Disciplining the Margins or Relocating Postcolonial Studies

International Conference, 21-24 July 2011


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Most methodologies in the humanities tend to become imperialist and to colonise and dominate as many disciplines as possible, examples abound: Marxism, poststructuralism, hermeneutics, cultural studies, new historicism, systems theory etc. Like literary forms, they usually have three main phases, definition, expansion and the spawning of offshoot theories. Postcolonial studies appears now to have entered the third phase and to be contested by many sub-disciplines which in their turn are defining the turf and establishing borderlines, while warding off border-crossings or hybridisations which they paradoxically quite often tend to support in their objects of analysis.

At the same time postcolonialism has itself become contested territory in terms of its premises and objects: a divide has become apparent between those critics interested in developing unifying theoretical concepts for current debates and those who insist that we cannot disengage our terms of discussion from historical and social analysis or from specific struggles for political impact. Partly, the difficulty seems to result from different conceptions of the field as either predominantly theoretical or practical and partly, it is caused by ongoing processes of self-reflection and redefinition which were characterized by increasing differentiation....

Prof. Renate Brosch
Prof. Walter Göbel
Dr. Saskia Schabio


Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft