The World in a Grain of Sand

The World in a Grain of Sand:Postcolonial Literature and Radical Universalism

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Radical universalism vs postcolonial theory

The World in a Grain of Sand offers a framework for reading literature from the global South that goes against the grain of dominant theories in cultural studies, especially, postcolonial theory. It critiques the valorization of the local in cultural theories typically accompanied by a rejection of universal categories – viewed as Eurocentric projections. But the privileging of the local usually amounts to an exercise in exoticization of the South. The book argues that the rejection of Eurocentric theories can be complemented by embracing another, richer and non-parochial form of universalism. Through readings of texts from India, Sri Lanka, Palestine and Egypt, the book shows that the fine grained engagement with culture, the mapping of ordinary lives not just as objects but subjects of their history, is embedded in much of postcolonial literature in a radical universalism – one that is rooted in local realities, but is able to unearth in them the needs, conflicts and desires that stretch across cultures and time. It is a universalism recognized by Marx and steeped in the spirit of anti-colonialism, but hostile to any whiff of exoticism.

Reviews

  • Praise for The Other Side of Terror An Anthology of Writings on Terrorism in South Asia:

    "A brave attempt to locate political violence in a milieu that neocons are averse to. It succeeds in raising questions that the establishment seeks to drown in its shrill rhetoric and shattering sounds of carpet-bombing."

    New Indian Express
  • Praise for The Other Side of Terror An Anthology of Writings on Terrorism in South Asia:

    "The anthology aims to give the subject of terror a genealogy other than the one ascribed to it by the Bush doctrine, to examine its impacts in places other than the United States of the 21st century, but most importantly to allow us to engage with the phenomenon in the most complex, situated, historicized, and empathetic way possible. The attempt to canvas literature to make these arguments is quite unique."

    Aparna SundarAgainst The Current
  • Praise for The Other Side of Terror An Anthology of Writings on Terrorism in South Asia:

    "It privileges literary texts as forms of media where imaginative and empathetic dialogues can be forged with the histories of occluded and supposedly silent others."

    Amit R BaishyaNorth East Review