Post-colonial studies

On scapes and spaces

Authored by: Jini Kim Watson

The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138718364
eBook ISBN: 9780429438233
Adobe ISBN:


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Undoubtedly, a central task of post-colonial studies has been the critique of conceptual divisions that have structured the modern world: metropole and colony, East and West, civilized versus uncivilized, developed and underdeveloped. Such critique has not only entailed a spatial dimension but has also developed, theorized, and put into currency a number of important conceptual spatializations. As Sara Upstone puts it, ‘colonial analysis has seen the spatial as inherent to the questions of identity, power and resistance it often raises’ (2009: 40). In what follows, I sketch out some of the ways the field has approached questions of space, territories, regions, and boundaries. The topics I touch on include Edward Said’s imaginative geographies, colonial urbanism, hybrid ‘third spaces’, global ‘scapes’, and, finally, the Global South. In examining these formulations, this essay traces the ways post-colonial theory has conceived of and critiqued the world’s spaces and regions in relation to imperialism, anti-colonialism, nationalism, diaspora, and globalization. Such spatializations, as we will see, are necessarily transregional in that they transform and transcend regional constructions.

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