Deconstructing Europe: Postcolonial Perspectives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Deconstructing Europe

Postcolonial Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Sandra Ponzanesi, Bolette B. Blaagaard


179 pages

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This book engages with the question of what makes Europe postcolonial and how memory, whiteness and religion figure in representations and manifestations of European ‘identity’ and self-perception. To deconstruct Europe is necessary as its definition is now contested more than ever, both internally (through the proliferation of ethnic, religious, regional differences) and externally (Europe expanding its boundaries but closing its borders).

This edited volume explores a number of theoretical discussions on the meaning of Europe and proposes analyzing some of the deeds committed, both today and in the past, in the name of Europe by foregrounding a postcolonial approach. To deconstruct Europe as a postcolonial place does not imply that Europe’s imperial past is over, but on the contrary that Europe’s idea of self, and of its polity, is still struggling with the continuing hold of colonialist and imperialist attitudes. The objective of this volume is to account for historical legacies which have been denied, forgotten or silenced, such as the histories of minor and peripheral colonialisms (Nordic colonialisms or Austrian, Spanish and Italian colonialism) and to account for the realities of geographical margins within Europe, such as the Mediterranean and the Eastern border while tracing alternative models for solidarity and conviviality. The chapters deal with social and political formations as well as cultural and artistic practices drawing from different disciplinary backgrounds and methodological traditions. As such it creates an innovative space for comparative and cross-disciplinary exchanges.

This book was previously published as a special issue of the journal Social Identities.


'Deconstructing Europe is a truly cross disciplinary anthology which takes up an important debate about the future development of Europe as a multicultural project' Paulina Gasior, Postcolonial Europe

‘This exciting and creative collection…speaks to the ‘leading edge’ of debates in interdisciplinary feminist, postcolonial, and race theory and provides a valuable set of contributions to understanding the complexities, crossings, and convivialities at work in this region… Never closed, never shut off, and never completed, Europe remains open to intervention. This book provides many signposts to the ways in which these interventions work and the ways in which colonial legacies can be dismantled.’ Ian Law, University of Leeds in Postcolonial Text, Vol 7, No 3 (2012)

'The introduction to this volume makes us look in an original way at the social realities and the cultural production of contemporary Europe. The question that drives this book is the notion of European identity and its self-perception, made even more urgent, as the editors point out, by a phase in which the very notion of Europe is highly contested.' Sandra Marchetti, Cultural Studies, 3/2012

'The volume builds upon a growing dialogue on the question of what constitutes a postcolonial – others would say post-imperial – European identity in the broader contexts of postcolonial theory, whiteness studies and critical race studies. Drawing upon the backdrop of colonial/imperial histories and moving towards the construction of a European identity, the articles engage with the legacy of this history primarily in the form of contemporary anxieties over the migrant presence. While a number of studies have undertaken similar inquiries within European countries, Deconstructing Europe can be read as a contribution towards creating a space for thinking across Europe. Readers who are interested in such patterns will gather a great deal of insight into how national identities and identities of migrant others are constructed and can be challenged through a range of different perspectives presented in the book, from journalism, fiction and film to more empirically based approaches.'

Lars Jensen, Roskilde University, Journal of Postcolonial Writing

Table of Contents

Introduction: In the Name of Europe Sandra Ponzanesi and Bolette Blaagaard Part I: Outbound: Geographical Margins, Historical Cores 1. Negotiating White Icelandic Identity: Multicultural and Colonial Identity Formations Kristín Loftsdóttir 2. Asylum seekers as Austria’s Other: The re-emergence of Austria’s colonial past in a state-of-exception Brigitte Hipfl and Daniela Gronold 3. Spelling out exclusion in Southern Italy Claudia Buonaiuto and Marie-Hélène Laforest 4. Whose freedom? Whose memories?: Commemorating Danish colonialism in St Croix Bolette B. Blaagaard Part II: Deconstructing Europe: Conviviality and Invisibility 5. Europe in Motion: Migrant cinema and the politics of encounter Sandra Ponzanesi 6. Multiculturalism in a Selection of English and Spanish Fiction and Artworks L. López-Ropero and A. Moreno-Álvarez 7. Adrift on the Black Mediterranean Diaspora: African Migrant Writing in Spain Esther Sanchez-Pardo 8. "Rented spaces": Italian postcolonial literature Manuela Coppola 9. "Dubbing di Diaspora": Gender and Reggae Music inna Babylon Sonia Sabelli Coda: Workings of whiteness: Interview with Vron Ware Conducted by Bolette B. Blaagaard

About the Editors

Sandra Ponzanesi is Associate Professor of Gender and Postcolonial Critique in the Department of Media and Culture Studies/Gender Programme at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Among her publications are Paradoxes of Postcolonial Culture (2004), Migrant Cartographies (2005) and Postcolonial Cinema Studies (2011).

Bolette B. Blaagaard is Research fellow at the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism at City University London, UK. She has published articles and contributed to edited volumes on issues of Nordic colonialism and whiteness in the Nordic region as well as the ethics of journalistic practices, objectivity and freedom of speech.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General