David Scott is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment and the editor of Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, both also published by Duke University Press.
Omens of Adversity is a profound critique of the experience of postcolonial, postsocialist temporality. The case study at its core is the demise of the Grenada Revolution (1979–1983), and the repercussions of its collapse. In the Anglophone Caribbean, the Grenada Revolution represented both the possibility of a break from colonial and neocolonial oppression, and hope for egalitarian change and social and political justice. The Revolution's collapse in 1983 was devastating to a revolutionary generation. In hindsight, its demise signaled the end of an era of revolutionary socialist possibility. Omens of Adversity is not a history of the Revolution or its fallout. Instead, by examining related texts and phenomena, David Scott engages with broader, enduring issues of political action and tragedy, generations and memory, liberalism and transitional justice, and the possibility of forgiveness. Ultimately, Scott argues that the palpable sense of the neoliberal present as time stalled, without hope for emancipatory futures, has had far-reaching effects on how we think about the nature of political action and justice.