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This chapter takes up Derek Walcott’s challenging definition of colonialism as the rot that remains when the men are gone to reckon with what endures in tangible and intangible forms. The focus is less on recognized ruins than on processes of ongoing ruination. It asks how the “slow violence” of imperial formations is dislodged from the politics that produced it, the toxic consequences of imperial debris and duress on matter and mind. It asks what is left and what people are left with that make up not a finite colonial past but a “colonial presence.”

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