Is There a Politics of Postcoloniality?

Diana Brydon


From the author's Canadian-based perspective, this paper investigates the contexts of the politics of postcoloniality in the contemporary period to query the relation between decolonising the state and decolonising the mind as it is currently being theorized in academic circles. Working through a variety of slogans that now limit the productivity of a politics of postcoloniality (the "politics of blame," strategies of "them and us," the assumptions behind "speaking truth to power" and "the personal is political"), the paper advocates attention to alternatives that balance critique with imagining otherwise. Arguing that postcolonial politics take place within a larger crisis of politics itself, the paper suggests that foundational assumptions (about citizenship, civility, public and private spheres) embedded within liberation struggles and the academic study of the postcolonial require further clarification within contexts of "unlearning" and the acceptance of "dilemmatic spaces" of engagement. In working through the ideological and institutional constraints facing postcolonial studies today, the paper finds hope in several different engagements with indigeneous cultures and histories that seek to revise the conditions through which political dialogue might take place.


Postcolonial politics; Postcolonial literature

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