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Postcolonialism: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Facilitated and edited by Noorlinah Mohamed
PhD Student, Warwick Institute of Education

3 eminent scholars and academics offer a generous, lively and critical exchange on the topic. Dr. Gurminder K. Bhambra from Sociology, Prof. Shirin Rai from Political Science and from Comparative Literature, Prof. Neil Lazarus.

The podcast is divided into 2 parts.

Part 1 looks at genealogy, the influences and inflections on and from postcolonialism


Part 2 examines the polemical nature of the postcolonial project and raises questions on its reach, impact as well as effect on the scholarly and academic enterprise and the everyday.


Professor Shirin Rai studied at the University of Delhi (India) and Cambridge University (UK) and joined the University of Warwick in 1989. She is Director of the Leverhulme Trust Programme on Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament. She has consulted with the United Nations’ Division for the Advancement of Women and UNDP and is on the editorial boards of International Feminist Journal of Politics, Journal of Global Ethics, Indian Journal of Gender Studies and Political Studies Quarterly.
Her latest books are The Gender Politics of Development (2008, Zed Books/Zubaan Publishers) and (co-ed) Global Governance: Feminist Perspectives (2007, Palgrave). Her articles have appeared in many journals including: International Feminist Journal of Politics, Global Networks, New Political Economy, Hypatia and Signs.

Professor Neil Lazarus is a prominent literary scholar, whose research has focused particularly on Caribbean, South-Asian and African writing. He is also a significant and critical voice within postcolonial studies and has been instrumental in challenging the rather abstract discussions of migration, exile and diaspora in that discipline.
His numerous essays have appeared in Cultural Critique, Diaspora, differences, New Formations, Race & Class, Research in African Literatures, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Textual Practice. Chapters recently in Global Modernisms (ed. Mark Wollaeger, OUP, forthcoming), The Critical Companion to Contemporary Marxism (eds. Jacques Bidet and Stathis Kouvelakis, Brill, 2008) and Postcolonial Studies and Beyond (eds. Ania Loomba et al., Duke UP, 2005).

Dr Gurminder K Bhambra is Associate Professor of Sociology. Her research addresses how, within sociological understandings of modernity, the experiences and claims of non-European 'others' have been rendered invisible to the dominant narratives and analytical frameworks of sociology. While her research interests are primarily in the area of historical sociology, she is also interested in the intersection of the social sciences with recent work in postcolonial studies. Her current research project is on the possibilities for historical sociology in a postcolonial world. She is convenor of the British Sociological Association's Theory Study Group and also runs an ESRC funded network on ‘Connected Histories / Connected Sociologies: Rethinking the Global’.

Suggested readings:
Bhambra, Gurminder. Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave, Macmillan, 2007; 2009.
Bhambra, Gurminder. ‘Sociology and Postcolonialism: Another “Missing” Revolution?’ Sociology Special Issue: ‘Sociology and its Public Face(s)’ 41(5): 871-84, 2007.
The online version of this article can be found at:

Lazarus, Neil. The Postcolonial Unconscious. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge UP, 2010
Lazarus, Neil, ed. Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Literary Studies. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge UP, 2004

Rai, Shirin. The Gender Politics of Development: Essays in Hope and Despair. New Delhi: Zubaan; London, New York: Zed Books Ltd, 2008
Rai, S. and Liddle, J. 'Feminism, Imperialism and Orientalism: the Challenge of the 'Indian Woman'', Women's History Review, 7(4): 495-520, 1998

Other readings:
Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press, 1968.
Gandhi, Leela. Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998.
Said, Edward S. Orientalism. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985.
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. Death of a Discipline. New York: Columbia UP, 2003.