Rahul Rao (SOAS)

Hi Robbie,

Thanks a ton for this. Briefly, yes to (a) and (b). I don’t know Deleuze AT ALL (where should I start?)

I have tended to see postcolonialism as a meeting house for Marxism and poststructuralism (methodologically), with of course an interest in the non-European world. In my book, I read Said’s whole oeuvre as an example of this sort of accommodation (e.g. the use of ‘discourse’ in Orientalism, but without carrying it to the logical extremes that Foucault does – indeed, Said’s concession that better and worse scholarship is possible seems to move away from Foucault’s totalizing understanding of discourse as policing what can be said/thought about anything). I also read Spivak’s understanding of the subaltern studies project (‘strategic essentialism in a scrupulously visible political interest’) as an example of such an accommodation between Marxism and poststructuralism. In general, I have found the early Marxist critiques of postcolonialism (Aijaz Ahmad on Said, Arif Dirlik is on my ‘to read’ list) necessary – but I think postcolonialism has gone some way towards meeting those criticisms.

Fanon – I’m wondering whether Bhabha is the link between Fanon and Deleuze. I don’t know…that’s just a random thought. I need to read Bhabha again, rather than other people referencing Bhabha.

Sorry this is fragmented. All this to say – I feel bloody ignorant on the poststructural side (perhaps because of a subliminal irritation, like you, with the idea that to study the non-Western world I have to acquire a deep familiarity with these people writing about and for Europe – but maybe we need to go back to Dipesh Chakrabarty on the ‘indispensability and inadequacy’ of Eurocentric categories for understanding the rest of the world). But I’m trying to become less ignorant about this stuff – in part because of a student who wants to work on Deleuze and Guattari. So I hope I’ll have something a little more useful to say over the coming months.

Please keep me in the loop on how this develops because as I said, yes to (a) and (b), and reserving comment on (c) and (d).

Best,
Rahul

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