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Postcolonial Biology

Psyche and Flesh after Empire

2017
Author:

Deepika Bahri

Postcolonial Biology

Rethinking the body of the colonized and its ongoing transformation in today’s global order

In Postcolonial Biology, Deepika Bahri investigates how minds and bodies have been shaped by colonial contact, to create deeply embedded hierarchies among the colonized. Moving beyond “North/South” thinking, Bahri reframes the questions of postcolonial bodies to address all societies, whether developed or developing, and brings an important new focus to the field of postcolonial studies.

For over a decade now I have turned to Deepika Bahri's work in the confident expectation that it will surprise, instruct, and persuade. Postcolonial Biology does just that. It is interdisciplinary in the most robust sense as Bahri invites us to think 'postcolonial biology' through the lenses provided by thinkers and by modes of enquiry that are not often aggregated together. Beautifully written and a pleasure to read, it promises to unsettle the terrain of postcolonial theory and literary criticism.

Parama Roy, University of California, Davis

Although the body has been a vast subject for postcolonial studies, few theorists have attempted to go beyond the simple mixing of races in examining the impact of colonialism on the colonized body. However, as Deepika Bahri argues, it is essential to see the postcolonial body in a variety of forms: as capable of transformation not only in psyche and outward behavior but also in flesh and blood.

European colonizers brought new ways of seeing the body in matters as basic as how to eat, speak, sit, shit, or spit. As nations decolonized, these imperialistic ideas remained, becoming part of the global economy of the body. In Postcolonial Biology, Bahri argues that the political challenges of the twenty-first century require that we deconstruct these imperial notions of the body, as they are fundamental to power structures governing today’s globalized world.

Postcolonial Biology investigates how minds and bodies have been shaped by colonial contact, to create deeply embedded hierarchies among the colonized. Moving beyond “North/South” thinking, Bahri reframes the questions of postcolonial bodies to address all societies, whether developed or developing. Engaging in innovative, highly original readings of major thinkers such as Adorno, Horkheimer, Derrida, and Fanon, this book brings an important new focus to the field of postcolonial studies—one that is essential to understanding the ideas and conflicts that currently dominate the global order.

Postcolonial Biology

Deepika Bahri is associate professor of English and core faculty member in comparative literature at Emory University. She is author of Native Intelligence (Minnesota, 2003) and coeditor of Between the Lines and The Realms of Rhetoric.

Postcolonial Biology

For over a decade now I have turned to Deepika Bahri's work in the confident expectation that it will surprise, instruct, and persuade. Postcolonial Biology does just that. It is interdisciplinary in the most robust sense as Bahri invites us to think 'postcolonial biology' through the lenses provided by thinkers and by modes of enquiry that are not often aggregated together. Beautifully written and a pleasure to read, it promises to unsettle the terrain of postcolonial theory and literary criticism.

Parama Roy, University of California, Davis

Postcolonial Biology

Contents
Prologue: Oh! Calcutta!
Introduction: Plasticity, Hybridity, and Postcolonial Biology
1. “No Escape from Form”: Saleem’s Spittoon, Padma’s Musculature, and Neoliberal Hybridity in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children
2. Shibboleth: Hybridity, Diaspora, and Passing in Hari Kunzru’s The Impressionist
3. Conan Doyle Plays Sherlock: The Unofficial Englishmen in Julian Barnes’s Arthur & George
Epilogue: The Good Life
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index