Spectral Nationality: Passages of Freedom from Kant to Postcolonial Literatures of Liberation
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.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
activity actual alien artificial auto-causality become bildungsroman bourgeoisie Cambridge capital causality civil society colonial concept concrete constitution cosmopolitan Critique culture’s death decolonizing decolonizing nation deterritorialized economic epigenesis existence external Fichte Fichte’s finitude German German idealism global György Márkus haunting Hegel Hence Hereafter cited heteronomy human idea ideal ideology incarnation Indies individual Indonesian internal Javanese Kant Kant’s labor language living nation machine Marx Marx’s Marxist Matigari mechanism mediation Minke Minke’s moral freedom nation-people national Bildung national culture nationalist native nature’s neocolonial Ngu˜g˜ı objective one’s ontological organic organicism organismic causality organismic metaphor original Pangemanann people’s philosophy political body political organicism postcolonial postcolonial nationalism Pramoedya Pramoedya Ananta Toer priyayi proletarian prosthesis public sphere purposiveness quartet radical reality reason revolutionary self-actualization self-recursive social spectrality state’s struggle sublated techne technic of nature teleological theory tion trans transcendence transform understanding unity University Press vitalism whole