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Spectral Nationality: Passages of Freedom from Kant to Postcolonial Literatures of Liberation / Edition 1
     

Spectral Nationality: Passages of Freedom from Kant to Postcolonial Literatures of Liberation / Edition 1

by Pheng Cheah
 

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ISBN-10: 0231130198

ISBN-13: 9780231130196

Pub. Date: 12/17/2003

Publisher: Columbia University Press

This far-ranging and ambitious attempt to rethink postcolonial theory's discussion of the nation and nationalism brings the problems of the postcolonial condition to bear on the philosophy of freedom. Closely identified with totalitarianism and fundamentalism, the nation-state has a tainted history of coercion, ethnic violence, and even, as in ultranationalist Nazi

Overview

This far-ranging and ambitious attempt to rethink postcolonial theory's discussion of the nation and nationalism brings the problems of the postcolonial condition to bear on the philosophy of freedom. Closely identified with totalitarianism and fundamentalism, the nation-state has a tainted history of coercion, ethnic violence, and even, as in ultranationalist Nazi Germany, genocide. Most contemporary theorists are therefore skeptical, if not altogether dismissive, of the idea of the nation and the related metaphor of the political body as an organism. Going against orthodoxy, Pheng Cheah retraces the universal-rationalist foundations and progressive origins of political organicism in the work of Kant and its development in philosophers in the German tradition such as Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. Cheah argues that the widespread association of freedom with the self-generating dynamism of life and culture's power of transcendence is the most important legacy of this tradition. Addressing this legacy's manifestations in Fanon and Cabral's theories of anticolonial struggle and contemporary anticolonial literature, including the Buru Quartet by Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and the Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong'o's nationalist novels, Cheah suggests that the profound difficulties of achieving freedom in the postcolonial world indicate the need to reconceptualize freedom in terms of the figure of the specter rather than the living organism.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231130196
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
12/17/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Death of the Nation?
Part I: Culture as Freedom: Territorializations and Deterritorializations
The Rationality of Life: On the Organismic Metaphor of the Social and Political Body
Kant's Cosmopolitanism and the Technic of Nature
Incarnations of the Ideal: Nation and State in Fichte and Hegel
Revolutions That Take Place in the Head: Marx and the National Question in Socialist Decolonizaton
Part II: Surviving (Postcoloniality)
Novel Nation: The Buildung of the Postcolonial Nation as Sociological Organism
The Haunting of the People: The Spectral Public Sphere in Pramoedya Ananta Toer's Buru Quartet
Afterlives: The Mutual Haunting of the State and Nation
The Neocolonial State and Other Prostheses of the Postcolonial National Body: Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Project of Revolutionary National Culture
Epilogue. Spectral Nationality: The Living-On of the Postcolonial Nation in Globalization

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