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by Aijaz Ahmad

  • ISBN: 0860916774
  • Category: Fiction
  • Author: Aijaz Ahmad
  • Subcategory: History & Criticism
  • Other formats: mobi lrf mobi lrf
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Verso (May 17, 1994)
  • Pages: 364 pages
  • FB2 size: 1365 kb
  • EPUB size: 1741 kb
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Votes: 336
Download In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (Cultural Studies) fb2

Classes, nations, literatures .

Classes, nations, literatures. pdf - Free ebook download as PDF File . df), Text File . xt) or read book online for free. N AT I 0 N s THEORY LITERATURES A I A Z AHMAD In Theory Classes, Nations, Literatures.

Erudite and lucid, Ahmad's remapping of the terrain of cultural theory is certain to provoke passionate response. Setting himself against the growing tendency to homogenize "Third World" literature and cultures, Aijaz Ahmad has produced a spirited critique of the major theoretical statements on "colonial discourse" and "post-colonialism," dismantling many of the commonplaces and conceits that dominate contemporary cultural criticism.

Recommend this journal.

In Theory : Nations, Classes, Literature. This work provides a critique of the major theoretical statements on colonial discourse and post-colonialism, aiming to dismantle many of the commonplaces and conceits that dominate contemporary cultural theory.

Aijaz Ahmad is a renowned cultural theorist who has taught in several western .

Aijaz Ahmad is a renowned cultural theorist who has taught in several western and Indian universities. A frequent contributor to Frontline magazine, he currently lives in New Delhi. This publication of "In Theory: Nations, Classes, Literatures" is a reprint from Aijaz Ahmad's essential 1992 critique on postcolonial thought and the associated 'Third Worldism' of the First World intellectuals. Writing from a consistent and sensible Marxist perspective, Ahmad, a Pakistani working in India, criticizes the one-sidedness and posturing prevalent in so much hip academic postcolonial theory.

Nations, Classes, Literatures. Ahmad reworks the terrain of cultural theory in this spirited critique. An erudite and brilliant work - one of the few books in recent years on politics, and literature, which deserves to be taken completely seriously. Part of the Radical Thinkers series. A brilliant polemic which remorselessly undoes some Western illusions about post-colonial societies. Times Literary Supplement.

In his book In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures, Ahmad primarily discusses the role of theory and theorists in the movement against colonialism and imperialism. Ahmad's argument against those who uphold poststructuralism and postmodernist conceptions of material history revolves around the fact that very little has been accomplished since the advent of this brand of postcolonial inquiry.

Issues of Class and Culture: An Interview with Aijaz Ahmad. India-Social aspects. In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (Book)-Criticism and interpretation. By Meiksins Wood, Ellen. In its beginnings Cultural Studies was quite aware of all this, and some have sought to remain true to those very prosaic origins. Questia is operated by Cengage Learning.

MFS Modern Fiction Studies. MFS Modern Fiction Studies. Johns Hopkins University Press. Volume 39, Number 1, Spring 1993.

After the Second World War, nationalism emerged as the principle expression of resistance to Western imperialism in a variety of regions from the Indian subcontinent to Africa, to parts of Latin America and the Pacific Rim. With the Bandung Conference and the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement, many of Europe’s former colonies banded together to form a common bloc, aligned with neither the advanced capitalist “First World” nor with the socialist “Second World.” In this historical context, the category of “Third World literature” emerged, a category that has itself spawned a whole industry of scholarly and critical studies, particularly in the metropolitan West, but increasingly in the homelands of the Third World itself.Setting himself against the growing tendency to homogenize “Third World” literature and cultures, Aijaz Ahmad has produced a spirited critique of the major theoretical statements on “colonial discourse” and “post-colonialism,” dismantling many of the commonplaces and conceits that dominate contemporary cultural criticism. With lengthy considerations of, among others, Fredric Jameson, Edward Said, and the Subaltern Studies group, In Theory also contains brilliant analyses of the concept of Indian literature, of the genealogy of the term “Third World,” and of the conditions under which so-called “colonial discourse theory” emerged in metropolitan intellectual circles.Erudite and lucid, Ahmad’s remapping of the terrain of cultural theory is certain to provoke passionate response.
Reviews about In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (Cultural Studies) (5):
Eng.Men
A must read for those seeking to solidify the struggle agaisnt neoliberalism in this war of ideas. Ahmad takes the reader through a wide array of theories as he drives home the poignant realities about post-colonial societies.
Sataxe
This publication of "In Theory: Nations, Classes, Literatures" is a reprint from Aijaz Ahmad's essential 1992 critique on postcolonial thought and the associated 'Third Worldism' of the First World intellectuals. Writing from a consistent and sensible Marxist perspective, Ahmad, a Pakistani working in India, criticizes the one-sidedness and posturing prevalent in so much hip academic postcolonial theory. Although the book itself is not entirely free of the terrible use of language that is the hallmark of this theoretical approach, with the occasional "discourse", "mapping" and "interrogating" making their appearance, Ahmad succeeds very well at dissecting the errors and bad faith that are at the core of the postcolonial enterprise in Western academia.

The first of these errors is the idealism of postcolonial theory. That is, postcolonial theorists are uninterested in economics, in politics, even in such simple things as facts and causes; all these are mere 'narratives', and any attempt at systematically analyzing those or bringing them into an analysis of literature is to be derided as 'totalizing narratives', the gravest crime in this branch of academia. As a result, each text and each author is a disembodied whole. No understanding of nation or class exists, because all analyses are just narratives, and as a result all theory is reduced to stories about stories, with no end and no beginning, and no grounding in any reality. At the same time, Ahmad notes that they tend to support the concept of 'Third World literature' or 'Subaltern studies', implying that there is a unity in the developing world that makes any text from there, or in some arbitrary manner associated with it, subversive and superior for that reason alone. This completely ignores the great differentiation in class, culture, politics and religion that exists within and between the various developing natures. It also utterly fails to properly analyze the position of given 'Third World writers' within this - Ahmad points to the case of Rabindranath Tagore, who is considered a canonical 'Subaltern' writer, despite the fact that within the context of Indian literature his works are considered conservative and elite. As Aijaz Ahmad notes, it is no coincidence that much of this postcolonial paradigm has been and is being produced by academics who are emigrants from developing nations within the developed world, and as relatively upper class people from poor countries benefit the most from a mode of analysis that contrasts only the West and the rest (in favor of the latter), while ignoring or denying any internal differentiations.

Much of the book is taken up by a systematic study of the works of Fredric Jameson, Edward Said and Salman Rushdie in this context. Rushdie gets a short treatment, where Ahmad relativizes his importance in literature and somewhat gratuitously accuses him of poorly portraying women. Jameson he criticizes for using the concept of the three worlds in such a manner that he conceives of the First as capitalist, the Second as socialist, and the Third as fundamentally neither. Ahmad correctly objects that the Third is just as capitalist as the rest, but simply suffers a more backwards capitalism, and that therefore to read one 'Third World literature' of nationalism into the varied texts from these nations is to fundamentally misunderstand their political economic position. It is however somewhat confusing that Ahmad himself takes 'Three Worlds Theory' the preposterous idea of late Maoism that the 'Second world' was imperialist like the First and therefore didn't really count; only at the end of the book does he differentiate this from the common use of the worlds for the different development positions relatively, which is the sense I use it. In that context the somewhat dated nature of the book can be noted, since the 'Second World' has entirely lost its reality in the sense Ahmad uses it. Moreover, 'Third Worldism' in the sense of anti-imperialism is a real politics and has a distinct relation to a materialist and empirical approach of the kind he favors. Ahmad does go into it somewhat, but since the focus is on literature only, there is not much room to go into this use of the term.

Along the same lines, the book also contains a discussion of Marx' articles on India, where Ahmad defends Marx from an all too easy reading of his works as Orientalist in the sense of Edward Said, whose many inconsistencies and contradictions with regard to his own position on the 'Third World' he deftly exposes. Finally, there is a chapter that goes into his proposal for a program to study (more) systematically the comparative literature of India with an eye to the idea of an 'Indian literature'. This essay is interesting and fits the theme of the book, but very much written for insiders - much of it will be difficult to follow if you are not quite familiar with Indian literature and Indian history already.

It is a pity that Ahmad does not go into major postcolonial academic authors in more depth - it would have been highly useful if he could have thoroughly criticized the likes of Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak and other charlatans from the perspective of a materialism that understands the way in which all text is embedded in a real social context from which it cannot be dislodged. Similarly, one would wish he had gone more into the issue of why postcolonial theory and its relatives, postmodernism and poststructuralism, are characterized by such awful writing, unnecessary overabstraction and deliberately nebulous use of terms. There is much to be said about the way in which this constitutes a conscious retreat of academic domains that used to be critical, under pressure from liberal resurgence on the one hand and loss of faith in the power of facts to confirm and defend the leftist worldview on the other hand. But again, this book was published in 1992 and much of this is a development that reached its apogee after it. It is precisely the force of Ahmad's critique and the fresh air he lets into the stale basement of postcolonialism that make one want to read more.
Huston
The book was as good as new when it arrived. Great book, an absolute must read piece of literary theory, especially for anybody interested in Indian Literature.
Ttexav
Though first released in 1992, Aijaz Ahmad's In Theory retains today the same theoretical relevance as when it first appeared. Ahmad is mad as hell with the state of postcolonial theory, and he's not taking it anymore. Beginning with a survey of developments in world capitalism and literary theory, Ahmad goes on to produce in depth readings of several exemplars of postcolonialism, most notably Edward Said and Salman Rushdie. Also incuded is Ahamd's devastating polemic against Fredric Jameson's theory of the "national allegory" in third world literature.

All in all, this is a brilliant collection of essays, and a necessary step towards a theorization of imperialism and its effects. That said, it has a few flaws. Most notable is Ahmad's tendentious soft Stalinism. Whenever a theorist he discusses refers to the Soviet Union as imperialist, Ahmad, for whatever reason, feels compelled to point out that this is really an echo of the "Maoist theory of convergence." In 2008, fighting the Sino-Soviet feud is even less relevant than it was in 1992.
Mogelv
Aijaz Ahmad is one of those critics who are not afraid of exposing the shortcomings of any despotic cultural signifier. Ahmad is a Marxist critic and, in this book, has exposed the essentialism in the thought of Fredric Jameson, Edward Said and many others. The book is a must read for anybody interested in postcolonial literatures, critical theory, cultural studies, Indian literature in English, Marxism and neo-colonialism.

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