Postcolonial Theory and Autobiography
Routledge – 2008 – 200 pages
Cultural theory has often been criticized for covert Eurocentric and universalist tendencies. Its concepts and ideas are implicitly applicable to everyone, ironing over any individuality or cultural difference. Postcolonial theory has challenged these limitations of cultural theory, and Postcolonial Theory and Autobiography addresses the central challenge posed by its autobiographical turn.
Despite the fact that autobiography is frequently dismissed for its Western, masculine bias, David Huddart argues for its continued relevance as a central explanatory category in understanding postcolonial theory and its relation to subjectivity. Focusing on the influence of post-structuralist theory on postcolonial theory and vice versa, this study suggests that autobiography constitutes a general philosophical resistance to universal concepts and theories.
Offering a fresh perspective on familiar critical figures like Edward W. Said and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, by putting them in the context of readings of the work of Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and Alain Badiou, this book relates the theory of autobiography to expressions of new universalisms that, together with postcolonial theory, rethink and extend norms of experience, investigation, and knowledge.
"Although autobiography has been criticized as narrowly ethnocentric and paternalist and as promoting the view of the (masculine and Western) subject as universal, Huddart (English, Chinese U. of Hong Kong) suggests in contrast that autobiography can serve as a form of resistance to universalist concepts and theories. Engaging both post- structuralism and postcolonial theory in order to construct this argument, he conducts readings of such critical figures as Edward Said and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in the context of the writings of Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and Alain Badiou." -- Book News Inc., August 2008
1. Postcolonial Theories of Autobiography and Autobiography in Postcolonial Theory 2. Re-defining Autobiography 3. Inventing the Postcolonial Author 4. Writing Spirits Autobiography 5. 'Full Disclosure' and the Native Informant in Postcolonial Theory 6. Singularity and Postcolonial Exemplarity 7. Bibliography
David Huddart is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Homi K. Bhabha (Routledge, 2005). His research interests cover postcolonial literature, literary theory, and the history of English languages.