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The Politics of Postcolonialism: Empire, Nation and Resistance
Rumina Sethi

Paperback | 9780745323633 | £17.99 / $28
Hardback | 9780745323640 | £60 / $90

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‘This book develops an argument that is both even-handed and radical. Rumina Sethi explores the history and the difficulties of post-colonial theory and without jettisoning its value she urges quite fresh thinking about its political and social implications.’ — Dame Gillian Beer, King Edward VII Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge

‘Rumina Sethi challenges postcolonial critics to put their feet back on the ground and to link the postcolonial once again to the political activism by which it has always been inspired.’ — Robert J.C. Young, Julius Silver Professor of English & Comparative Literature at New York University

‘”If postcolonial studies is to be relevant today,” Rumina Sethi argues, “it must become the voice of the people and theorize about movements against globalization, not become part of its grand design.” Her critical analysis of the “politics of postcolonialism” and the lack of constructive dialogue with the Marxist perspective, interweaving with analysis of globalization and the state of “postcoloniality,” seeks to overcome the academic ossification of concepts that should be integrated with social change and activism.’ — Noam Chomsky


In a period of global restructuring, unrestricted capital has eroded the traditional distinctions between nations and nationhood. In ‘The Politics of Postcolonialism’, Rumina Sethi devises a new form of postcolonial studies that makes sense of these dramatic changes.

Returning to the origins of the discipline, Sethi identifies it as a tool for political protest and activism among people of the third world. Using a sophisticated mix of spatial theory and local politics, she examines the uneven terrain of contemporary anti-capitalism and political upsurges in Africa, Asia and Latin America, emphasising postcolonial politics, dissent and resistance. Her analysis shows that as the traditional means of direct political control have largely lost their hold, postcolonial cultures, now dominated by neoliberalism, need to seek fresh ways to express their discontent.

This original and persuasive work frees the discipline from its current preoccupation with hybridity and multiculturalism, giving students of politics, cultural studies and international relations a new perspective on postcolonialism.

RUMINA SETHI is a Professor in the department of English and Cultural Studies at Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. She is the author of ‘Myths of the Nation: National Identity and Literary Representation’ (1999). She wrote her doctoral thesis atTrinityCollege,Cambridge, and was a British Academy Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford. She was awarded the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 2006.




1. Postcolonialism and its Discontents: An introduction
2. The End of the Nation?
3. Globalization and Protest
4. The United States and Postcolonialism
5. Conclusion: New Directions



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