Pakistan’s leading diasporic writer. She has produced four novels in English that reflect her personal experience of the Indian subcontinent’s Partition, abuse against women, immigration to the US, and membership in the Parsi/Zoroastrian community. Born on August 11, 1938 in Karachi, in what is now Pakistan, and migrating shortly thereafter to Lahore, […]

Shaarawi, Huda

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Huda Shaarawi (1879-1947), a feminist nationalist activist, is considered to be a central figure in early twentieth century Egyptian feminism. Born into a very wealthy family, Shaarawi spent her early years in the harem, an experience described in her memoirs, Harem Years. Philanthropic Work Shaarawi was involved in philanthropic projects throughout her life. In 1908, she created […]

Seth, Vikram

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Biography A small, wiry soap opera enthusiast with well-defined features and a ready smile, Vikram Seth was born in Calcutta in 1952 (also the home of Indian literary giant Rabindranath Tagore). Throughout Seth’s childhood, his father Prem Seth was a shoe company executive and his mother Laila Seth served as a judge. Vikram Seth is […]

Sembene, Ousmane

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As far as I am concerned, I no longer support notions of purity. Purity has become a thing of the past. . . I constantly question myself. I am neither looking for a school nor for a solution but asking questions and making others think. (qtd.in Niang 176) Biography (b. 1923, d. 2007) Born on […]

Selvadurai, Shyam

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“The magic of fiction seems to be the more specific you are, the more universal you end up becoming.” – Shyam Selvadurai, in an Outlines Interview, May 1996. Biography If postcolonialism is the Empire writing back, many Sri Lankans have had to write back to an Empire in which they now reside. Emigrating to the United Kingdom, […]

Schwarz-Bart, Simone

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Biography Simone Schwarz-Bart is an internationally known writer in the company of Guadeloupean novelists Maryse Condé and Myriam Warner-Vieyra. Born in 1938 in the French West Indies to a teacher and military man, Schwarz-Bart studied in Pointe-á-Pitre, Paris and Dakar. Her four novels have each achieved laudatory reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The Sunday […]

Schreiner, Olive

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Biographical Overview On March 24, 1855, Olive Emilie Albertina was born the ninth of twelve children to Gottlob and Rebecca Schreiner. Her German father and English mother, both missionaries in South Africa, provided a household grounded in a strict Calvinist tradition. Gottlob Schreiner’s failures in mission work as well as a number of businesses prompted […]

Saadawi, Nawal el

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Biography Egyptian writer and feminist Nawal el Saadawi was born in 1931 in the village of Kafir Tahla. Her father, an official in the Egyptian Ministry of Education, provided all nine of his children with a university education. El Saadawi qualified as a doctor in 1955 in Cairo. She has published at least twenty-four books […]

Rushdie, Salman

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Biography Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay in 1947, just months before the Partition of British India. His father, Ahmed, was a businessman and his mother, Negin, was a teacher. He grew up loving the escape literature and film offered, and he wrote his first story when he was ten years old. He encountered some […]

Roy, Arundhati

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The information provided on this site for Arundhati Roy is spread across multiple entries. Please click on the following entries for more information about Roy and her most famous novel, The God of Small Things. Kerala and The God of Small Things Caste System in India Christianity in India Communism in India Divorce in India Kathakali

Ramanujan, Attipat Krishnaswami

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Biography A. K. Ramanujan, born in Mysore, India in 1929, came to the U.S. in 1959, where he remained until his death in Chicago on July 13, 1993. Not only was Ramanujan a transnational figure, but he was also a transdisciplinary scholar, working as a poet, translator, linguist, and folklorist. Although he wrote primarily in English, he […]

Portis, Charles

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“Reading Portis is one of the great pure pleasures – both visceral and cerebral – available in modern American literature” (Rosenbaum 33). Biography Charles Portis was born on December 28, 1933 in El Dorado, Arkansas. His father, Samuel, was a public school superintendent, while his mother, Alice Waddell, was an adamant supporter of the literary arts. […]

Petaia, Sapa’u Ruperake

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Biography Born on April 11, 1951, Sapa’u Ruperake Petaia is a published poet. He served as the Director of the Ministry of the Post and Telecommunications for the island nation of Samoa. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and Economic Geography from the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, in 1980. […]

Ondaatje, Michael

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Biography Michael Ondaatje was born on September 12, 1943 in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The son of Mervyn Ondaatje, a tea and rubber plantation superintendent and Doris Gratiaen, a part-time dancer inspired by Isadora Duncan. As a result of his father’s alcoholism, Ondaatje’s parents eventually separated in 1954 and he moved to England with […]

Nwapa, Flora

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Nigerian Literature – Cries of Protest Nigerian literature often expresses the struggles of a nation that has survived the exploitation of colonialism and capitalism as well as the devastation of civil war and authoritarianism. Given the turmoil in Nigerian history, it is inevitable that the postcolonial Nigerian artist would fulfill the traditional role of artist as the […]

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Biography Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a Kenyan writer of Gikuyu descent, began a very successful career writing in English before turning to work almost entirely in his native language, Gikuyu. In his 1986 Decolonising the Mind, his “farewell to English,” Ngugi describes language as a way people have not only of describing the world, but of understanding themselves. For him, English […]

Neruda, Pablo

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Sonnet XVII (100 Love Sonnets, 1960) I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries hidden within itself the […]

Nasrin, Taslima

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Introduction “She is either the bravest or most foolish person I’ve ever met,” a friend of Nasrin’s is quoted as saying (Weaver 49). There is no question about the bravery of Taslima Nasrin — the daughter of a county physician father and a devoutly religious mother, who was suddenly thrust into the spotlight after the angry […]

Nair, Mira

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Biography The highly acclaimed director and producer from India, Mira Nair leapt into the world’s spotlight with her film Salaam, Bombay! which was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award. Mira Nair was born in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa to a civil servant in 1957. She went on to attend the University of New Delhi […]

Naipaul, V.S.

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Biography Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was born in Chaguanas, Trinidad, on August 17, 1932. His Hindu grandfather had emigrated to Trinidad from West India as an indentured servant. His father, Seepersad (1906-53), was a journalist, whose literary aspirations were inherited by V.S., and his brother, Shiva. The family moved to Port of Spain, where Naipaul attended […]

Mukherjee, Bharati

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Biography Bharati Mukherjee was born on July 27, 1940 to wealthy parents, Sudhir Lal and Bina Mukherjee in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India. She learned how to read and write by the age of three. In 1947, she moved to Britain with her family at the age of eight and lived in Europe for about three […]

Mootoo, Shani

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“Cultural bastards, Janet, cultural bastards. Dat is what we is.” Out on Main Street Biography Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland in 1958 and raised in Trinidad. She moved to Canada at the age of 19, where she began a career as a visual artist. A skilled multimedia artist and video maker, she has had exhibitions […]

Mistry, Rohinton

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Biography Rohinton Mistry was born in 1952 in Mumbai and is of Parsi descent. He earned a B. A. in Mathematics and Economics at the University of Bombay. In 1975, at the age of 23, he immigrated to Canada where he studied at the University of Toronto and received a B. A. in English and […]

Mehta, Deepa

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Biography Canadian-based filmmaker Deepa Mehta was born in Amritsar, India in 1949. She received a bachelors and masters degree in philosophy from the University of New Delhi, where she met her husband, Canadian filmmaker and producer Paul Saltzman. Shortly after getting married, she immigrated to Canada in 1973. However, the marriage was short lived, and […]

McGuckian, Medbh

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“I know being a woman for me for a long time was being less, being excluded, being somehow cheap, being inferior, being sub. I associated being a woman with being a Catholic and being Irish with being from the North, and all of these things being not what you wanted to be. If you were a […]

McEwan, Ian

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Biography Ian McEwan was born in 1948 in Aldershot, England. His father was an officer in the British Army and McEwan spent his early childhood in various places throughout the world, including Libya and Singapore. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Sussex and an M.A. in creative writing from the University of East […]

Marshall, Paule

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Biography In 1929, Paule Marshall was born Valenza Pauline Burke in Brooklyn, New York. She visited Barbados, her parents’ birthplace, for the first time at the age of nine. Marshall graduated from Brooklyn College in 1953 and graduate school at Hunter College in 1955. Early in her life, Marshall wrote a series of poems reflecting […]

Maraire, J. Nozipo

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Biography J. Nozipo Maraire was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1966 during the transition of the country from colonial Rhodesia under Britain to the independent country of Zimbabwe. Maraire’s grandparents, parents, and other close family members were directly involved in the war for independence from both the British and the white elite. Maraire left Zimbabwe […]

Lorde, Audre

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Coal I is the total black, being spoken from the earth’s inside. There are many kinds of open how a diamond comes into a knot of flame how sound comes into a words, coloured by who pays what for speaking. Some words are open like a diamond on glass windows singing out within the crash […]

Lee, Li-Young

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Family History Li-Young Lee was born in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1957, the son of exiled Chinese parents. His mother came from a noble family; her father Yuan Shi-kai was the first president of the Republic of China. Lee’s father, Lee Kuo Yuan, came from a family of gangsters and entrepreneurs. Their marriage received official disapproval; moreover, […]

Lamming, George

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When I review these relationships they seem so odd. I have always been here on this side and the other person there on that side, and we have both tried to make the sides appear similar in the needs, desires, and ambitions. But it wasn’t true. It was never true. When I reach Trinidad where […]

Lahiri, Jhumpa

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Biography Growing up in America under the supervision of a mother who wanted to raise her children to be Indian, it is no surprise that Jhumpa Lahiri puts so large an emphasis on the “stories of Indians in what for them is a strange land” (Rothstein 1).  After publishing her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, in […]

Kureishi, Hanif

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“From the start I tried to deny my Pakistani self . . . it was a curse and I wanted to be rid of it. I wanted to be like everyone else.” – Kureishi, “The Rainbow Sign” Biography Born December 5, 1954 in Bromley, England, to an Indian father and an English mother, Hanif Kureishi grew up […]

Kipling, Rudyard

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Take up the White Man’s burden– Send forth the best ye breed– Go, bind your sons to exile To serve your captives’ need; On fluttered folk and wild– Your new-caught sullen peoples, Half devil and half child. – Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” Biography This famous writer was born Joseph Rudyard Kipling in Bombay on […]

Kincaid, Jamaica

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Biography Jamaica Kincaid was born in 1949 as Elaine Potter Richardson on the island of Antigua. She lived with her stepfather, a carpenter, and her mother until 1965 when she was sent to Westchester, New York to work as an au pair. In Antigua, she completed her secondary education under the British system due to […]

Kiarostami, Abbas

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Biography Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami was born on June 22, 1940 in Tehran, and passed away in July 2016. Interested in art from an early age, he won a painting competition at 18 and left his home to study at Tehran University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. After completing his studies, he began work as a designer and […]

Khan-Din, Ayub

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Biography “This was our Pakistani life; this is how we existed outside Salford. A life none of my friends knew or could understand…I think in [East is East] I came as close as possible to understanding my father’s motivation in the way he tried to bring us up,” explains Ayub Khan-Din with regard to his […]

Khalifeh, Sahar

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Biography Much postcolonial fiction available to English-speaking readers is written by native historical witnesses; that is to say, the author has lived through what s/he writes, or is inspired by events and circumstances occurring in the country of his/her origin. Sahar Khalifeh, a Palestinian from Nablus, a town in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is no […]

Jha, Raj Kamal

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Biography Raj Kamal Jha was born in 1966 in Calcutta, India. He grew up with his father and mother; his father is a college professor in Calcutta. After secondary school, Jha was accepted to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, to pursue a degree in engineering. One day, Jha observed a group of […]

Hulme, Keri

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Biography Keri Hulme, a New Zealand native, was born on March 9, 1947, in Christchurch, New Zealand. She is the daughter of John W., a carpenter and businessman, and Mere, a credit manager, and sister to five siblings. Her father died when she was eleven years old. Hulme is descended from a rich background. She […]

Huidobro, Vicente

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Biography Vicente García Huidobro Fernández was born to a distinguished aristocrat family in Santiago, Chile in 1893. In his teenage and early adult years, the works of modernist Chilean writer and poet Rubén Darío inspired him. He praised Darío as “a renovator of poetry” (Camurati 29) and as an homage to him, he began to publish his own work […]

Hossain, Rokeya Sakhawat

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Biography Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain was born into a Bengali Muslim upper-class family in the small village of Pairaband in the district of Rangpur, north of present day Bangladesh, then a part of the colonial British province of Bengal Presidency. Her date of birth is not known. However, a nephew of hers posits Dec. 9, 1880. Her mother was Rahatunnessa […]

Hodge, Merle

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Biography Merle Hodge was born in 1944, in Curepe, Trinidad, the daughter of an immigration officer. She received both her elementary and high school education in Trinidad, and as a student of Bishop Anstey’s High School, she won the Trinidad and Tobago Girls Island Scholarship in 1962. The scholarship allowed her to attend University College, London, where she pursued studies […]

Head, Bessie

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“Love is so powerful, it’s like unseen flowers under your feet as you walk.” – Bessie Head, A Question of Power Bessie Head, one of Africa’s most prominent writers, was born in South Africa in 1937. The child of an “illicit” union between a Scottish woman and a black man, Head was taken from her mother […]

Harris, Wilson

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Biography A Guyanese of Amerindian, African, European, and possibly Asian descent (Harris 1999: 237), Wilson Harris was born in New Amsterdam, Guyana (then and up until 1966 British Guiana) on March 24th, 1921. Having been educated at Queen’s College in the nation’s capital of Georgetown, he went on to become a government surveyor employed in […]

Gunesekera, Romesh

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Biography Romesh Gunesekera was born in Sri Lanka in 1954, moving to London in 1972. He grew up speaking both English and Sinhala. Gunesekera won the Liverpool College Poetry Prize in 1972, the Rathborne Prize in Philosophy in 1976, and the first prize in the Peterloo Open Poetry Competition in 1988. Gunesekera’s first book, Monkfish Moon, was […]

Gooneratne, Yasmine

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Biography Novelist, poet, and critic Yasmine Gooneratne, a graduate of Bishop’s College, went on to graduate from the University of Ceylon in 1959 and also received a PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University in 1962. Gooneratne became a resident of Australia in 1972. In 1981, she received the first higher doctoral degree of Doctor of […]

Ghosh, Amitav

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Biography Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956. He grew up in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), Sri Lanka, Iran and India. After graduating from the University of Delhi, he went to Oxford to study Social Anthropology and received a Master of Philosophy and a PhD in 1982. In 1980, he went to Egypt to […]

Friel, Brian

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Biography Born 9 January 1929, Catholic, in Omagh, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, Brian Friel is one of Ireland’s most prominent playwrights. In addition to his published plays, he has written short stories; screenplays; film, TV, and radio adaptations of his plays; and several pieces of non-fiction on the role of theatre and the artist. […]

Emecheta, Buchi

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Biography On July 21, 1944 in Yaba near Lagos, Nigeria, Buchi Emecheta was born to Jeremy Nwabudike and Alice Okwuekwu Emecheta. At a young age, Emecheta was orphaned and she spent her early childhood years being educated at a missionary school. In 1960, at the age of sixteen, Emecheta was married to Sylvester Onwordi, a […]

Doyle, Roddy

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Biography Roddy Doyle was born in 1958 in Dublin, Ireland.  He attended St. Fintan’s Christian Brothers School in Sutton and later continued his education at University College, Dublin. For fourteen years he worked as an English and Geography teacher at Greendale Community School, in Kilbarrack, North Dublin. Since 1993 he has been dedicated to writing full-time. […]

Djebar, Assia

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Biography Assia Djebar was born Fatima-Zohra Imalayen in Cherchell, Algeria on August 4, 1936. She published her first novel, La Soif, under pen name Assia Djebar in 1957, followed by her second novel, Les Impatients, in 1958. In that same year, Djebar married Walid Garn and worked toward advanced degree in history at University of Algiers. In 1962, Djebar […]

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee

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Biography Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, and her writing has been included in over 30 anthologies. She was born in India in 1956 and lived there until 1976, when, at age nineteen,  she left Kolkata and came […]

Devi, Mahsweta

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Biography Mahasweta Devi was born in 1926 in the city of Dacca (now Dhaka) in East Bengal (modern-day Bangladesh). As an adolescent, she and her family moved to West Bengal in India. Born into a literary family, Mahasweta Devi was also influenced by her early association with Gananatya, a group who attempted to bring social […]

Das, Kamala

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Biography Recognized as one of India’s foremost poets, Kamala Das was born Kamala Madhavikutty on March 31, 1934 in Malabar in the state of Kerala (Dwivedi 297). Her love of poetry began at an early age through the influence of her great uncle, Nalapat Narayan Menon, a prominent writer. Das remembered watching him “work from morning […]

Darío, Rubén

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Biography Rubén Darío was born on January 18, 1867 in Metapa, Nicaragua (later renamed Ciudad Dario). At birth, he was named Félix Rubén García Sarmiento and later took the old family name, Darío. His parents divorced and he was adopted and raised by his godfather, Colonel Félix Ramírez. Dubbed “El Niño Poeta” (the poet child), […]

Danticat, Edwidge

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Biography Edwidge Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1969. Her father immigrated to the United States just 2 years later looking for work. Her mother followed him in 1973. Danticat remained in Haiti eight more years, raised by her aunt. At age 12 she reunited with her parents in a predominantly Haitian-American neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Two […]

Dangarembga, Tsitsi

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Biography In 1959, Tsitsi Dangarembga was born in Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe, in the town of Mutoko. She spent her early childhood, ages two through six, in Britain. She began her education in a British school but after returning to Rhodesia with her family, she concluded her early education, her A-levels, in a missionary school in the […]

Damas, Léon

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Biography Léon-Gontran Damas was born in Cayenne, French Guiana in 1912 to a middle-class family. His father was of European and African descent and there was Amerindian and African ancestry on his mother’s side of the family. Young Damas received his primary education in Cayenne, but he later moved to Martinique and attended Lycée Schoelcher there. At Lycée, he shared […]

Dabydeen, David

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Biography David Dabydeen was born on December 9, 1955 to Krishna Prasad and Vera Dabydeen, the parents of a peasant family, in a county in Guyana named Berbice. Until 1966, Guyana was a British colony predominantly inhabited by Africans and Indians who immigrated to the Caribbean during a massive movement, which transplanted more than half a […]

Conway, Jill Ker

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Biography Jill Ker Conway was born in Hillston, New South Wales, Australia in 1934. She resided in the Australian outback until the death of her father in 1945. At that time, Conway, her mother, and two brothers moved to Sydney, an industrious seaport city. Conway received most of her education in the neighboring private schools […]

Coetzee, J.M.

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Biography John Maxwell Coetzee, better known as J.M. Coetzee, was born in South Africa to Afrikaner parents on February 9th, 1940. His father worked for the government and also was a sheep farmer. When Coetzee was eight, his father lost the government job due to his differing views from the apartheid government. The family then moved […]

Cliff, Michelle

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Biography Michelle Cliff was born in Jamaica and grew up there and in the United States. She was educated in New York City and at the Warburg Institute at the University of London, where she completed a PhD on the Italian Renaissance. She is the author of novels (Abeng, No Telephone To Heaven, and Free Enterprise), short […]

Chandra, Vikram

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Biography A relative newcomer to the literary scene, Indian author Vikram Chandra garnered much praise for his debut novel Red Earth and Pouring Rain. Following this well-received work of 1995, Chandra dazzled critics once again with the release of Love and Longing in Bombay, a unique collection of five lengthy stories for which he won the Commonwealth Writers’ […]

Césaire, Aimé

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Biography Aimé Césaire was born in 1913 in Martinique in the French Caribbean. He left for Paris in 1931 at the age of 18 with a scholarship for school. During his time at the Lycee Louis-le Grand, he helped found a student publication, Etudiant Noir.  In 1936, Césaire started working on his famed piece Cahier, which was not published […]

Boland, Eavan

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Biography Eavan Boland was born in Dublin in 1944 and lived in Ireland until she was six years old. At the age of six, she and her family moved to London, where Boland had her first experiences of anti-Irish sentiment. Dealing with this hostility strengthened Boland’s identification with her Irish heritage. She speaks of this […]

Blixen, Karen (Isak Dinesen)

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Biography Karen Blixen remains a complex figure in the writing and history of colonial Africa. Author, storyteller, and early colonizer, she helped to define Africa and its people for the many Europeans who read her novels, chiefly Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass. Criticism of her work frequently shifts from admiration of her form to outrage […]

Ben Jelloun, Tahar

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Biography Born in Fez, Morocco to a shopkeeper and his wife in December of 1944, Tahar Ben Jelloun is one of North Africa’s most successful post-colonial writers. Winner of France’s Prix Goncourt, Ben Jelloun moved at eighteen from Fez to Tangier where he attended a French high school until enrolling at the Université Mohammed V in Rabat in 1963. It was at the university where Ben Jelloun’s writing […]

Basquiat, Jean-Michel

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Basquiat and Postcoloniality On Basquiat, art critic Robert Farris Thompson writes, “What identifies Jean-Michel Basquiat as a major artist is courage and full powers of self-transformation. That courage, meaning not being afraid to fail, transforms paralyzingly self-conscious’predicaments of culture’ into confident ‘ecstasies of cultures recombined.’ He had the guts, what is more, to confront New York […]

Badami, Anita Rau

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Biography Due to her first novel Anita Rau Badami was considered one of the newest writers in the vibrant field of Indian subcontinental literature.  Ms. Badami was born in 1961 in Rourkela, Orissa, India (Nurse 53).  Her debut novel, Tamarind Mem, received critical acclaim. Her father worked as a mechanical engineer on the railroads.  Because of her father’s […]

Amichai, Yehuda

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Biography Yehuda Amichai, uncrowned poet laureate of the State of Israel, was born Ludwig Pfeuffer to Orthodox Jewish parents in Würzberg, Germany, on May 3, 1924. He received a formal Jewish education rich in the Biblical and rabbinical tradition and became familiar with the Hebrew language through study and prayer. Amichai would later draw on […]

Alvarez, Julia

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Biography Although Julia Alvarez was born in New York City on March 27, 1950, her family moved to the Dominican Republic shortly after her birth, and it was there that she spent the majority of her childhood. In 1960, when Alvarez was ten years old, her family emigrated to the United States, fleeing the Dominican […]

Alexander, Meena

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Biography Mary Elizabeth Alexander was born in Allahabad, India, on February 17, 1951. Although christened Mary Elizabeth, she has been called “Meena” since birth, and, in her fifteenth year, she officially changed her name to Meena. Not so much an act of defiance as one of liberation, Alexander writes: “I felt I had changed my […]

Allende, Isabel

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Biography Isabel Allende is one of Latin America’s foremost female writers. Through translation, her work has received acclaim in the United States as well. Allende was born in Lima, Peru in 1942, but returned to Chile with her mother at the age of three when her father, a diplomat, disappeared. Two years after her father’s […]

Adorno, Theodor

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Introduction Theodor Adorno was a philosopher, critic, and theorist who generated a vast body of works on many aspects of society and culture. His interests ranged from classical philosophy to psychology to music to sociology.  He wrote on topics as far-flung as Beethoven, antisemitism, and film. Adorno is best known as a member of the […]

Adcock, Fleur

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“I no longer feel inclined to make comments on my own work, which I feel should speak for itself.” (qtd. in Feminist Writers) Introduction Kareen Fleur Adcock was born February 10, 1934, in Papakura, New Zealand to Cyril John and Irene Robinson Adcock. She legally changed her name to Fleur Adcock in 1982. She spent most […]

African American Studies and Postcolonialism

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“Colonial racism is no different from any other racism.” – Frantz Fanon A Need To Talk Back While African American studies and postcolonial studies are different fields, both share a goal of destabilizing racial hierarchies. Discussions of power relationships between the colonizer and the colonized are sometimes similar to studies on slavery and relationships between […]