Andrea L. Smith uses history and ethnography to argue that scholars have failed to account for the effect of colonialism on Europe itself. She explores nostalgia and collective memory; the settlers' liminal position in the colony as subalterns and colonists; and selective forgetting, in which Malta replaces Algeria, the "true" homeland, which is now inaccessible, fraught with guilt and contradiction. The study provides insight into race, ethnicity, and nationalism in Europe as well as cultural context for understanding political trends in contemporary France.
Over the last thirty years, postcolonial critiques of European imperial practices have transformed our understanding of colonial ideology, resistance, and cultural contact. The Enlightenment has played a complex but often unacknowledged role in this discussion, alternately reviled and venerated as the harbinger of colonial dominion and avatar of liberation, as target and shield, as shadow and light. This volume brings together two arenas - eighteenth-century studies and postcolonial theory - in order to interrogate the role and reputation of Enlightenment in the context of early European colonial ambitions and postcolonial interrogations of Western imperial aspirations.
Through a case study of Sikhism, Mandair launches an extended critique of religion as a cultural universal. He shows how certain aspects of Sikh tradition were reinvented as "religion" during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Mandair rethinks the intersection of religion and the secular, which he shows to be linked to a philosophy of "generalized translation" that continues to influence the repetitions of religion and identity politics in the lives of South Asians.
"Ousmane Sembène ... made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl. Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot--about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally--into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world"