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English and American Studies





The notion of the postcolonial metropolis has gained prominence in the past two decades both within and outside of postcolonial studies. However, fields such as sociology and urban studies have tended to focus on the economic inequalities, class disparities, among other structural and formative aspects of the postcolonial metropolises that are specific to the Western conceptions of the city at large. If metropolises are seen as structured and ordered signs of Western civility and modernity, postcolonial cities are often dubbed as, albeit dismissively, 'megapolises' of 'excess' and 'overpopulation' that lack proper order or parameters. It is only recently that postcolonial metropolises have come to limelight in the writings of Suketu Mehta, Chris Abani, Amit Chaudhuri, Salman Rushdie, Aravind Adiga, Helon Habila, Sefi Atta, Zakes Mda, Zoë Wicomb, among others. Most of these works attempt to probe urban specificities, physical and cultural topographies of the postcolonial cities, while highlighting their agential capacities in defying, appropriating, and abrogating the superimposition of both Western urbanity and urbanism. To that end, Bill Ashcroft's notion of 'transnation' (not to be confused with 'transnationalism') contends that cities in the postcolonial world often serve as transcultural hubs for intra-national, internal diasporic tensions and contentions. Similarly, Paul Gilroy's thesis on 'conviviality' appeals for poly-cultural configurations of the Western topography (cities in particular) that is shaped by the new waves of immigrants and diaspora. As a number of postcolonial critics have argued, both city and metropolis are Western metaphors and conceptions that cannot articulate the complex constellations of postcolonial spaces of modernity and urbanity. For further information see the official GNEL/ASNEL Site


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