By Viatcheslav Morozov (auth.)
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Extra info for Russia’s Postcolonial Identity: A Subaltern Empire in a Eurocentric World
Such an interpretation of the historical subjectivity of the West implies that we are dealing with a split subject, which is always located here and elsewhere, inside and outside of ‘the West proper’. It is a subject that is essentially postcolonial – in the sense of being shaped by colonialism and anti-colonialism, but also reﬂexively aware of its imperial roots. As Bhabha contends, this split also has a temporal dimension; the modern subject exists both in the past and in present: the people are the historical ‘objects’ of a nationalist pedagogy, giving the discourse an authority that is based on the pre-given or constituted historical origin in the past; the people are also the ‘subjects’ of a process of signiﬁcation that must erase any prior or originary presence of the nation-people to demonstrate the prodigious, living principles of the People as contemporaneity.
By Spivak and Provincializing Europe by Chakrabarty. From a certain viewpoint, they move in opposite directions: Chakrabarty sets out to interrogate monological Eurocentrism inherent in the idea of history, while Spivak questions our ability to access the experience of the oppressed. In terms of binary oppositions, Spivak’s argument undermines Chakrabarty’s attempt to provincialise Europe by tapping into subaltern experience, irreducible to the linear idea of history that drives capitalist modernity.
Nonetheless, as suggested by the earlier sections of this chapter, one needs to keep an eye on the blind spots of postcolonial theory itself, and especially on its normative agenda. After all, the anti-colonial suspicions about the tendency to downplay the oppressive effects of internal colonisation is to some extent justiﬁed: it does indeed ‘exoticise’ Russian colonialism, which might to some extent shield it from the criticism targeted against other empires. This criticism, however, displays a certain ‘boomerang effect’ – not completely unlike the ‘return’ of the practices of colonial coercion back to the mother countries as described by Arendt.
Russia’s Postcolonial Identity: A Subaltern Empire in a Eurocentric World by Viatcheslav Morozov (auth.)