Postcolonialism however, recounted an account of 1857 that differed significantly from both British imper- SUGATA RAY ial and Indian nationalist of the University of California, Berkeley, USA event. Foregrounding subaltern participation in the legendary uprising, the performance The last 20 years have seen the publication of meditated on the silences in writing numerous readers, general introductions, and to unsettle the totalizing claims of Enlighten- volumes of essays dedicated to defining the ment rationality as a product and effect of concept-term “.” Yet, as a Empire. key critical term in the social sciences and While the diversity of articulations in the humanities today, postcolonialism resists name of such a postcolonialism would be dif- easy definitions. At one level, postcolonialism ficult to enumerate, it is in the writings of the suggests a temporal relationship with a colo- anti-colonial revolutionary that nialism that came before. It is after/post colo- we find an early elaboration of postcolonial- nialism. While the use of the term in this ism’s imperatives (Fanon 1952). Although particular configuration has gained signifi- ’s is usually regarded cant circulation, it nevertheless fails to recog- as the contrapuntal force that marked the nize that we are yet to be after . arrival of postcolonial theory in the Anglo- New empires of multinational corporations American academy, it was in 1952, in an and their global financial markets still hold era of massive global , that the world under their sway. At another level, Fanon made a powerful assertion for the dis- the term signifies an amorphous array of het- location of subjectivities under colonialism erogeneous practices that attempt to uncover (Said 1978). Yet, even as Fanon eloquently the fissures in Empire’s idealization of its own critiqued the of colonialism’s appar- universalism while excavating diverse ways of atuses, he continued to invoke the (Western) being-in-the-world. Postcolonialism can, Enlightenment through Hegel’s master–slave then, be read as a commitment to a possibility dialectic. of politics that attempts to readdress history In certain ways, Fanon’s concurrent from the perspectives of the marginalized. denunciation of both Western colonialism Take, for instance, a recent performance by and ’s civilizational conceit through the artist Inder Salim. On June 19, 2008, the a rereading of Hegel became a leitmotif in artist recited a poem titled “The the new postcolonialism that emerged in 1857,” facing the sculpture of Major General the decades following the 1980s. Homi Henry Havelock in Trafalgar Square in Lon- Bhabha, for instance, returned to Fanon to don. Celebrated in British annals as the vali- suggest that ambivalence and were ant officer who seized Kanpur from the products of the colonial condition (Bhabha “rebels” during the Indian uprising of 1857, 1994). Building on Fanon’s thesis that colon- Havelock’s sculpture had been installed in ized subjectivity was constitutively shaped by 1861 to commemorate the ’s Europe, Bhabha recognized in this shaping a claim of stability and permanence. Facing possibility of resistance on the part of the the bronze statue of Havelock, Salim, colonized. Even as the colonizer compelled

The Encyclopedia of Empire, First Edition. Edited by John M. MacKenzie. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. DOI: 10.1002/9781118455074.wbeoe098 2 the colonized into replicating a European self, One also sees traces of postcolonialism’s the incompleteness of this mimicry made vis- long genealogy in Bhabha’s ambivalence ible the failure and instability of colonial dis- (discussed above) and Gayatri Chakravorty course. For Bhabha, this of failure, the Spivak’s provocative iteration of Enlighten- space of flux and ambivalence, was the site ment from below (Spivak 2004). Rather of resistance, produced both within and than abandoning the Enlightenment, Spi- beyond dominant discourse. vak urges the postcolonial to use (in her However, along with early and mid-20th- words, “ab-use”)theEnlightenmentasa century anti-colonial political thinkers such way of both accessing Europe and trans- as Fanon, Mohandas Gandhi, and Aimé gressing its limits. Elsewhere, Spivak Césaire, it was the collective responded to Guha by suggesting that the under the guidance of Ranajit Guha that gendered subaltern never speaks about her- played an equally crucial role in framing self (Spivak 1985). The subject can only be the intellectual contours of post-1980s post- spoken for and spoken of. Spivak’s1985 colonialism (Guha 1982). A new method of interlocution led to a new turn in postcolo- history from below, enunciated in the collect- nialism that made difficult projects that ive’s early volumes, aimed to address the attempted to recuperate subaltern subjec- elitist prejudices – both colonial and bour- tivities at the margins of the nation, empire, geois-nationalist – in accounts of 19th- and and history. 20th-century Indian history. Although, by Even a fleeting glance at these multiple the late 1980s, the Subaltern Studies volumes formulations thus makes evident the impos- included more heterogeneous approaches sibility of conclusively defining postcolonial- that paid equal attention to the textuality of ism’s intellectual field. At best, one reads colonialism and resistance, the collective postcolonialism as of open- effectively inserted the term “subaltern” into ended fragmentary practices that continue a global intellectual field (see Bhadra, to coalesce around questions of inclusion, Prakash, and Tharu 1999). difference, equity, and social justice. It is pre- By the 1990s, postcolonialism had surfaced cisely this imperative that led Inder Salim to as a recognizable form of writing and think- stand at the heart of the erstwhile British ing. Its genealogies, however, could be traced Empire and speak of/for the Indian sepoy back to the anti-colonialism of Fanon and the (soldier) whose fingers would be severed if revisionism of Guha, among others. One sees he did not trim his nails, and the non- traces of this genealogy modulating Dipesh caste/“untouchable” woman who was “born Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe non-existent” (Salim 2008). It was also this (Chakrabarty 2000). Considering how a imperative that had led the author Chinua hyperreal Europe fabricated by Achebe to deterritorialize both English and and nationalism had assumed the privileged the form of the novel in the 1950s to desta- habitus of both and history, bilize Europe’s production of Africa as a Chakrabarty delineated the epistemic vio- space of nostalgic lack (Achebe 1958). This, lence inherent in perpetually banishing then, is the theory and practice of postcolo- non-Europe to a site of derivativeness and nialism/s. belatedness. Rather than an atavistic denial of European thought, Chakrabarty, however, presented the project of provincializing SEE ALSO: Anti-imperialism and anti- Europe as a mode of rethinking the Enlight- colonialism; Decolonization; Enlightenment enment from and for the margins. and empire; Nationalism and imperialism 3

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