Revising resistance : historical violence in the globalized postcolonial imaginary
Revising Resistance: Historical Violence in the Globalized Postcolonial Imaginary examines contemporary Anglophone texts from India and Kenya, focusing on their representations of historical revolutionary violence. I show how this literature navigates between postcolonial romanticization and ethnonationalist nostalgia, to chart a revision of historical resistance narratives that emphasizes complexity and solidarity across the lines of race, class, gender, and ethnicity. The fields of history and anthropology have increasingly focused on demythologizing revolutionary violence and on understanding the roots of contemporary large-scale ethnic and terrorist violence. However, this kind of reevaluation has yet to happen in global Anglophone literary criticism, even though literature presents a uniquely productive site of study because of its narrative capacity to link the historical with the contemporary in its representations of the violence of the dispossessed. Through a comparative south-south analysis of the entangled temporalities of more recent literary representations of the Maoist-inspired Naxalite Movement in India and the anticolonial Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya, Revising Resistance argues that this canon productively interrogates the national project, ethnic tensions and their histories, and gender roles in the context of war. In excavating the novels’ investments in solidarity, I articulate how narratives can be read to support a project of healing and unification through alternative histories that value complexity and contradiction over flattening narratives of nostalgia on both ends of the political spectrum.