The Creolization of Theory ed. by Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih (review)


This volume examines the notion of “creolization,” from its origins as a “historical process specific to particular colonial sites”(viii) to its later use as a more general theme, applicable to cultural mixing and hybridity throughout the world. As the editors point out, the term “creolization” illustrates many of the dilemmas faced in the production and general application of theory, which develops out of a specific context. “Creole” was first used in the Caribbean and Latin America to refer to settlers of Spanish origin born in the New World, before it came to designate the cultural mixing of the Caribbean. With Édouard Glissant, an author and philosopher from Martinique, the term took on a more general, almost universal dimension, since he describes “creolization” as a process, one that has occurred not only in the Caribbean, but elsewhere as well. For him, it refers to an intense mixing of cultures to establish new ones.

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