Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement

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Duke University Press, Aug 21, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 238 pages
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DIVContemporary theory is replete with metaphors of travel—displacement, diaspora, borders, exile, migration, nomadism, homelessness, and tourism to name a few. In Questions of Travel, Caren Kaplan explores the various metaphoric uses of travel and displacement in literary and feminist theory, traces the political implications of this “traveling theory,” and shows how various discourses of displacement link, rather than separate, modernism and postmodernism.
Addressing a wide range of writers, including Paul Fussell, Edward Said, James Clifford, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Gayatri Spivak, Edward Soja, Doreen Massey, Chandra Mohanty, and Adrienne Rich, Kaplan demonstrates that symbols and metaphors of travel are used in ways that obscure key differences of power between nationalities, classes, races, and genders. Neither rejecting nor dismissing the powerful testimony of individual experiences of modern exile or displacement, Kaplan asks how mystified metaphors of travel might be avoided. With a focus on theory’s colonial discourses, she reveals how these metaphors continue to operate in the seemingly liberatory critical zones of poststructuralism and feminist theory. The book concludes with a critique of the politics of location as a form of essentialist identity politics and calls for new feminist geographies of place and displacement.
An important and timely intervention into contemporary theoretical debates, Questions of Travel will be of interest to scholars in a wide variety of disciplines, including literary criticism, cultural studies, feminist theory, colonial and postcolonial studies, geography, anthropology, and sociology.
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Contents

THIS QUESTION OF MOVING Modernist ExilePostmodern Tourism
27
BECOMING NOMAD Poststructuralist Deterritorializations
65
TRAVELING THEORISTS Cosmopolitan Diasporas
101
POSTMODERN GEOGRAPHIES Feminist Politics of Location
143
NOTES
189
BIBLIOGRAPHY
211
INDEX
233
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About the author (1996)

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Caren Kaplan is Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. She is coeditor (with Inderpal Grewal) of Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices and Between Woman and Nation (with Norma Alarcón and Minoo Moallem).

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