Kind of on a hope kick

April 18, 2007

Okay, VT news has finally been bumped from full top half coverage of the NY Times homepage by the news that the Supreme Court has upheld the partial birth abortion ban. Not my first choice of more important news or news that I am glad to hear. Despite all of this, I am still going to talk about a book I am reading called Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, by Jonathan Lear. This NYRB review plus my need for a topic for my postcolonial theory final paper have got devouring it, and I have to say it’s one of the most coherently argued and elegantly written works of scholarship that I have read lately.  What it boils down to is that instead of choosing to become a martyr to a dying way of life, the Crow Indian leader Plenty Coups instead imagined himself a new way of life and a new way of being a Crow. His world was clearly coming to an end, plenty of death and destruction and injustice all around, but he avoided despair for himself and his people by dreaming a new reality in which for them to exist. You can probably see why this book is right up my alley. The question remains, however, whether or not I am going to be able to convert it into an elegant and coherent paper on postcolonial theory. My first paper was about the role of imagination in postcolonial reality (heavy debt to Arundhati Roy’s “The End of Imagination“) and this one is supposed to be about the role of imagination in narrating identity. Especially in our favorite type of space, the contested one. So I’ll be sure and pass along any more inspiring tidbits that I come across, and there will probably be more than a few, because I really am not in the mood to write any kind of depressing poco right now.

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