1st Edition

The Economics of Empire Genealogies of Capital and the Colonial Encounter

Edited By Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem, Michael O'Sullivan Copyright 2021
    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Economics of Empire: Genealogies of Capital and the Colonial Encounter is a multidisciplinary intervention into postcolonial theory that constructs and theorizes a political economy of empire.

    This comprehensive collection traces the financial genealogies associated with the colonial enterprise, the strategies of economic precarity, the pedigrees of capital, and the narratives of exploitation that underlay and determined the course of modern history. One of the first attempts to take this approach in postcolonial studies, the book seeks to sketch the commensal relation—a symbiotic "phoresy"—between capitalism and colonialism, reading them as linked structures that carried and sustained each other through and across the modern era. The scholars represented here are all postcolonial critics working in a range of disciplines, including Political Science, Sociology, History, Peace and Conflict Studies, Legal Studies, and Literary Criticism, exploring the connections between empire and capital, and the historical and political implications of that structural hinge. Each author engages existing postcolonial and poststructuralist theory and criticism while bridging it over to research and analytic lenses less frequently engaged by postcolonial critics. In so doing, they devise novel intersectional and interdisciplinary frameworks through which to produce more greatly nuanced understandings of imperialism, capitalism, and their inextricable relation, "new" postcolonial critiques of empire for the twenty-first century.

    This book will be an excellent resource for students and researchers of Postcolonial Studies, Literature, History, Sociology, Economics, Political Science and International Studies, among others.

    Foreword: Postcolonial Studies and the History of Capital

    Dipesh Chakrabarty

    Preface: The Economics of Empire: Bridging Postcolonial Studies Forward

    Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem and Michael O’Sullivan

    1. Introduction—Empire’s License: Structural Thievery and the Political Life of Appropriated Capital

    Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem

    2. Decolonizing Capital: Indian Political Economy in the Shadow of Empire

    Vikram Visana

    3. Criminal Cities: Economics and Empire in Belfast and Johannesburg

    Molly Slavin

    4. Interrogating Legal World-Making Through Genre: Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book and Colonial Reparations

    Honni van Rijswijk

    5. Trading in Women’s "Troubles": Fertility Control and Postcolonial Exchanges in Irish History

    Cara Delay

    6. Contemporary Plantation Narratives and the Postcolonial Memory of Capitalism

    Marta Frątczak-Dąbrowska

    7. Waste Lands and Preserves: Olive Schreiner’s Ecological Allegories and Colonial Zimbabwe

    Deborah Shapple Spillman

    8. Unearthing Land and Labor Disputes in Tunisia: An Uneven and Combined Development Approach to Tribal/Management Councils

    Matt Gordner

    9. Derailing the Rail: Indian-Kenyan Solidarity in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction

    Meghan Gorman-DaRif

    10. Coloniality, Knowledge Production, and Racialized Socio-economic Inequality in South Africa

    Savo Heleta

    11. Devalued Knowledge: Colonized Post-Socialism

    Juho Korhonen

    12. Hong Kong and the Sinocentric Afterlife of an Anglophone Postcolonial Discourse

    Michael O’Sullivan


    Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem is Associate Professor of English at The City University of New York/Kingsborough, USA. She also teaches at Drew University, USA, and at The Graduate Center, CUNY, USA.

    Michael O’Sullivan is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has taught on literature and language in universities in Ireland, the UK, the USA, Japan, and Hong Kong.

    "I am fascinated by the various chapters as well as by the overall picture this volume paints. The editors and authors have caught a necessary wave. The overlap between global economic theory and literature will become increasingly important and this strikes me as new material which addresses old issues in a provocative and original manner; the conceptual issues are important, specifically, the relationship between material and ideal structures. That is, the book asks: how do the material structures of global capitalism influence the production of global humanities, literature, and social theory? The book definitely fills a gap – the gap between works on political economy and those working in the tradition of the humanities."

    Naeem Inayatullah, Professor in the Department of Politics at Ithaca College, USA

    "The Economics of Empire is a rare publication that explicitly focuses on bringing empire and capitalism into conversation through a broadly post-colonial lens. In this respect, the book concretises a debate that has been perennial but has also attracted new scholarly interest in recent years. It offers an important contribution as the timing is ripe for such an explicit intervention in postcolonial critique with a view to renewing the field and linking it to other fields."

    Robbie Shilliam, Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, USA

    "The Economics of Empire is an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary edited collection which seeks to reassess and redress the links between capitalism, material culture, and colonial encounters in postcolonial studies… [It] engages itself in an audacious renewal and refreshment of postcolonial critique that finds new language for reasoning materialist postcoloniality… The editors, in all humility, admit that this work and its contributors "[. . .] have come some way and that distance, however diminutive, is significant" (xxxviii). Arguably it is the momentum of this collection’s methodology that is "significant" and with its chapters considered in isolation, could instigate new scholars to take steps into broad, rich, multimodal and activistic research."

    Lauren Clark, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, writing in Irish Studies Review, 30:2