Absolutely postcolonial

Writing between the singular and the specific

By Peter Hallward

Absolutely postcolonial

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6126-4
  • Pages: 456
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: January 2002
  • BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: post-colonial literature, Literature & literary studies / Literary theory, LITERARY CRITICISM / General, LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory, Literary studies: post-colonial literature, Literature: history & criticism, Literature
  • Series: Angelaki Humanities


We may yet find a precise use for the notoriously elusive category 'postcolonial', but only on the condition that we abandon its usual associations with plurality, fragmentation, particularity and resistance. This book argues that the category is best used to describe an ultimately singular configuration. A singularity is something that generates the medium of its own existence, in the eventual absence of external criteria and other existences. Like other singularities - pertinent comparisons include aspects of Buddhism and Islam, as well as concepts drawn from the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou - what is distinctive about a postcolonial discourse or literature is its abstraction from the domain of relationality. Here, Hallward offers a new conceptual distinction between singular and specific modes of differentiation, which should prove influential in a range of discourses.


A brilliant refusal of its established terms of engagement, this book marks a major advance in thinkin g through and beyond postcolonial theory., Diana Brydon, Professor of English, University of Western Ontario|Peter Hallward's book is perhaps the key theoretico-political intervention of the last decade - one of those few where one cannot but exclaim: 'Finally the word we were all secretly waiting for!' One can only hope that his critique of postcolonial theory will set in motion the much-delayed liberation of teh academic Left from the postmodern jargon which has long dominated cultural studies. If ever a book was a weapon, this is it!, Slavoj Zizek, Institute for Social Studies, Ljubljana|This monumental study transforms the terms within which critical understanding of postcolonial culture has been conducted. Lucid, difficult, highly original and sometimes contentious, Hallward's stimulating book provides a new bench-mark for all future debate in this field., Paul Gilroy, Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Yale University|Bringing a real philosophical intelligence to bear on the field, this extremely important book is a singular intervention in every sense of the word., Keith Ansell Pearson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick


Introduction: Singular or specific?
1. Postcolonial theory
2. Edouard Glissant: from nation to Relation
3. Charles Johnson and the transcendence of place
4. Mohammed Dib and the 'alarm al-mithral: between the singular and the specific
5. Severo Sarduy: sunyata and beyond


Peter Hallward is Professor Of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London, and is the author of Subject to Truth: The Philosophy of Alain Badiou (2002)

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