Humanism After Colonialism

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Peter Lang, 2006 - Philosophy - 318 pages
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This study provides a wide-ranging critique of contemporary anti-humanist postcolonial theory. By charting a genealogy of the complicity of humanism and oppression in the New World, this analysis highlights the process of consolidation of a racialised, autonomous and rational modern subject as well as the existence of a fractured modernity. Situating contemporary Derridean critiques of humanism within the Hegelian tradition, this work demonstrates that post-modern anti-essentialism does not succeed in escaping totalisation. Furthermore, it contextualises the fractured modernity of the Western humanist tradition in relation to the works of key twentieth-century thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, Hannah Arendt and Emmanuel Levinas, arguing that these authors problematise the common reduction of humanism to a totalising outlook, due to their revelation of the gaps and fissures prevalent in the modern. Combining insights drawn from Fanon’s emphasis on lived experience, Arendt’s enlarged mentality and Levinas’s non-ontological transcendence, this study aims to deconstruct the complicity between humanism and colonialism.

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About the author (2006)

The Author: Claudia Alvares obtained her Ph.D. from Goldsmith’s College, University of London, in June 2001. She is currently Associate Professor in Culture and Communication at the Communication and Information Department of Lusofona University, Lisbon, Portugal.

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