Publication Details

Turcotte, G, Compr(om)ising Postcolonialisms: Postcolonial Pedagogy and the Uncanny Space of Possibility, in Sugars, C (ed), Home-Work: Postcolonialism, Pedagogy and Canadian Literature, University of Ottawa Press, 2004, 151–66. Original book available here. This copy is a late draft and might contain inconsistencies with the published version.


The title of this paper is drawn from a conference of the same name that I co-organized in 1999 at the University of Wollongong in Australia (see Radcliffe and Turcotte). Although the general aim of the conference was to interrogate the notions of the postcolonial, it originally began as a wider discussion about the way postcolonialism had developed as a worldwide industry, and the growing sense that the pioneering efforts of Canadian and Australian scholars in shaping this field had been marginalized. My fear with this juggernaut of an academic industry was that the so-called fringe or peripheral celebration of the field was being recolonized by the old empires. The United States and Britain, somehow, were buying up this potentially radical, interrogative area of academic studies, so that it began not only to speak a centralist agenda, but more alarmingly, the modes of its production were once again made to reside in, and so shape more than ever the interests of, the traditional centres. Routledge, for example, in setting itself up as a monolith, and Carfax, by buying up the key journals in the field and then insisting that scholars sign away their authorial rights in order to be published in these strategic sites, were in a sense, it seemed to me, returning us to the paradigms of old. So that while arguments about the flaws, and even exclusions, of what some critics termed the “failures” of postcolonialism were undeniable, the ex-centric force that allowed for an often profound radicalism to take place was diminished.