14 Pages

General introduction


Much has been written in the past decades about the effects of colonization on cultures and societies, within the field of both Humanities and Social Sciences, a concentration of interest which has helped consolidate the emerging field of postcolonial studies. This, alongside the emergence of globalization theories and cultural studies, has led to the increasing cross-pollination of these areas of scholarly inquiry, whose exact interrelationship is often contradictory, unequal and therefore unpredictable. Thus, for instance, the encroachment of globalization studies, now often considered to be the dominant perspective through which to consider the contemporary moment, has led in the new millennium to the perception of a ‘crisis’ in postcolonialism. That postcolonial theory is now an ‘exhausted paradigm’ was the subject of an Modern Languages Association roundtable discussion ‘The End of Postcolonial Theory’ in 2006 (Yaeger 2007); while the belief that postcolonial studies is being eclipsed by globalization was the catalyst for the recent collection Postcolonial Studies and Beyond (Loomba et al. 2005: 8), whose editors advocate going ‘beyond a certain kind of postcolonial studies’ in order to engage with the imperial formations and ideologies associated with globalization (7). Other critics, however, have noted the collusion between the fields and stress their interrelatedness rather than opposition: thus, Joseph and Wilson find points of overlap through shared cultural concepts such as Bhabha’s hybridity (2006: xxv, 36); Krishnaswamy adds deterritorialization, migrancy, difference and cosmopolitanism, and highlights a number of historical and ideological convergences, concluding that ‘to be global is first and foremost is to be postcolonial and to be postcolonial is always already to be global’ (2003, 2005, 2008: 3).