Sanctioned Ignorance: Deconstructing Historiography

InOtherWorlds“In Selected Subaltern Studies (1985) Spivak writes ‘it is correctly suggested that the sophisticated vocabulary of much contemporary historiography successfully shields this cognitive failure and that this success-in-failure, this sanctioned ignorance, is inseparable from colonial domination.’ Ignorance is therefore rationalised, and by such means sanctioned. Spivak’s charge of sanctioned ignorance is most often directed at the Western study of the ‘third-world,’ ‘oriental’ or ‘subaltern,’ a gaze filtered through a selective lens.”

“The charge of ‘sanctioned ignorance’ is not merely the suggestion of an omission, an angle on analysis as yet unexplored by chance. It gives agency to the omitter. Indeed, to the collective academy. It is a purposeful silencing through the dismissing of a particular context as being irrelevant. This is not necessarily an issue of individual malice but an institutionalized way of thinking about the world which operates to foreclose particular types of analysis or considerations from entering into the debate.”

SOURCE: Mayblin, Lucy. “Sanctioned Ignorance.” Global Social Theory.

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What Is Postcolonial Sociology?

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“Postcolonial sociology, then, is a sociology actively committed to a different world. It is a sociology that recognises the legacy of the colonial past in the present. And it is a sociology that seeks to identify possible futures that move us beyond the present through an address of contemporary inequalities that are themselves recognised as manifestations of longer-standing historical injustices of dispossession, genocide, colonialism, appropriation, and enslavement.”

 

 

 

SOURCE: Bhambra, Gurminder K. “What Is Postcolonial Sociology?” Social Global Theory. 

The Becoming-Literature of the World: Pheng Cheah’s Case for World Literature

“What Is a World?, by contrast, aims to identify the ‘ethicopolitical horizon [that literature] opens up for the existing world’: literature’s normative, rather than merely 25778724reflective, capacity — in other words, its ability to shape a world rather than simply being its product.”

“To that end, Cheah mobilizes a series of terms that seem to have long gone out of fashion, beaten out of use by historicist deconstruction: world spirit, universality, teleology, and authenticity. What Is a World? argues that novels that merit the name world literature ‘remake the world against capitalist globalization’ by pointing, through their narrative contingencies, at the openness of ontological structures.”

 

 

SOURCE: Alon, Shir. “The Becoming-Literature of the World: Pheng Cheah’s Case for World Literature.” Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB).