These texts explore the functions of language in colonial and postcolonial settings, particularly its usages, structures, forms, and circulation, as well as theories about it. Their approaches, though, are significantly different. Vicente L. Rafael, focusing on histories and texts of the revolutionary and postrevolutionary contexts in the Philippines and in recent US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pursues scenarios in which language resists the full and stable meanings that might be intended in service of or in opposition to the colonizing project. As he suggests in an interview reprinted as the final piece in his collection, we should “think of language as a historical agent that . . . exceeds human control” (190). Robert Lawrence Gunn, on the other hand, is interested in how the “misrecognition” of differing forms of language in the antebellum US context occluded Native American resistance and agency while also supporting the practices and discourses of...
Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation
Ethnology and Empire: Languages, Literature, and the Making of the North American Borderlands
Jake Mattox; Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation
Ethnology and Empire: Languages, Literature, and the Making of the North American Borderlands. American Literature 1 March 2018; 90 (1): 171–173. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-4326466
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