Towards a “radical acceptance of vulnerability”: Postcolonialism and Deconstruction


Why open this essay—which seeks to address the question of vulnerability via the vexed relationship between deconstruction and postcolonial studies—with what even Attridge himself acknowledges to be a “rather contrived metaphor” (44)? The answer is simple: contrived though it may be, Attridge’s metaphor of a map of the world being colored in with more and more red dots is intensely evocative in the context of postcolonial studies, where it cannot but conjure up a familiar image of imperialist take-over of the world through British rule. Just as the red dots of deconstruction have, according to Attridge, now spread virus-like beyond its original confines, so British rule once dotted the imperial map well beyond the geographical borders of “Mother England.” Somewhat surprisingly, Attridge himself does not draw this all-too-obvious parallel between what is ultimately a highly imperialist metaphor and an actual imperial history.

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