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Colonial Extensions, Postcolonial Decentrings

Cultures and Discourses on the Edge


Edited By Salhia Ben-Messahel and Vanessa Castejon

The essays assembled in this volume explore the meaning of the term "postcolonial" through various theoretical perspectives and disciplinary fields of expertise. They address issues ranging from culture, politics and history to literature and the arts, with particular emphasis on colonialist discourses within a postmodern and globalised world. Identity-formation, cultural space, indigeneity, colonial perspectives and anti-colonial struggles suggest that former imperial (and often marginalized) colonies/territories operate as decentring spaces, becoming dynamic postcolonial centres. The consequences of colonial history in postcolonial environments in the Americas, the Caribbean, the Middle East and the South Pacific regions are being analysed. This shows that postcolonial subjectivities call for a reconceptualization of the nation as political agency. The essays interrogate the social and psychological effects of colonialism, the political subjugation and instrumentalisation of colonial pasts and the perception of the self through the colonizer’s eyes, that may still surface in discourse on identity and belonging. The "postcolonial" is then a floating concept in a global environment where some individuals still experience a neo-colonial condition while others dismiss the colonial past but may yet re-enact colonial practices. The volume shows that the extension of a colonial centre, often raised in postcolonial criticism, is synonymous with the decentring of identity, and that the re-conceptualization of a Diasporic condition initiates a new postcolonial moment based in translation and on a new modernity.

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Dorris and Erdrich’s The Crown of Columbus, or Building Up a Hybrid Version of 1492 for a New, Mixed-Blood America (Elisabeth Bouzonviller)


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Dorris and Erdrich’s The Crown of Columbus, or Building Up a Hybrid Version of 1492 for a New, Mixed-Blood America


Université de St Etienne

Contemporary American novelist Louise Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe; She is from mixed origins: Ojibwe and French on her mother’s side and German on her father’s. Her husband, Michael Dorris, was from Modoc descent. He committed suicide in 1997 when they had already separated for a couple of years but at the beginning of Erdrich’s widely acclaimed literary career, which had started with her first novel Love Medicine in 1984, the couple was very much in the spotlight due to their unique collaborative technique in terms of writing and editing. Many interviews focused on their original literary partnership, as evidenced by the Chavkins’ collection of interviews from 1994. Whereas the couple had previously explained that they had always worked together in a very detailed way for each of their individual works, in 1991, they published The Crown of Columbus conjointly, both their names appearing for the first time on the same cover. They argued then that they had been thinking about this novel for a few years and that the book even suffered from its publication date (Chavkins, 1994: 164, 208-209). Yet it is obvious that Harper and Row publishing company was clever enough to boost their project by offering, in 1988, a surprising 1.5 million dollar advance,...

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