Problematizing the Dominant Narrative

I do get to have fun, toiling and slaving here at the mills of B and W. I browse Google and sometimes I do find peculiar gems.
This one for example: a review of a book whose very title reeks of fashion: Dis/locating Cultures/Identitites, Traditions, and Third World Feminism. Got all that? You think the author stuffed enough Right On signposts in there for one title? The cute ‘Dis/locating,’ the buzzwords ‘cultures’ and ‘identities’ slammed together with that artful /, and finishing off with a flourish with Third World Feminism. There, that’s all the bases touched, Narayan must have thought in satisfaction. No one can say I don’t know the patois.

And that’s only the title, and only the book under review. The reviewer is such a treat, it’s hard to imagine the author can be quite up to that level. It’s all there, it’s all so very very there, in the very first words. ‘This book is an impressive intervention’ – ooh, an intervention yet. Armed? And impressive besides, imagine. Right, literary critics excuse me ‘theorists’ don’t do anything so tame as write mere books any more, no, they produce interventions. Wouldn’t you think they’d embarrass themselves, giving the game away like that? Do they dress up in Che outfits and parade around the corridors of the English/Philosophy Building looking macho? Do they drive bright red cars and go vrooom vrooom at the lights?

And it (so to speak) keeps it up, too, all the way down the page. Problematic representations of the Other, strategically situates the Third-World female ‘subaltern,’ dominant or as (must get that name in) Spivak says, ‘hegemonic feminist’ (what, because that’s such a dazzlingly brilliant and original phrase that you had to cite Spivak, you couldn’t have said that yourself?) narratives, enacting confrontational praxis…oh Christ, that’s only the first three sentences or so, I can’t bear to do any more. You’ll just have to read it yourselves. It ought to be a parody, it certainly looks like something out of the Jargon Generator, but I don’t actually think it is.

The despotism of the signifier. Feminist colonial discourse analysis. Historically engaged postcolonial hermeneutic. Connection-making apparatuses. No no no, I’ve got to stop! Enjoy, gentle readers.

Comments are closed.