Fanon’s One Big Idea: Revising Postcolonial Studies and Irish Studies



In their editorial introduction to the first issue of Postcolonial Studies, Sanjay Seth, Leela Gandhi and Michael Dutton readily acknowledge the recent, and still apparent, ascendancy of postcolonial criticism within university teaching and research:

Once counter-canonical and enablingly amorphous in its motivations, the postcolonial has now acquired institutional validity. Respectable, popular, publishable and pedagogically secure, it is time for postcolonialism to become self-critical and introspective and, so also, to resist the seductions of canonicity and disciplinarity…It [Postcolonial Studies] hopes, once again, to facilitate a critique of knowledges rather than to become the triumphant purveyor of a new epistemic orthodoxy. (1998: 9)

Chapter 3 illustrates that there is a lateral recognition of the ele- vated ‘stock’ of Irish postcolonial studies, but more importantly the terventions discussed demonstrate the willingness of Irish critics to prevent the possibility of theoretical ossification or philosophical triumphalism on the part of Irish postcolonial studies. Rather than operating as a form of knowledge that produces definitive answers, Irish postcolonial studies continually poses radical questions of established forms of knowledge and modes of representation. As Seth, Gandhi and Dutton elaborate, these questions must also be continually focused on the theoretical, disciplinary and political procedures of postcolonial studies.


Irish Study Irish Society Postcolonial Theory Colonial Study Colonial Discourse 
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    Lisa Lucas, The research ‘game’: a sociological study of academic research work in two universities. Unpublished doctoral thesis. University of Warwick, 2001, pp. 103–4.Google Scholar

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© Eóin Flannery 2009

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