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Reclaiming the Global Sphere

2012/10/09

‘Narratives of Difference’ in the Global Marketplace University of Northampton October 25

online FINAL pdf

Accepting that globalization involves a struggle over knowledge of global affairs, in which imperialist rhetorics survive in updated forms and market place logics play a dominant role, this paper asks where postcolonial studies should go from here in reclaiming the global sphere for non-commodified narratives of difference. Neither narratives of difference nor postcolonial knowledge formations are exempt from the push and pull of global market forces. Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s critique of the long Western tradition of “trading the Other” and Graham Huggan’s analysis of “the postcolonial exotic” have identified some of the limitations of narratives of difference as currently employed. In search of alternatives, Gayatri Spivak directs attention to “planetarity”, a mode of thinking best approached through the precapitalist cultures of the planet, and advocates transnational literacy as a mode of training the imagination to discover alternatives in a world where neoliberal globalization has “privatized the imagination and pitted it against the political” (37-8). This paper will survey the potential of Spivak’s turn to indigenous imaginaries through her cryptic invocation of the ghost dance by engaging with the work of contemporary indigenous writers who seek alternatives to both poststructuralist and postcolonial theories within their own locally-based cosmologies. In a spirit resistant to the contemporary settler embrace of hauntology, Cree writer Tomson Highway and Noongar novelist Kim Scott remodel indigenous dance and engagement with the ancestors to reclaim both the local spirits of the land and the global sphere as sites of ethical responsibility.

Works Cited
Highway, Tomson. Kiss of the Fur Queen. Toronto: Doubleday, 1998.

Huggan, Graham. The Postcolonial Exotic. London: Routledge, 2001.

Scott, Kim. That Deadman Dance. New York: Picador, 2010.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. Decolonizing Methodologies. London: Zed, 1999.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. Death of a Discipline. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

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