Robert Young and the ironic authority of postcolonial criticism

Laura Chrisman

in Postcolonial Contraventions

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780719058271
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700136 | DOI:
Robert Young and the ironic authority of postcolonial criticism

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This chapter emphasises the theories and critiques of different postcolonial theorists such as Robert Young, Edward Said, Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Spivak. What outlines its elements are Robert Young's intercession against Parry, the assumptions about power and intellectual authority written into his language use, and the implications of these for postcolonial critical dialogue and analysis. The chapter contrasts Young's summary dismissal of Parry's work and politics with his serious description of, and respectful engagement with, the Marxist anti-postcolonial work of Indian critic Aijaz Ahmad, to observe the ways in which South Africa and its products may somehow license metropolitan critics to depart from their general intellectual standards of assessment, and from their rigorously academic modes of operation. Young's insistent emphases on nationality and ethnicity as determinants in the political identity of Parry and Spivak have no corollary in a national or ethnic self-description.

Keywords: Robert Young; South Africa; nationality; ethnicity; political identity; Marxist; Aijaz Ahmad; metropolitan critics

Chapter.  2928 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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