Inter-imperiality: Vying Empires, Gendered Labor, and the Literary Arts of Alliance
Laura Doyle is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and author of several books, including Freedom's Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640–1940, also published by Duke University Press.
In Inter-imperiality Laura Doyle theorizes the co-emergence of empires, institutions, language regimes, stratified economies, and literary cultures over the longue durée. Weaving together feminist, decolonial, and dialectical theory, she shows how inter-imperial competition has generated a systemic stratification of gendered, racialized labor, while literary and other arts have helped both to constitute and to challenge this world order. To study literature is therefore, Doyle argues, to attend to world-historical processes of imaginative and material co-formation as they have unfolded through successive eras of vying empires. It is also to understand oral, performed, and written literatures as power-transforming resources for the present and future. To make this case, Doyle analyzes imperial-economic processes across centuries and continents in tandem with inter-imperially entangled literatures, from A Thousand and One Nights to recent Caribbean fiction. Her trenchant interdisciplinary method reveals the structural centrality of imaginative literature in the politics and possibilities of earthly life.
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