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Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies
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Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies [conference seminar and edited collection]
Postcolonial studies emerged as an academic discipline in the 1980s as figures like Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha adapted post-structural theory by Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan to examinations of the non-European world. But since the early 1990s, there has been a move towards more materialist approaches in postcolonial studies, including Marxist critiques of the field as well as increased interest in archival research and book history.
In the context of this interest in the material circumstances of literature’s production and circulation, the European theorist who has inspired the most innovative and important work in postcolonial studies in the twenty-first century has been Pierre Bourdieu. Yet despite the vast body of work on how post-structuralist theory has shaped and been adapted by postcolonial studies, few similar reflections have taken place on the rise of Bourdieu’s influence on the field. “Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies” will explore the reasons for this turn towards Bourdieu as well as its implications for our understanding both of Bourdieu’s work and of postcolonial studies as a field. In other words, we will take a sociological approach to the emergence of sociological approaches to postcolonial literature.
The first part of this project will involve a seminar at the 2014 American Comparative Literature Associate Conference in New York. The conference theme, “Capital,” provides a productive framework to discuss the forms of cultural capital circulating within postcolonial studies, both in terms of Bourdieu’s ideas as well as his authority. The ACLA’s seminar format, with participants meeting for three days for an intensive exploration of a common topic, also makes the conference ideal for the kind of intellectual exchange this project envisions. The conference seminar will include three panelists presenting their response to the topic on each day, along with responses and discussion from the rest of the seminar participants.
The second part of this project will be an edited collection based on the essays presented at the ACLA conference. This volume will bring together essays by leading figures in postcolonial studies as well as emerging scholars, all thinking through the ways Bourdieu’s work speaks to and is translated into postcolonial studies. After the conference takes place in March 2014, contributors to the volume will have three months to revise their essays for publication and submit finished essays for consideration by June 30, 2014.
If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Raphael Dalleo (firstname.lastname@example.org). Presentation proposals for the ACLA seminar must be submitted directly to the conference website (http://acla.org/acla2014/) by November 1st.