Beyond Binaries: Theoretical Approaches to Decolonization in Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures of the Global South

deadline for submissions: 
July 14, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory
contact email: 

LIT Special Issue CFP: Beyond Binaries: Theoretical Approaches to Decolonization in Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures of the Global South


Deadline for submissions of papers: July 15, 2023


Full name / name of organization: LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory


Contact email:


It is now a truism that decolonization was not followed by universal equality and freedom as liberation movements in the global south had initially imagined. Instead, decolonization has turned into an ongoing process of unsettling the colonial hierarchies that haunt the present. The continuing need for decolonization is partly due to a material failure of economic distribution that has resulted in growing inequality. But the continued need for decolonization is also due to a failure of the imagination on the part of the ruling elites of previously colonized states. For many of the binaries that defined colonial discourse about colonized populations, such as that between rationality vs. irrationality, religion vs. science, tradition vs. modernity, sexual purity vs. degeneracy, masculinity vs. femininity, civilized vs. primitive, still mark the postcolonial present. Rather than reject these binaries, postcolonial nationalist movements remain entrapped within them, laying claim to the same qualities that colonizers used to justify colonization to subjugate those considered ‘other.’ This special issue seeks to go beyond the binaries of oppression by exploring colonial and postcolonial literatures that define liberation and the nation state differently. How have writers attempted to imagine freedom and equality? How have they tried to ground struggles towards self-determination and dignity? And how can postcolonial studies reinvent itself by paying attention to alternative knowledges and ways of being that appear in marginalized literatures and that remain relevant to struggles for equality in the present?  


We welcome essays on literary and theoretical writings from the colonized global south. We are especially interested in work that explores:

- decolonizing nationalisms that seek to go beyond colonial binaries

- the buried works of lesser known nationalist leaders and intellectuals

- the writings of those who have been typically left out of frameworks of liberation, such as women, queer and non-normative gendered and sexed subjects, and the lower castes

- alternative utopian conceptualizations of the nation state in literary texts

- literary visions of community that go beyond the nation state

- literary texts that engage in experiments of form to capture alternative visions of postcolonial community

LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory publishes critical essays that employ engaging, coherent theoretical perspectives and provide original, close readings of texts. Submissions must use MLA citation style and should range in length from 5,000-9,000 words. Please direct any questions relating to this CFP to the guest editor Mukti Lakhi Mangharam,


Submissions should be emailed to Please include your contact information and a 100- to 200-word abstract in the body of your email. LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory also welcomes submissions for general issues.


Guest editor: Mukti Lakhi Mangharam, Associate Professor of English Literature, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ