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Nationalism as an ethical problem for postcolonial theory

Hussein Y Ibish, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study examines the way in which nationalism in the postcolonial world has emerged as a major ethical and political problem in postcolonial literary scholarship. Focusing mainly on the work of Edward Said and Homi Bhabha, the study tracks the way in which various postcolonial critics have attempted to deal with questions and concerns raised by the nationalist response to colonialism, and the implications raised for art, culture, and critical theory. The study outlines how nationalism has emerged as the most persistent problem in Postcolonial Theory. It traces the ambivalent and complex theoretical and political engagement by Edward Said with nationalism in general and Palestinian nationalism in particular. It explicates Homi Bhabha's complex critique of national discourse. The study also examines the legacy of Frantz Fanon, and the way in which his work has been appropriated by both Said and Bhabha to further their own arguments. It concludes with an evaluation of the overall failure of Postcolonial Theory to find a coherent stance towards postcolonial nationalism and reviews several alternatives that have been proposed but not engaged in a sustained manner. ^

Subject Area

Comparative literature|Modern literature

Recommended Citation

Ibish, Hussein Y, "Nationalism as an ethical problem for postcolonial theory" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3039364.