chapter  7
13 Pages

‘Outlines of a better world’: Rerouting postcolonialism

ByPATRICK WILLIAMS

Attempting to address a question such as ‘rerouting postcolonialism’ almost inevitably arouses mixed feelings, not least a sense of déjà-vu (Haven’t we been here before, and more than once?). But the mere fact that the concept of the postcolonial continues to be routinely misrepresented, if not straightforwardly travestied, means that there is still – regrettably – work to be done in terms of analyzing, and, if needs be, both critiquing and defending it. In something like an unfashionably dialectical spirit (though some might see as it simply the outworking of mixed feelings already confessed to), this essay will argue both that postcolonialism definitely does not need rerouting, and at the same time most definitely does, in the hope of an eventual synthesis which, in the words of the Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch, to whom we shall return later, is best characterized as ‘Not yet!’. The candidates for both sides of the argument are numerous, and only a very few can be dealt with in a paper of this length.