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Postcolonialism and world literature: Rethinking the boundaries
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2014 (English)In: Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, ISSN 1369-801X, E-ISSN 1469-929X, Vol. 16, no 4, 483-500 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The disciplinary fields of postcolonialism and world literature are currently engaged in some sharp exchanges over the global study of literature. With Mia Couto and Assia Djebar as its test cases, this article assesses and expands the debate. While postcolonial and world literature scholars clearly have some common ground, misunderstandings as well as disagreements prevail. More importantly, however, there are evident disciplinary blind spots on both sides that call for a combination of methodologies to account for literature as grounded in local, conflictual histories and as a circulational phenomenon that moves across languages and literary fields. Insofar as literature is a globally transportable institution, it cannot be understood exclusively in terms of political power and domination, but also as a world of its own and an enabling alternative to other domains of power. Conversely, the article argues, given the tensions between their subjective position and the transnational valency of literature, writers from colonies and postcolonies are of specific and paradigmatic importance to the theorization of world literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 16, no 4, 483-500 p.
Keyword [en]
postcolonialism, world literature, translation, Mia Couto, Assia Djebar
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97553DOI: 10.1080/1369801X.2013.851825ISI: 000337903400002OAI: diva2:678957
Available from: 2013-12-13 Created: 2013-12-13 Last updated: 2014-08-04Bibliographically approved

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Helgesson, Stefan
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