The Debate on Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital

Posted · 1 Comment

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 […]

Glissant, Edouard

Posted · Add Comment

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 […]

Mies, Maria

Posted · 2 Comments

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 […]

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty

Posted · 17 Comments

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 […]

Nettleford, Rex

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · 1 Comment

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 […]

Gilroy, Paul: The Black Atlantic

Posted · 2 Comments

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 […]

Fanon, Frantz

Posted · 11 Comments

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 […]

Chow, Rey

Posted · 1 Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · 3 Comments

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

Posted · Add Comment

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 […]

Soyinka, Wole

Posted · Add Comment

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 […]

Saadawi, Nawal el

Posted · 2 Comments

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 […]

Ramanujan, Attipat Krishnaswami

Posted · 2 Comments

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 […]

Ondaatje, Michael

Posted · 2 Comments

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 […]

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Posted · Add Comment

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 […]

Gooneratne, Yasmine

Posted · Add Comment

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 […]

Friel, Brian

Posted · Add Comment

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. […]

Cliff, Michelle

Posted · 4 Comments

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 […]