Reluctant Siblings. Notes on the Analogy between Postcommunist and Postcolonial Subalterns
Dr. Bogdan Stefanescu
English Department, University of Bucharest
The talk proposes to present the Romanian debates on the benefits of a comparative approach to the two types of collective domination. Postcolonialism and postcommunism scholars alike commonly dismiss any association between their fields by invoking the different historical, economic, and cultural contexts of colonization and communization and of their aftermath. However, this speaker will argue that postcolonialism and postcommunism are structurally related and can be treated as complementary varieties of (post)imperialism. Among other things, this means that a foreign or foreignized oppressor violated the identity of such victim-cultures that are now seeking recovery in a post-traumatic interval. This commonality licenses two-way contaminations between postcommunist and postcolonial studies and calls for methodological and ideological revisions on both sides. The focus of the discussion will be on the human subject and on discursive representations of the situation in an effort to illustrate the importance of discourse studies as one point of convergence between postcommunism and postcolonialism as reluctant subaltern siblings.