Postcolonial Melancholia

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Columbia University Press, 2005 - Philosophy - 170 pages
2 Reviews

In an effort to deny the ongoing effect of colonialism and imperialism on contemporary political life, the death knell for a multicultural society has been sounded from all sides. That's the provocative argument Paul Gilroy makes in this unorthodox defense of the multiculture. Gilroy's searing analyses of race, politics, and culture have always remained attentive to the material conditions of black people and the ways in which blacks have defaced the "clean edifice of white supremacy." In Postcolonial Melancholia, he continues the conversation he began in the landmark study of race and nation 'There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack' by once again departing from conventional wisdom to examine -- and defend -- multiculturalism within the context of the post-9/11 "politics of security."

This book adapts the concept of melancholia from its Freudian origins and applies it not to individual grief but to the social pathology of neoimperialist politics. The melancholic reactions that have obstructed the process of working through the legacy of colonialism are implicated not only in hostility and violence directed at blacks, immigrants, and aliens but in an inability to value the ordinary, unruly multiculture that has evolved organically and unnoticed in urban centers. Drawing on the seminal discussions of race begun by Frantz Fanon, W. E. B. DuBois, and George Orwell, Gilroy crafts a nuanced argument with far-reaching implications. Ultimately, Postcolonial Melancholia goes beyond the idea of mere tolerance to propose that it is possible to celebrate the multiculture and live with otherness without becoming anxious, fearful, or violent.

  

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Review: Postcolonial Melancholia (Wellek Library Lectures in Critical Theory)

User Review  - Phil - Goodreads

A very readable work by Gilroy, this theoretical text examines Britain as a post-colonial site. Gilroy looks at race relations in post-imperial Britain, and examines struggles to redefine 'Britishness' after disappearance of empire and ethnic homogeneity in England. Read full review

Review: Postcolonial Melancholia (Wellek Library Lectures in Critical Theory)

User Review  - Steven Salaita - Goodreads

A good nonfiction read. Though it occupies categories of postcolonial and critical theory, it is readable and well-written. Gilroy is a sharp observer of the politics of race; he mostly locates his ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction On Living with Difference
1
The Planet
27
Race and the Right to Be Human
29
Cosmopolitanism Contested
58
Albion
85
Has It Come to This?
87
The Negative Dialectics of Conviviality
121
Notes
153
Acknowledgments
161
Index
163
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Paul Gilroy is the Anthony Giddens Professor of Social Theory at the London School of Economics.