This collection of essays is concerned,
explicitly and implicitly, with two particular issues in postcolonial studies:
first, the shaping by northern institutions of a field located experientially
and materially in the South of the world; second, a tendency of postcolonial
studies to elevate theory or, at least, symptomatic analysis over and above
attention to the subjective expression, the literary expression, of people's
essays focus on South Africa in relation to both Africa and the West.
It is suggested that a global epoch in the new millennium requires not
the binary oppositions of empires writing back to the centre (Rushdie's
formulation), but more complicated interactions of South and North. We are reminded that Said's Orientalism (1978) - the text marked by
the North as the beginning of postcolonial studies - was anticipated by several
critical contributions from the peripheries including Achebe's attack on racial
stereotyping in Conrad's Heart of
a literary turn lending coherence to South/African perspectives the essays,
which are summarised in the Introduction, range from the difficulties and
challenges of settler identity, through the emergence of independent (or
compromised?) African and diasporic voices, to the ‘postcolonialising' of Noble
laureates Nadine Gordimer and J.M. Coetzee.
from Popescu's essay, which appeared in Current
Writing (19.1.2007), the other essays originally appeared in English in Africa (19.1.2006).
Acknowledgment is accorded both journals.