Postcolonial theory has become enormously influential as a framework for understanding the Global South. It is also a school of thought popular because of its rejection of the supposedly universalizing categories of the Enlightenment. In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions. He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.
Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital promises to be a historical milestone in contemporary social theory.
In a recent interview with The Hindu, sociologist and author of Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital Vivek Chibber brings nuance to a spate of recent events in India, including the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and the arrest of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, a prestigious graduate school in Delhi known for its progressive politics.
Though he criticizes the Indian Left for its failings on Dalit rights, and acknowledges the need for Dalits to organize around their identity, Chibber insists that “any Dalit movement, if it is actually going to address the needs of Dalits as a group, has to see itself as part of a class-wide movement.”
We were very sad to learn of the death of the world-renowned political theorist and historian Ellen Meiksins Wood (1942-2016) who passed away on Wednesday. Ellen was one of the founders and chief exponents of the 'Political Marxist' approach to historical inquiry. We have been extremely proud to publish some of Ellen's hugely influential works such as Empire of Capital, Peasant-Citizen and Slave: The Foundations of Athenian Democracy, and last year's The Pristine Culture of Capitalism on the Nairn-Anderson thesis and the particularities of British capitalism. Here Vivek Chibber, Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University and author of Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital, remembers Ellen.
On the occasion of what would have been Frantz Fanon's 90th birthday, we share the conclusion of his famous The Wretched of the Earth, first published in 1961, in which he implores: "Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them."
By Frantz Fanon, 1961