The Anglophone and the Anthropocene: Postcolonial in the Present Tense

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Abstract

This brief essay outlines the case for a postcolonial presentism arising at the intersection of two urgent areas of inquiry: the literary and linguistic study of global Anglophonism, on the one hand, and the humanistic and social-scientific study of the Anthropocene, on the other. It explores a series of entangled definitions of the Anglophone and the Anthropocene, including how each serves as an assessment of the uneven present, as a universalizing discourse, and as a force of temporalization. The essay contests the proposition that the key conceptual problem posed by the present is its “unthinkability” and argues instead for a reconsideration, through a strategically presentist postcolonial literary studies, of the present’s relationship to past and future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-205
Number of pages15
JournalModern Language Quarterly
Volume83
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Keywords

  • Anglophone
  • Anthropocene
  • India
  • postcolonial
  • South Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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