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Category: Methodologies

Cultural Geographies of the Colonial Southern Hemisphere: Closing Remarks

Cultural Geographies of the Colonial Southern Hemisphere: Closing Remarks

Some brief and informal notes of my closing remarks delivered with thanks to a fantastic group of participants at the recent “Cultural Geographies of the Colonial Southern Hemisphere” conference at UCD. Southness Elleke Boehmer opened the conference by thinking about the “South” or “Southness” not just as place but also as direction or perspective. As she pointed out, we can understand the South not only in terms of locatedness (“writing from”) but also in terms of directionality (“writing to”). The…

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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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The Southern Colonies and Political Economy

The Southern Colonies and Political Economy

For economic critics of empire, the cost of acquiring and maintaining colonies far exceeded their benefits. An emphasis on the priority of the domestic over the foreign market, for example, is central not only to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776), but also to Josiah Tucker’s The Case for Going to War for the Sake of Trade (1763) and James Anderson’s The Interest of Great Britain with Regard to her American Colonies Considered (1782), all of which were influential on…

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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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