World Literature for the Wretched of the Earth: Anticolonial Aesthetics, Postcolonial Politics

May 19, 2023

In World Literature for the Wretched of the Earth (Fordham UP, 2020), J. Daniel Elam recovers a genealogy of anticolonial thought that advocates collective inexpertise, unknowing, and unrecognizability. Essays in this forum are authored by Abolfazl Ahangari, Omid Azadibougar, Drishadwati Bargi, J. Daniel Elam, Ramsey McGlazer, Dilip M. Menon, and Ajay Skaria.

Book Forum Essays

Abolfazl Ahangari

In his introduction to World Literature for the Wretched of the Earth (2020), J. Daniel Elam remarks that the epilogue to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth (1961) “is a call to abandon Europe, its mad rush toward total slaughter” [...]

Omid Azadibougar

World Literature has been conceived in terms of translation and textual mobility and its allure is a utopia of literary inclusion where everything worth reading will be present [...]

Dilip M. Menon

Reading is, more often than not, an act that does not attend to consequence. It is an inconsequential act, not in the sense of it being of no consequence, but rather, that it is not dependent on generating consequences [...]

Drishadwati Bargi

Despite falling into disrepute, due to the two infamous totalitarianisms of the century, recovery of a utopianism without a utopia or a utopian impulse has long been one of the crucial projects of contemporary critical theorists, located in the department of humanities and cultural studies [...]

Ajay Skaria

It does not seem an exaggeration to say that we are in the midst of a re-evaluation of the egalitarian political thinkers and actors of nineteenth and early twentieth century India [...]

Ramsey McGlazer

There is a phrase I overuse. It’s “master class.” Too often, I’ll trot it out to praise a friend’s essay in progress or to show appreciation for a passage I’m teaching. “This paragraph is a master class,” I’ll say, in class, of a virtuosic reading by Auerbach [...]

J. Daniel Elam

In April 1959, the University of Wisconsin-Madison hosted one of the first conferences on world literature after World War II, though it was hardly among the first wave of conferences after World War II that focused on world literature [...]