I have collected these thematically interrelated essays written over some fifteen years in the expectation that they will stand or fall as interventions in the volatile and contested postcolonial discussion. As such some of the chapters advance arguments I would no longer present in their initial form or vocabulary, and contain concessions made out of politesse or diffidence to theoretical positions I now consider unsustainable. Times have changed since the earlier of these pieces appeared and the volume and vigour of work advancing Marxist/Marxisant positions within postcolonial studies has abated the predominance of a textual idealism. All the same it remains important to urge more historically grounded directions and greater discrimination in the enquiries of an ecumenical and proliferating field where the material impulses to colonialism, its appropriation of physical resources, exploitation of human labour and institutional repression, have receded from view.1