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Said's Political Humanism: An Introduction

Abu-Manneh, Bashir (2018) Said's Political Humanism: An Introduction. In: Abu-Manneh, Bashir, ed. After Said: Postcolonial Literary Studies in the Twenty-First Century. After Series . Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-19. ISBN 978-1-108-42917-7. (KAR id:87713)


What distinguishes Said as a humanist, and what are the core features of his thought? I cluster them into three categories – his political humanism, commitment to modernism, and anti-systemic theory – while mainly focusing on the first. Said’s main project after 1967 is to connect culture to imperial practices and humanism to political domination. In the process of delineating this crucial relationship, I show how Said ends up inflating the significance of culture in imperial affairs. He wrongly presumes that the domestic culture of countries that have empires is necessarily imperial (that empire permeates all domestic culture), and that metropolitan resistance to empire only emerges after decolonization. I critically and historically engage him on both counts and argue that Said advances those positions because he assumes that all imperialism is settler colonial (a distinct and deeply intensive variety of empire). I then show what a materialist understanding of the relationship between ‘culture and imperialism’ that utilizes class and capitalism as key categories looks like.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Bashir Abu-Manneh
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2021 17:47 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2021 12:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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