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Amitav Ghosh and the Aesthetic Turn in Postcolonial Studies
Journal of Modern Literature
  • John Su, Marquette University
Document Type
Format of Original
22 p.
Publication Date
Indiana University Press
Original Item ID
doi: 10.2979/jmodelite.34.3.65
This essay explores the "aesthetic turn" in postcolonial studies in light of the literary works of Indo-Burmese author Amitav Ghosh. While a renewed interest in aesthetic theories is apparent throughout the humanities in the past decade, it is particularly striking in postcolonial studies, where it holds out the possibility of blending the materialist/historicist and culturalist/textualist strands of postcolonial scholarship. Recent studies by Deepika Bahri, Nicholas Brown, Ato Quayson and others have been enormously promising; this essay argues for bringing their Frankfurt School-influenced aesthetic theories into conversation with other theories of aesthetics. Particular attention in this essay is given to the quasi-Kantian conception of beauty that emerges in Ghosh's The Glass Palace (2001), which seeks to balance the desire for universal norms with the need to respect cultural differences.

Published version. Journal of Modern Literature, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Spring, 2011): 65-86. DOI. © 2011 Indiana University Press. Used with permission.

Citation Information
John Su. "Amitav Ghosh and the Aesthetic Turn in Postcolonial Studies" Journal of Modern Literature (2011) ISSN: 0022-281X
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