Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Diasporic Mediations

Between Home and Location

1996
Author:

Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan

Diasporic Mediations

A series of meditations on the relationship between theory and practice.

In the heated, often rancorous debates that are the “culture wars,” identity politics has been at the center of both popular and academic discussion. In this series of meditations on the relationship between theory and practice, R. Radhakrishnan probes the intersections of poststructuralism and postcoloniality that lie at the heart of contemporary controversies over identity and difference.

In Diasporic Mediations, R. Radhakrishnan explores issues of identity, belonging and race in the post-colonial world. Radhakrishnan has made thinking about identity and belonging fun again, just as I was beginning to tire of the plethora of identity issues that seem to plague immigrants like myself.

Pacific Reader

In the heated, often rancorous debates that are the “culture wars,” identity politics has been at the center of both popular and academic discussion. In this series of meditations on the relationship between theory and practice, R. Radhakrishnan probes the intersections of poststructuralism and postcoloniality that lie at the heart of contemporary controversies over identity and difference.

Diasporic Mediations records Radhakrishnan's attempt to make theory accountable to the world, even while eschewing narrow methodologies or “isms.” Rather than embracing one totalizing point of view, these essays move in the spaces “between” to establish a productive dialogue between different disciplines and critical practices-to elaborate what the author calls “common ground.” Considering issues of location, language, tradition, gender, ethnicity, nationalism, colonialism, culture, and history, Radhakrishnan reclaims poststructuralism as a tool for both understanding postcolonial reality and working for social change. Diasporic location functions in this book as a perennially negotiated borderland-a real and symbolic space that adjudicates between solidarity and critique.

Radhakrishnan's engagement with theory is always motivated by a desire both to build bridges with other communities of color and to engage in meaningful and constructive dialogue. He is particularly concerned with coalition, with overcoming compartmentalization and drawing fragmented movements together into if not a common cause, at least a common set of concerns. Radhakrishnan is adept at synthesizing current debates, reframing questions raised by them so that practical issues can be better understood. Momentous and wise, Diasporic Mediations provides thought-provoking considerations of contemporary issues surrounding identity, serving as a map of the postcolonial condition, or, in the author's words, of how to be “both past- and future-oriented within the history of the present.”

Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan is professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In the heated, often rancorous debates that are the “culture wars,” identity politics has been at the center of both popular and academic discussion. In this series of meditations on the relationship between theory and practice, R. Radhakrishnan probes the intersections of poststructuralism and postcoloniality that lie at the heart of contemporary controversies over identity and difference.

Diasporic Mediations records Radhakrishnan's attempt to make theory accountable to the world, even while eschewing narrow methodologies or “isms.” Rather than embracing one totalizing point of view, these essays move in the spaces “between” to establish a productive dialogue between different disciplines and critical practices-to elaborate what the author calls “common ground.” Considering issues of location, language, tradition, gender, ethnicity, nationalism, colonialism, culture, and history, Radhakrishnan reclaims poststructuralism as a tool for both understanding postcolonial reality and working for social change.

Momentous and wise, Diasporic Mediations provides thought-provoking considerations of contemporary issues surrounding identity, serving as a map of the postcolonial condition, or, in the author's words, of how to be “both past- and future-oriented within the history of the present.”

Diasporic Mediations

Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan is professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Diasporic Mediations

In Diasporic Mediations, R. Radhakrishnan explores issues of identity, belonging and race in the post-colonial world. Radhakrishnan has made thinking about identity and belonging fun again, just as I was beginning to tire of the plethora of identity issues that seem to plague immigrants like myself.

Pacific Reader

Diasporic Mediations is a collection of judicious critical reflections on the ethics of ethnic identities by one of our most original and compelling critics at work in the academy. A germinal statement about the postcolonial condition of the intellectual at the end of this century.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. , W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University

Diasporic Mediations is Radhakrishnan’s attempt to find a still (not static) moment in the worldly traffic of cultural displacement. Riding high on the juggernaut of ‘theory’, communicating through the post-al system, does not always drive the political point home. But where is ‘home’ in the multivalent locations of cultural diaspora? Who can speak for-or from-the doubling locations of ‘here’ and ‘there’? These compelling questions are posed here with clarity and rare feeling, calling upon the complexities of a personal predicament while facing the complexities of a more public, even professional, life beyond.

Homi K. Bhabha, University of Chicago

A moving book, where a father and son who has broken the continuity of location attempts to come to terms with it within the urgency of current theoretical and political debates. Diasporic Mediations raises questions we must learn to ask today.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University