Hybridity and its Discontents

Deepika Bahri (Emory University, USA)

Metropolitan discussions of hybridity tend to privilege transnational hybridity arising from an encounter with Western culture rather than allowing us to recognize the ways in which all cultures are complex and hybrid because they are diverse internally and not only for the purposes of oppositional figuration in a dialogue with Western discourse. This limited understanding of hybridity attributes a diachronic flux and dynamism to cultures produced through an encounter with the West--and to relegate the cultures of the postcolony and the "stationary" local to a state of synchronic stasis. Through an examination of the works of Salman Rushdie and other postcolonial writers, this paper attempts to locate hybridity within contexts other to its metropolitan conception as a Bhabhian "problematic of colonial representation." Hybridity is thus resituated in the following ways: within the postcolony itself in order to explore the under-reported local face of hybridity, within a more temporally expansive pre-modern framework that juxtaposes contemporary Diaspora with older histories of cultural interactions, and within the experience of the "literal" racial hybrid whose genealogy itself belies the fixity of the discourse of race.

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference

Last modified: 7 May 2001