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Literary Cultures of the Global South


About the Series

Recent years have seen challenging new formulations of the flows of influence in transnational cultural configurations and developments. In the wake of the end of the Cold War, the notion of the ‘Global South’ has arguably succeeded the demise of the tripartite conceptual division of the First, Second and Third Worlds. This notion is a flexible one referring to the developing nations of the once-colonized sections of the globe. The concept does not merely indicate shifts in geopolitics and in the respective affiliations of nations, and the economic transformations that have occurred, but also registers an emergent perception of a new set of relationships between nations of the Global South as their respective connections to nations of the north (either USA/USSR or the old colonial powers) diminish in significance. New social and cultural connections have become evident. This book series explores the literary manifestations (in their often intermedial, networked forms) of those south–south cultural connections together with academic leaders from those societies and cultures concerned.

The ‘Global South’ as an analytical term functions, in John Comaroff’s turn of phrase, as a ‘shifter’, taking on different inflections in varying disciplinary contexts — as a mere geographical descriptor, denoting a network of geopolitical regions, primarily in the southern hemisphere, with a common history of colonization; driven by processes of transformation (the Global South has and continues to be the site of an ongoing neo-colonial economic legacy as also of a number of emergent global economies such as India, China, Brazil and South Africa); as an index of a condition of economic and social precarity which, though primarily manifest in the ‘global south’, is also increasingly visible in the North (thus producing a ‘global south’); and, finally, as a utopian marker, signifying a fabric of economic exchanges that are beginning to bypass the Northern economies, and, gradually, a framework for political cooperations, especially from ‘below’ (Sandbrook, Prashad) which may offer alternatives to the hitherto hegemony of the Euro-American ‘North’.

Literary cultures are a particularly pregnant site of south–south cultural analysis as they represent the intersection of traditional and modern cultural forms, of south–south (and north–south) cultural exchange, particularly via modes of translation and interlingual hybridization, and refract various discourses of knowledge in a highly self-reflexive and critical fashion, thereby demanding and enabling an interdisciplinary dialogue with literary studies at its core. Hallowed connections between literary production and the postcolonial nation notwithstanding, transnational south–south literary connections have usually marked the (anti-)colonial, postcolonial and indeed contemporary digital epochs. Thus, literary cultures form one of the central historical and contemporary networked sites of intercultural self-articulation in the Global South. 

This series intervenes in the process and pre-empts the sort of bland institutionalization which has forestalled much of the intellectual force of postcolonial studies or the more recent world literature studies. It proposes wide-ranging interventions into the study of the literary cultures of the Global South that will establish an innovative paradigm for literary studies on the disciplinary terrain up until now occupied by the increasingly problematized areas of postcolonial studies or non-European national literary studies.

This series contributes to the re-writing of cultural and literary history in the specific domain of the literary cultures of the Global South. It attempts to fill in the many gaps left by Euro-American-dominated but ultimately ‘provincial’ Northern cultural histories. The study of the literary cultures of the Global South ‘swivels’ the axis of literary interrelations from the colonizer–colonized interface which, for instance, has preoccupied postcolonial literary studies since its inception (and which inevitably informed the ‘national’ compartmentalization of postcolonial literary study even when it averted its gaze from the colonizer), to a set of ‘lateral’ relationships which have always existed but until now largely ignored — and which, in an age of digital communication and online cultural production have begun to emerge, once again, into their properly prominent position.

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Queer China Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture under Postsocialism

Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture under Postsocialism

1st Edition

Hongwei Bao
June 03, 2020

This book analyses queer cultural production in contemporary China to map the broad social transformations in gender, sexuality and desire. It examines queer literature and visual cultures in China’s post-Mao and postsocialist era to show how these diverse cultural forms and practices not only ...

Afropolitanism and the Novel De-realizing Africa

Afropolitanism and the Novel: De-realizing Africa

1st Edition

Ashleigh Harris
August 27, 2019

The place of the novel as a literary form in Africa is contested. Its colonial origins and its unaffordability for most Africans make it a bad fit for the continent, yet it was also central to the creation of most postcolonial African national literary canons. These bipolar traditions remain ...

The Culture of Dissenting Memory Truth Commissions in the Global South

The Culture of Dissenting Memory: Truth Commissions in the Global South

1st Edition

Véronique Tadjo
March 21, 2019

This volume deals with the manifold ways in which histories are debated and indeed historicity and historiography themselves are interrogated via the narrative modes of the truth commissions. It traces the various medial responses (memoirs, fiction, poetry, film, art) which have emerged in the wake...

Media and the Global South Narrative Territorialities, Cross-Cultural Currents

Media and the Global South: Narrative Territorialities, Cross-Cultural Currents

1st Edition

Mehita Iqani, Fernando Resende
March 08, 2019

What does the notion of the ‘global south’ mean to media studies today? This book interrogates the possibilities of global thinking from the south in the field of media, communication, and cultural studies. Through lenses of millennial media cultures, it refocuses the praxis of the global south in...

Annotating Salman Rushdie Reading the Postcolonial

Annotating Salman Rushdie: Reading the Postcolonial

1st Edition

Vijay Mishra
May 18, 2018

How does one read a foundational postcolonial writer in English with declared Indian subcontinent roots? This book looks at ways of reading, and uncovering and recovering meanings, in postcolonial writing in English through the works of Salman Rushdie. It uses textual criticism and applied ...

South and North Contemporary Urban Orientations

South and North: Contemporary Urban Orientations

1st Edition

Kerry Bystrom, Ashleigh Harris, Andrew J. Webber
April 03, 2018

This book explores urban life and realities in the cities of the Global South and North. Through literature, film and other forms of media that constitute shared social imaginaries, the essays in the volume interrogate the modes of production that make up the fabric of urban spaces and the lives of...

The Postcolonial Epic From Melville to Walcott and Ghosh

The Postcolonial Epic: From Melville to Walcott and Ghosh

1st Edition

Sneharika Roy
January 09, 2018

This book demonstrates the epic genre’s enduring relevance to the Global South. It identifies a contemporary avatar of classical epic, the ‘postcolonial epic’, ushered in by Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, a foundational text of North America, and exemplified by Derek Walcott’s Caribbean masterpiece ...

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