Beyond Dichotomies: Histories, Identities, Cultures, and the by M. Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi

By M. Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi

Confronts the cultural demanding situations of globalization.

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Extra resources for Beyond Dichotomies: Histories, Identities, Cultures, and the Challenge of Globalization (Explorations in Postcolonial Studies)

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It left out, by definition also, populations—often the same—that were not thought to be worthy of self-sovereignty. Indeed, sovereignty and the capacity for progress went hand in hand in North Atlantic social thought, if not from the days of Las Casas, certainly at least from the days of Condorcet. The project also left out the populations—again, often the same—that were thought to be (or, later on, chose to be) outside of the capitalist order as defined from the North Atlantic. Tailing along, fighting for their own institutional space and microsites of power, the humanities tended to mimic the parcellation of the social sciences.

To deploy the terms center and periphery is of course to revive a vocabulary now seen as anachronistic, supposedly replaced by an unaligned concept of globalization. I wish to suggest, however, that it is arbitrary and unnecessary to regard the concept of globalization as replacing a center-periphery perspective. Indeed, to do so reauthorizes the center to function unmarked as a center. Perhaps this concern lies behind the recent emergence of the dyad “North” and “South”—capitalized—in place of the vocabularies of center-periphery and first, second, and third worlds.

Yet what is more grounded in locality and historicity than the claim of the Zapatistas? 4. Yet some of these are rather obvious: England’s difficulties in sustaining the Commonwealth as an economic and intellectual umbrella; the uncontested dominance of English as the Latin of the late twentieth century; the ideological and personnel relay points between the United Kingdom and the United States—from Thatcher–Reagan to Clinton–Blair—however weak the structural parallels; and the conditions of academic production in the United States, including the politics of racism, all seem parts of a landscape begging for critical description.

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