Empire of Language: Toward a Critique of (Post)colonial Expression

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9780801450563: Empire of Language: Toward a Critique of (Post)colonial Expression

The relationship between power and language has been a central theme in critical theory for decades now, yet there is still much to be learned about the sheer force of language in the world in which we live. In Empire of Language, Laurent Dubreuil explores the power-language phenomenon in the context of European and, particularly, French colonialism and its aftermath. Through readings of the colonial experience, he isolates a phraseology based on possession, in terms of both appropriation and haunting, that has persisted throughout the centuries. Not only is this phraseology a legacy of the past, it is still active today, especially in literary renderings of the colonial experience―but also, and more paradoxically, in anticolonial discourse. This phrase shaped the teaching of European languages in the (former) empires, and it tried to configure the usage of those idioms by the "Indigenes." Then, scholarly disciplines have to completely reconsider their discursive strategies about the colonial, if, at least, they attempt to speak up.

Dubreuil ranges widely in terms of time and space, from the ancien régime through the twentieth century, from Paris to Haiti to Quebec, from the Renaissance to the riots in the banlieues. He examines diverse texts, from political speeches, legal documents, and colonial treatises to anthropological essays, poems of the Négritude, and contemporary rap, ever attuned to the linguistic strategies that undergird colonial power. Equally conversant in both postcolonial criticism and poststructuralist scholarship on language, but also deeply grounded in the sociohistorical context of the colonies, Dubreuil sets forth the conditions for an authentically postcolonial scholarship, one that acknowledges the difficulty of getting beyond a colonialism―and still maintains the need for an afterward.

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About the Author:

Laurent Dubreuil is Professor of Romance Studies and Comparative Literature, Director of the French Studies Program, and member of the cognitive science program and graduate field at Cornell University. He is the editor of the journal diacritics and the author of several books including, most recently, Le Refus de la politique.



David Fieni is on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College.

Review:

"In Empire of Language, Laurent Dubreuil focuses on possession and haunting on the level of phraseology, the linguistic occupation of French colonial possessions, and the complicity (ironically) of the language of decolonizers as well as that of the defenders of the French nation-state. Boldly, Dubreuil also addresses the antipathy toward postcolonial thought―and the anti-Americanism that goes along with it―in French academic and mainstream contexts."―Ranjana Khanna, Margaret Taylor Smith Director of Women's Studies, Duke University, author of Algeria Cuts: Women and Representation, 1830 to the Present



"Empire of Language covers a broad span of time and subject matter: all the way from the seventeenth century to the present; from the texts of Christopher Columbus to those of Spinoza and Sartre; from racist treatises to major texts denouncing colonialism; and from little-known eighteenth-century Haitian historians to contemporary institutions. This brief sampling gives but a small idea of the extraordinary richness and magnitude of this book, and especially of its critical impact. With great vigor and lively intelligence, Laurent Dubreuil gives readers a new understanding of the hold language exercises in the colonial model of power. This is obviously a very innovative book."―Jacques Neefs, James M. Beall Professor in French Literature, The Johns Hopkins University



"Laurent Dubreuil's insightful Empire of Language is an original approach to important questions about the discourses of postcolonial writing of French expression. Dubreuil raises the issue of the character of these discourses, particularly concentrating on the pattern of prohibitions, inhibitions, and obligatory expressions imposed by seemingly invisible social and political pressures. These deformations of language(s) in turn have powerful effects on action, on what happens."―Richard Terdiman, University of California, Santa Cruz, author of Present Past: Modernity and the Memory Crisis

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.The relationship between power and language has been a central theme in critical theory for decades now, yet there is still much to be learned about the sheer force of language in the world in which we live. In Empire of Language, Laurent Dubreuil explores the power-language phenomenon in the context of European and, particularly, French colonialism and its aftermath. Through readings of the colonial experience, he isolates a phraseology based on possession, in terms of both appropriation and haunting, that has persisted throughout the centuries. Not only is this phraseology a legacy of the past, it is still active today, especially in literary renderings of the colonial experience--but also, and more paradoxically, in anticolonial discourse. This phrase shaped the teaching of European languages in the (former) empires, and it tried to configure the usage of those idioms by the Indigenes. Then, scholarly disciplines have to completely reconsider their discursive strategies about the colonial, if, at least, they attempt to speak up. Dubreuil ranges widely in terms of time and space, from the ancien regime through the twentieth century, from Paris to Haiti to Quebec, from the Renaissance to the riots in the banlieues. He examines diverse texts, from political speeches, legal documents, and colonial treatises to anthropological essays, poems of the Negritude, and contemporary rap, ever attuned to the linguistic strategies that undergird colonial power. Equally conversant in both postcolonial criticism and poststructuralist scholarship on language, but also deeply grounded in the sociohistorical context of the colonies, Dubreuil sets forth the conditions for an authentically postcolonial scholarship, one that acknowledges the difficulty of getting beyond a colonialism--and still maintains the need for an afterward. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780801450563

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. The relationship between power and language has been a central theme in critical theory for decades now, yet there is still much to be learned about the sheer force of language in the world in which we live. In Empire of Language, Laurent Dubreuil explores the power-language phenomenon in the context of European and, particularly, French colonialism and its aftermath. Through readings of the colonial experience, he isolates a phraseology based on possession, in terms of both appropriation and haunting, that has persisted throughout the centuries. Not only is this phraseology a legacy of the past, it is still active today, especially in literary renderings of the colonial experience--but also, and more paradoxically, in anticolonial discourse. This phrase shaped the teaching of European languages in the (former) empires, and it tried to configure the usage of those idioms by the Indigenes. Then, scholarly disciplines have to completely reconsider their discursive strategies about the colonial, if, at least, they attempt to speak up. Dubreuil ranges widely in terms of time and space, from the ancien regime through the twentieth century, from Paris to Haiti to Quebec, from the Renaissance to the riots in the banlieues. He examines diverse texts, from political speeches, legal documents, and colonial treatises to anthropological essays, poems of the Negritude, and contemporary rap, ever attuned to the linguistic strategies that undergird colonial power. Equally conversant in both postcolonial criticism and poststructuralist scholarship on language, but also deeply grounded in the sociohistorical context of the colonies, Dubreuil sets forth the conditions for an authentically postcolonial scholarship, one that acknowledges the difficulty of getting beyond a colonialism--and still maintains the need for an afterward. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780801450563

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Book Description Cornell University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. 248 pages. The relationship between power and language has been a central theme in critical theory for decades now, yet there is still much to be learned about the sheer force of language in the world in which we live. In Empire of Language, Laurent Dubreuil explores the power-language phenomenon in the context of European and, particularly, French colonialism and its aftermath. Through readings of the colonial experience, he isolates a phraseology based on possession, in terms of both appropriation and haunting, that has persisted throughout the centuries. Not only is this phraseology a legacy of the past, it is still active today, especially in literary renderings of the colonial experience-but also, and more paradoxically, in anticolonial discourse. This phrase shaped the teaching of European languages in the (former) empires, and it tried to configure the usage of those idioms by the Indigenes. Then, scholarly disciplines have to completely reconsider their discursive strategies about the colonial, if, at least, they attempt to speak up. Dubreuil ranges widely in terms of time and space, from the ancien rgime through the twentieth century, from Paris to Haiti to Quebec, from the Renaissance to the riots in the banlieues. He examines diverse texts, from political speeches, legal documents, and colonial treatises to anthropological essays, poems of the Ngritude, and contemporary rap, ever attuned to the linguistic strategies that undergird colonial power. Equally conversant in both postcolonial criticism and poststructuralist scholarship on language, but also deeply grounded in the sociohistorical context of the colonies, Dubreuil sets forth the conditions for an authentically postcolonial scholarship, one that acknowledges the difficulty of getting beyond a colonialism-and still maintains the need for an afterward. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Bookseller Inventory # 9780801450563

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