What Is a World?: On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature
Pheng Cheah is Professor of Rhetoric and Chair of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Inhuman Conditions: On Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights and Spectral Nationality: Passages of Freedom from Kant to Postcolonial Literatures of Liberation.
Projecting a Future World from the Memory of Precolonial Time
This chapter is a study of Michelle Cliff’s Clare Savage novels as an attempt to initiate a new time for the Jamaican people who inhabit a place that has been deformed by the temporal calculations and technologies of colonial sugar capital and postcolonial tourist capital. Cliff suggests that the revival of precolonial history and its cultural traditions can stimulate revolutionary consciousness and facilitate the Jamaican people’s emergence as an autonomous subject. The chapter suggests that Cliff’s acknowledgment of the impossibility of revolution in contemporary global capitalism suggests that the primary force for opening new worlds is the inhuman gift of time.