Shame in colonial and postcolonial literature in English

Data inizio
15 giugno 2016
Durata (mesi) 
Lingue e Letterature Straniere
Responsabili (o referenti locali)
Pes Annalisa , Zinato Susanna
Parole chiave
"colonial/postcolonial shame", "shame and aesthetics", "the ethics of reconciliation"

         European colonialism has meant, in Sartrean terms, “the strip-tease” of the assumptions of Western Humanism. The obscenity of the in-human staged in the colonial setting and continuing in its aftermath in new ‘editions’ has entailed that the theme of shame runs through much of colonial/postcolonial literature in English, be it in oblique or in  ostensibly audible modes.The research project  aims at developing critical reflections addressing both white shame, i.e. the shame of the masters/dominators and of their ‘tainted’ descendants, and the shame of the dominated originating in the politics of power exerted on their bodies and minds, in the intrinsically alienating and deforming colonial theatre (Fanon docet).
The project should also provide an occasion to weave thoughts on the relationship between shame and literary writing, thus interrogating the alleged (see T. Bewes’s The Event of Postcolonial Shame, 2011) “irreconciliability” of the ethical and the aesthetic when shame is at stake. One might  argue, rather, whether it is not the case  that literature can be the most, when not the only, adequate place for shame to find a voice.
         The urgency of some reflection on postcolonial shame appears from what we are witnessing at present in Europe, with its cultural and political unpreparedness and false consciousness when facing the ‘invasion’ in return of refugees and asylum-seekers fleeing for their bare lives (in a fully  biopolitical sense) from the horrors of postcolonial/post(?)imperial anomy and violence. Besides, the political cogency of the theme is also effectively confirmed by the ethics of reconciliation invoked and staged by various national contexts and policies of memory that, though running the serious risk of becoming perfunctory rituals eclipsing the violence of history, nonetheless witness the inevitability of coming to terms with its crimes and responsibilities/connivances.
In point of fact, the challenging issue to be explored is whether and how critically reflecting on the subject of colonial/postcolonial shame, through literary routes, can fruitfully contribute to a rethinking of humanism once it has been stripped down of its arrogant and exclusive biases, rather than declaring it as done for.
Obiettivi: convegno internazionale e pubblicazione volume
Responsabili del progetto: Susanna Zinato, Annalisa Pes, David Attwell (York University)
Previsione di spesa (missione, convegno, pubblicazione): 6.500 euro, da fondi  del Dipartimento destinati a convegni/pubblicazioni e da fondi personali FUR (rispettivamente 3.250 dai fondi Fur di Zinato e 3.250 dai fondi FUR di Pes)

Partecipanti al progetto

Annalisa Pes
Professore associato
Angelo Righetti
Incaricato alla ricerca
Susanna Zinato
Professore associato

Collaboratori esterni

David Attwell
University of York
Timothy Bewes
Brown University Professor of English
Rita Barnard
University of Pennsylvania Professor of English
David Callahan
Universidade de Aveiro
Sue Kossew
Monash University Professor of English
Dolores Herrero
Universidad de Zaragoza Professor of English
Vincent Van Bever Donker
Northampton University Lecturer
Aree di ricerca coinvolte dal progetto
Letteratura inglese e letterature anglofone
Critical Theory & Poetics
Letteratura inglese e letterature anglofone
Cultural Studies: Colonialism/Colonial Discourse
Letteratura inglese e letterature anglofone
Historical period codes: 1500-1600
Letteratura inglese e letterature anglofone
Literature (General): Comparative literature  (DFLL)
Letteratura inglese e letterature anglofone
Literature (General): Comparative literature  (DLLS)
Letteratura inglese e letterature anglofone