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Category: Methodologies

Colonial Capital and Imperialist Time: Harry Harootunian on the Ontology of the Historical Present

Colonial Capital and Imperialist Time: Harry Harootunian on the Ontology of the Historical Present

Harry Harootunian’s fascinating article ‘Remembering the Historical Present’ (2007) is a blistering critique of the banalities of modernization theory; the poverty of spatial configurations for understanding the global world order; and the problems of national borders and methodologies in historical and area studies. Reading the article, I was struck by the way in which Harootunian places temporality at the centre of understandings of colonialism, modernity, and capitalism. Harootunian sees the (often violent) encounters between indigenous and European populations in the…

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Due South: New Directions in Southern Thinking

Due South: New Directions in Southern Thinking

In his 2008 article for the Australian Humanities Review ‘Keys to the South’, Kevin Murray offers three frameworks for thinking about ‘Southness’: the Southern Hemisphere, the Global South, and the Colonised South. Most obviously, the Southern Hemisphere refers, in a conventional Mercator understanding of the globe, to the ‘geographical region below the equator’. But as Murray points out, this designation also entails an implicit hierarchy of ‘up’ and ‘down’ or ‘above’ and ‘below’ that roughly (but not wholly) ‘aligns with…

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Interrogating Commodity Cultures: Exploring Global Connections

Interrogating Commodity Cultures: Exploring Global Connections

On Friday 5 May the SouthHem team attended a fascinating inter-disciplinary conference on commodity cultures organised by Dr. Fariha Shaikh at University College Dublin. The plenary paper was given by Michael Niblett, Assistant Professor in Modern World Literature at the University of Warwick, and entitled ‘Commodity Cultures: Work, Frontiers, and Peripheral Modernisms’. Bourne out of his own difficulties in providing a succinct answer to questions of definition and conceptualisation, Niblett’s paper asked: what is a commodity frontier? Niblett drew attention…

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‘Zoning in’ on Geographies of Empire

‘Zoning in’ on Geographies of Empire

In Culture and Imperialism (1993), Edward Said argues that empire rests on crucial spatial and geographical mappings that involve a ‘hierarchy of spaces’. For Said, the struggle over space is ‘complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings’ (Said 1993: 58). Over the last thirty years, historians, literary scholars, and cultural geographers have taken up Said’s challenge to think about the intersections between geography and postcolonial…

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