This essay proposes a brief reflection on the meanings and relevancy of postcolonialism as a keyword in contemporary cultural studies. Taking as a point of departure the well-known etymological crisis through which many scholars feel compelled to explain how postcolonial theory is still a productive approach, this entry questions the applicability of the postcolonial paradigm to study sixteenth-century Latin America, nineteenth-century Africa, or the twentieth-century Caribbean. The Caribbean and Latin America are used as a disciplinary counterpoint, to trace the advantages and disadvantages of the universalization of the postcolonial paradigm. This essay also reviews some of the key contributions to this topic by articles published in Social Text, as a way to celebrate this journal's publication of one hundred issues.

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