Tempo storico e semantica politica nella critica postcoloniale

Autore: Sandro Mezzadra
In: Storica. 31 • anno XI, 2005
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Historical time and political semantics in postcolonial literature
The article sets out to discuss the contribution that so called postcolonial studies can offer to historiography. In the context of the efforts dedicated to redefining the contours of the various disciplines that in recent years have particularly concerned the category of world history, the postcolonial critique has made it possible to introduce what might be termed a «Kantian» shift, directly affecting, and renovating, the modes of representation of time and space in the «telling» of history. The author provides a number of examples, with particular focus, as far as historic time is concerned, on the developments of the Indian school of historiography rooted in the subaltern studies. The review of the space-time coordinates of modern history that the postcolonial studies introduce also carry considerable influence on the conceptualisation of those subjects that have experienced modernity from a subordinate and antagonistic position: the impossibility in a colonial context of pigeon-holing the political and social movements of the «subaltern» populations within the linear framework of the great historic narratives (based on concepts such as citizenship and wage labour) introduces methodological problems and raises theoretical and political issues of great importance and with a discussion of these aspects the article draws to a close.