Representation Matters: (Re)Articulating Collective Identities in a Postcolonial World
(Re)Articulating Collective Identities in a Postcolonial World.
In the twenty-first century, the terms "representation" and "identity" seem to have gone out of fashion. The essays collected here, however, seek to demonstrate the extent to which they continue to matter in the social, political and cultural struggles waged by marginalized communities across our postcolonial and globalizing world. The volume starts by offering contingent readings of prominent identity-related concepts - hybridity, insularity, the west, ubuntu, and orientalism - which ask how these concepts translate into practical, situated ways of grappling with the legacies of colonialism. It continues by exploring the relational articulation of collective identities and their histories (as shared rather than competing), and the way origin narratives and notions of indigeneity, in contexts as diverse as Namibia, Uruguay and Bolivia, function not as fixed roots, but as constructed representations that are manipulated according to the demands of the present. Finally, tradition, too, emerges as open to continuous strategic re-invention in contributions dealing with female agency in a Hindu ritual, peasant understandings of modernity in Zimbabwe, the resurgence of Chinese culture in Indonesia, and André Brink's rewriting of South African history.
Anette Hoffmann is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. She obtained her doctorate at the University of Amsterdam in 2005 with a dissertation on praise poetry in Namibia and is the editor and co-author of What We See. Reconsidering an Anthropometrical Collection from Southern Africa: Images, Voices, and Versioning (Basel Afrika Bibliographien, 2009). Esther Peeren is Assistant Professor in Literary Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She is the author of Intersubjectivities and Popular Culture: Bakhtin and Beyond (Stanford UP, 2008) and co-editor of The Shock of the Other: Situating Alterities (Thamyris/Intersecting No. 15, Rodopi, 2007) and Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture (Continuum, 2010).