Postcolonial theory and geography
This introductory chapter does three things: First, it provides a set of interlocking outlines of postcolonialism, in the process historically contextualizing and situating the emergence of postcolonial theory in 1970s literary studies, and in relation to poststructuralism and deconstruction, as well as its antecedent modes of anticolonial writing and politics. In so doing, it gestures towards the traction postcolonial theory has gained in the subdisciplinary field of postcolonial geography. Second, the chapter delineates the structure of the book, outlining how the book’s three parts – focusing on Space, ‘Identity’/Hybridity, and Knowledge – provide an organizing mechanism through which to narrate the historical and thematic trajectory of postcolonial theory since the late 1970s. Here I also outline the chapters of the book. Third, the chapter sets out three arguments that are key throughout this book and together constitute a statement about postcolonial geography in relation to both the discipline of Geography and postcolonial theory. Briefly summarized, these are that: postcolonial geography should be conceived as methodology, not theory per se; that postcolonial geography is at its core concerned with the politics of representation; and finally, that postcolonial theory has always been an inherently spatial/geographical enterprise.