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Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siecle by Leela Gandhi

By Leela Gandhi

“If I needed to make a choice from betraying my kingdom and betraying my buddy, i am hoping I must have the center to betray my country.” So E. M. Forster famously saw in his Cheers for Democracy. Forster’s epigrammatic manifesto, the place the assumption of the “friend” stands as a metaphor for dissident cross-cultural collaboration, holds the major, Leela Gandhi argues in Affective groups, to the hitherto ignored historical past of western anti-imperialism. targeting contributors and teams who renounced the privileges of imperialism to choose affinity with sufferers in their personal expansionist cultures, she uncovers the utopian-socialist reviews of empire that emerged in Europe, particularly in Britain, on the finish of the 19th century. Gandhi finds for the 1st time how these linked to marginalized existence, subcultures, and traditions—including homosexuality, vegetarianism, animal rights, spiritualism, and aestheticism—united opposed to imperialism and cast powerful bonds with colonized matters and cultures.Gandhi weaves jointly the tales of a few South Asian and eu friendships that flourished among 1878 and 1914, tracing the complicated ancient networks connecting figures just like the English socialist and gay reformer Edward chippie and the younger Indian barrister M. okay. Gandhi, or the Jewish French mystic Mirra Alfassa and the Cambridge-educated Indian yogi and extremist Sri Aurobindo. In an international milieu the place the conflict strains of empire are reemerging in more recent and extra pernicious configurations, Affective groups demanding situations homogeneous portrayals of “the West” and its position on the subject of anticolonial struggles. Drawing on Derrida’s idea of friendship, Gandhi places forth a strong new version of the political: one who unearths in friendship a vital source for anti-imperialism and transnational collaboration.

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Extra resources for Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siecle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship

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Above all, the body fulfills an epistemological role: it is the medium through which we first encounter the divine and it offers a knowledge of God through that encounter that cannot be gained in any other way. (18)13 Garber’s recommended strategy of self-abstraction possesses some merit—again, it can be a useful illusion—but it lays claim to a certainty that remains epistemologically unwarranted. I must emphasize here that I do not mean to espouse an interpretive method that eschews analytical reason in favor of erotic fantasy or intuition.

The view from nowhere can be a useful and even indispensable illusion, but it remains an illusion nonetheless—a fantasy in the sense that it can only ever be imaginary rather than actual (Thomas Nagel offers a similar argument about the limitations of the view from nowhere, though he characterizes such imagined perspectives as something more than mere illusion). ” If we find ourselves unsuccessfully trying to communicate with another person about a particular issue, and we therefore try to facilitate communication by “standing” in that person’s “shoes”—trying to imagine how that person’s experiences must be different from our own, and how those different experiences must shape that person’s perspective on the issue in question—then we may well achieve a gain in knowledge.

By contrast, Chakrabarty aligns himself with the nontotalizing strategy Heidegger employs in Being and Time: he favors histories that “refer us to the plurality that inheres in the ‘now,’ the lack of totality, the constant fragmentariness, that constitutes one’s present” (249, 243). His argument offers an illuminating model for those of us working against the discrete periodization of gay and lesbian histories in favor of balancing such systemic impulses with antisystemic strategies of analysis.

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