This volume brings together an international range of postcolonial scholars to explore four distinct themes which are inherently interconnected within the globalised landscape of the early 21st century: China, Islamic fundamentalism, civil war and environmentalism. Through close-reading a range of literary texts by writers drawn from across the globe, these essays seek to emphasise the importance of literary aesthetics in situating the theoretical underpinnings and political motivations of postcolonial studies in the new millennium.
Colonial legacies, especially in terms of structuring exploitative capitalist relations between countries and regions are shown to persist in postcolonial nations in the form of ‘global civil wars’ and systemic environmental waste. Chinese authoritarianism and the Indian picturesque represent less familiar forms of neo-colonialism. These essays not only engage with established writers such as Salman Rushdie and Anita Desai; they also critically reflect on work by Nadeem Aslam, Mai Couto, Romesh Gunesekara, Bei Dao and Ma Jian.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Textual Practice.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Postcolonial Studies in a Twenty-First Century Environment Lucienne Loh and Malcolm Sen
1. Introduction: Postcolonial literature and challenges for the new millennium Lucienne Loh and Malcolm Sen
2. Including China: Bei Dao, resistance and the imperial state Bill Ashcroft
3. The epic spirit in Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma and the ‘new’ China as twenty-first-century Empire Lucienne Loh
4. Reading Lolita in Tel Aviv: terrorism, fundamentalism and the novel Robert Spencer
5. ‘Representing the very ethic he battled’: secularism, Islam(ism) and self-transgression in The Satanic Verses Anshuman A. Mondal
6. Global civil war and post-9/11 discourse in The Wasted Vigil Oona Frawley
7. Landmines, language, and dismemberment: Mia Couto’s imperial residues Andrew Mahlstedt
8. Bones of corals made: ecology and war in Gunesekara’s Reef Malcolm Sen
9. Guns & Roses: reading the picturesque archive in Anita Desai’s Fire on the Mountain Jill Didur
10. Epilogue: the pterodactyl of history? Neil Lazarus
Lucienne Loh is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Liverpool, UK. She is author of The Postcolonial Country in Contemporary Literature (2013) and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing.
Malcolm Sen is an Irish Research Council Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for the Environment. His essays have been published in a number of academic journals and books, and in literary magazines and newspapers. He is the editor of a podcast series, Irish Studies and the Environmental Humanities, which is available on University College Dublin’s Scholarcast channel.