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Flesh and Fish Blood

Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular

S. Shankar
Series: FlashPoints
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 204
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  • Book Info
    Flesh and Fish Blood
    Book Description:

    InFlesh and Fish BloodSubramanian Shankar breaks new ground in postcolonial studies by exploring the rich potential of vernacular literary expressions. Shankar pushes beyond the postcolonial Anglophone canon and works with Indian literature and film in English, Tamil, and Hindi to present one of the first extended explorations of representations of caste, including a critical consideration of Tamil Dalit (so-called untouchable) literature. Shankar shows how these vernacular materials are often unexpectedly politically progressive and feminist, and provides insight on these oft-overlooked-but nonetheless sophisticated-South Asian cultural spaces. With its calls for renewed attention to translation issues and comparative methods in uncovering disregarded aspects of postcolonial societies, and provocative remarks on humanism and cosmopolitanism,Flesh and Fish Bloodopens up new horizons of theoretical possibility for postcolonial studies and cultural analysis.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95234-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Midnight’s Orphans, or the Postcolonial and the Vernacular
    (pp. 1-26)

    In 1997 , Salman Rushdie celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of India’s independence from British rule by coeditingThe Vintage Book of Indian Writing, 1947–1997with Elizabeth West. In the introduction to the anthology, Rushdie claimed that the most interesting literature of post-Independence India was in English.¹ “The prose writing—both fiction and non-fiction—created in this period [the fifty years after Independence] by Indian writers working in English,” he wrote, “is proving to be a stronger and more important body of work than most of what has been produced in the eighteen ‘recognized’ languages of India, the so-called ‘vernacular...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Lovers and Renouncers, or Caste and the Vernacular
    (pp. 27-64)

    Postcolonial theory is peculiar. In startling ways it is not postcolonial at all. Consider, for example, caste and how little postcolonial theory has to say about it. On the one hand, caste has been the object of intense scholarly scrutiny for centuries. At least from the time of the British entry into India as a colonizing power, it has been steadily made into the very identity of India—its essential nature. Yet inThe Weapon of the OtherKancha Iliah records his sense that “caste was not a category of socio-historical analysis” in contemporary scholarship (2010 , x). Certainly, in...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Pariahs, or the Human and the Vernacular
    (pp. 65-102)

    What’s in a word? If the word ispariah, more than one would think.

    Googlepariahand the hits will show how the word has become a coveted name for, among other things, a movie about lesbians of color, a marching percussion theater group, and a video game.¹ In its most common usage,pariahmeans, theOEDinforms us, “a member of a despised class of any kind; someone or something shunned or avoided; a social outcast.”² The word’s associations of outsider status are so common that some usages are no doubt meant to be subversive through an immoderate underscoring...

  8. CHAPTER 4 The “Problem” of Translation
    (pp. 103-142)

    Postcolonialism, I have argued, whether understood as theory, historical condition, or literary canon, cannot be homogenized. While actually existing postcolonialism can be plotted along and between at least two axes of analysis (the transnational and the vernacular), scholarship within the North American academy has shown a strong predilection to standardize it along the first rather than the second. How can “the (post) colonial condition” be properly figured without an acknowledgment of the existence of both the vernacular and the transnational axes of orientation and, indeed, points in between? The temptation to fix and reify—to nail down one perspective on...

  9. Conclusion: Postcolonialism and Comparatism
    (pp. 143-158)

    In pursuit of the vernacular, I have been led to two ancillary concerns—translation and comparatism. These two topics have found iteration in my argument in multiple ways. Noting how the vernacular directed attention to the question of translation, I took up that topic in the previous chapter. I conclude by turning to comparatism and comparison, a term clearly summoned forth by the notion of comparatism. Though my focus on comparatism is narrower in scope, there are resonances between my argument about translation and my observations on comparatism and comparison in this chapter. I partly rely on these resonances to...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 159-166)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 167-180)
  12. Index
    (pp. 181-185)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 186-205)