Subalternity and Difference: Investigations from the North and the South (Paperback) book cover

Subalternity and Difference

Investigations from the North and the South

Edited by Gyanendra Pandey

© 2012 – Routledge

208 pages

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Focusing on the idea of difference as a marker of subalternity, this book looks at the ways in which ordinary citizens have sought to present and identify themselves in ways that defy the conventional categorisations of governments and historical experience.

Inspired particularly by questions arising within the feminist movement, chapters examine the ways in which liberal democracies are able to accommodate and live with difference. The reader is encouraged to question normative ontological conventions of society and politics, as well as question some of the revolutionary ideologies which have sought to achieve radical change in the societies concerned by encouraging people to identify with particular class interests. The book goes on to analyse the concept of the Subaltern and the meaning of Subalternity, insisting that it should be understood though action and self-identification in relationship to repression, rather than as an abstract academic tool of analysis.

The book marks a new approach to the study of disenfranchised and minoritized populations, challenges simplistic pronouncements of ‘difference’ based on culture rather than politics. It is an essential read for students and scholars of History, Anthropology, and Colonial and Postcolonial studies.


"[T]his is a valuable collection of essays for scholars interested in ideas of minority, citizenship, difference, race, and gender. The essays each offer a suggestion regarding how to work with a politics of difference. Additionally, the sections offer some insight into the kinds of questions the intersection of difference and subalternity raises, including questions of gender and sexuality as defining features, belonging or not belonging within communities and nations, and the liberal democratic politics that create and reinforce positions of minority and subalternity. Scholars and teachers with an interest in these issues can look to this volume for several valuable essays, and they may do so with a hope that this volume will serve as the one of many attempting the kind of comparisons it begins to make." - Emily Rook-Koepsel, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma; Journal of International and Global Studies Vol. 3, No. 2 Spring 2012

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Difference of Subalternity Gyanendra Pandey Part 1: Gender, sexuality and the regime of modernity 2. ‘At Risk’: Gender, Sexuality and Epidemic Logic Dilip K. Das 3. ‘Homosexuals from Haystacks’: Gay Liberation and the Specter of a Queer Majority in Rural California, circa 1970 Colin Johnson 4. Different Speakers, Different Loves: Female Urbanity in Rekhti Poetry Ruth Vanita Part 2: The politics of belonging 5. Roots of the Oriental Quarter in early 19th Century London Michael H. Fisher 6. Indigenous Immigrants, Religion and the Struggle for Belonging in the United States Mary E. Odem 7. All Strom’s Children: Gender, Race, and Memory in the 20th Century American South Joseph Crespino Part 3: Revisiting liberalism 8. Thinking Equality: debates in Bengal, c.1870-1940 Prathama Banerjee 9. Mestizo Mainstream: Reaffirmations of Natural Citizenship in Ecuador Christopher Krupa 10. Viola’s Story: Re-locating Difference Gyanendra Pandey

About the Editor

Gyanendra Pandey is Distinguished Professor of History at Emory University, USA, and is the series editor of the Intersections: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories book series at Routledge. He is one of the leading theorists and originators of the subaltern studies approach and has published widely in the field of colonial and postcolonial studies.

About the Series

Intersections: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories

This series is concerned with three kinds of intersections or conversations: first, across cultures and regions, an interaction that postcolonial studies have emphasized in their foregrounding of the multiple sites and multi-directional traffic involved in the making of the modern; second, across time, the conversation between a mutually constitutive past and present that occurs in different times and places; and third, between colonial and postcolonial histories, which as theoretical positions have very different perspectives on the first two ‘intersections’ and the questions of intellectual enquiry and expression implied in them. These three kinds of conversations are critical to the making of any present and any history. Thus the new series provides a forum for extending our understanding of core issues of Human society and its self-representation over the centuries.

While focusing on Asia, the series is open to studies of other parts of the world that are sensitive to cross-cultural, cross-chronological and cross-colonial perspectives. The series invites submissions for single-authored and edited books by young as well as established scholars that challenge the limits of inherited disciplinary, chronological and geographical boundaries, even when they focus on a single, well-recognized territory or period.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General