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Dialogics of the Oppressed

1992
Author:

Peter Hitchcock

Dialogics of the Oppressed

“Presents a provocative set of readings-through the Bakhtinian model of dialogism-of texts by four women writers of the twentieth century. . . instructive and compelling.” --Barbara Harlow

“Presents a provocative set of readings-through the Bakhtinian model of dialogism-of texts by four women writers of the twentieth century. . . instructive and compelling.” --Barbara Harlow

...An amazingly rigourous study of the implications for cultural studies entailed by Bakhtin’s discusisons of the 'struggle over sign.'

The Bakhtin Newsletter

Formulated within and against the context of Russian formalism that became the backbone of semiotics, Mikhail Bahktin’s work has enabled contemporary critical theories to return to specific sociopolitical and historical moments that had been closed off by formalist abstractions. In Dialogics of the Oppressed, Peter Hitchcock looks through the lens of Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism for an analysis of subaltern writing. Rather than assume an integral “subaltern subject” as the object of analysis, Hitchcock - in case studies of four global feminists, Nawal el Saadawi, Pat Barker, Zhang Jie, and Agnes Smedley - emphasizes the cultural agency of the subaltern and shows the political implications this agency might have for literary analysis in general and cultural studies in particular.

“Presents a provocative set of readings-through the Bakhtinian model of dialogism-of texts by four women writers of the twentieth century. . . instructive and compelling.” Barbara Harlow
University of Texas

Dialogics of the Oppressed argues from an internationalistic perspective to underline that the heterogeneity of dialogic feminism itself constitutes a significant array of discursive resistance to the hegemony of disciplines and so-called area studies operative in the metropolitan First World academy. Hitchcock demonstrates through dialogic analyses of the writings of these four feminists that a form of multicultural materialism can itself disrupt the restrictive logics and practices of literary studies in the Western academy, and that indeed, there is a counterlogic in the culture of the subaltern. Hitchcock’s underlying objective is the development of a powerful critique of the epistemological bases of the academy that marginalize and devalorize certain cultural productions and subjects, as well as a cognitive mapping of the politics of pedagogy in current transformations of disciplinarity.

Peter Hitchcock is associate professor of literary and cultural studies at Baruch College of the City University of New York. He is the author of Working-Class Fiction in Theory and Practice and has published essays on radical writing, multiculturalism, film, and Third World fiction.

Dialogics of the Oppressed

Peter Hitchcock (Professor, Baruch College and the Graduate School) has taught in CUNY since 1988. He has been a Visiting Professor at SUNY Stony Brook, Beijing University, and Shanghai University.

He studies literary and cultural theory, twentieth century film and literature (American, European, Asian, and African), and the work ofMikhail Bakhtin.

He is the author of four books: Working-Class Fiction in Theory and Practice; Dialogics of the Oppressed; Oscillate Wildly: Space, Body, and Spirit of Millennial Materialism; and Imaginary States: Studies in Cultural Transnationalism (forthcoming, Illinois).

He has edited and introduced a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly on Mikhail Bakhtin and is on the editorial boards of Dialogism and Cultural Logic. He has published around fifty articles in journals such as Modern Fiction Studies, Transition, Third Text, Rethinking Marxism, Research in African Literatures, Women's Studies Quarterly, Cultural Studies, Theory, Culture and Society, Twentieth Century Literature, as well as in a number of anthologies.

Dialogics of the Oppressed

...An amazingly rigourous study of the implications for cultural studies entailed by Bakhtin’s discusisons of the 'struggle over sign.'

The Bakhtin Newsletter

The breadth and conscientiousness of Hitchcock’s historical/cultural research underline his study’s implications for the disciplinary structure of literary studies. . . this kind of collaborative sharing of expertise is what it will take to hear subaltern voices without appropriating them. Dialogics of the Oppressed is a very important book in beginning such a transformation.

South Central Review

Peter Hitchcock has not only delivered the goods he has promised in this title, but he has gone far beyond and offered a timeless example of solidly-argued and politically-informed literary scholarship. . . he gracefully and ardently articulates his points, and when he makes (frequent) reference to the more insightful of those working in the fields of ‘cultural criticism’ he does so with insight, wit, and rigor.

Social Discourse

Peter Hitchcock’s analysis of four writers also problematizes the issue of agency by means of a Bakhtinian exegesis of such subaltern writers as Nawal el Saadawi, Pat Barker, Zhang Jie, and Agnes Smedley, Dialogics of the Oppressed highlights the importance of these particular female activist-writers who comprise ‘the most radical, social and cultural politics of our epoch’.

Modern Fiction Studies, Summer