In different ways, my work has been primarily concerned with people and their cultures who exist or have existed on the margins and peripheries of society, whether nationally or globally. What forms of knowledge do such communities produce? In what ways do they represent themselves and articulate their specific concerns—personal, social, political, and aesthetic? Under what conditions, material and cultural, did they live? How might we retrieve their histories when they often seem to have almost disappeared without trace in the past? How might we revise the forms of knowledge that are authorised by the academy in order to learn from and to validate their experiences? Can we find places where such knowledge and experience has already emerged from within? Attempting to answer such questions requires us to rethink some of the theoretical issues about our practices of literary, cultural and historical analysis, and constantly challenges us to ask what the objects of our analysis should be. What does this mean in practice? One answer can be found in my Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2003) which also forms an introduction to the questions and values that guide my own work.
Areas of Research/Interest
Postcolonial literatures and cultures; the history of colonialism and anti-colonialism; cultural history of the 19th and 20th centuries; literary and cultural theory.
The Idea of English Ethnicity. Oxford and Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2008.
Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction. Oxford and Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers; Chennai, India: T.R. Publications, 2001.
Torn Halves: Political Conflict in Literary and Cultural Theory. Manchester: Manchester University Press, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.
Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Culture, Theory and Race. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
White Mythologies:Writing History and the West. London and New York: Routledge, 1990.
General Editor, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies