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Commerce with the UniverseAfrica, India, and the Afrasian Imagination$
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Gaurav Desai

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164542

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164542.001.0001

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Post-Manichaean Aesthetics

Post-Manichaean Aesthetics

Asian Texts and Lives

(p.55) 3. Post-Manichaean Aesthetics
Commerce with the Universe

Gaurav Desai

Columbia University Press

This chapter first considers Franz Fanon's account of the workings of colonialism. He refers to the colonial world as a “Manichean world” where the settler does not only delimit physically the place of the native, but paints the native as a sort of quintessence of evil. This vision resonated with the experiences of a number of colonized intellectuals and writers who, in the Africa of the fifties and early sixties, fought against the oppressive restrictions of colonial society in the hopes of creating a socially just, independent future. Of the many literary critics that Fanon inspired, perhaps the most influential was Abdul Jan Mohamed, whose 1983 study Manichean Aesthetics: The Politics of Literature in Colonial Africa sought to articulate a sociopolitical theory of literary production that took into account the binary divisions of the colonial world that Fanon had previously laid out. The remainder of the chapter traces the genealogy of Asian-African creative production in the twentieth century, accounting for some of the silences and self-censorship undertaken by the community.

Keywords:   Asians, East Africa, Franz Fanon, colonialism, settlers, natives, colonial world, literary production, Abdul Jan Mohamed

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