Out of Context: Thinking Cultural Studies Diasporically

Grant Farred


Abstract

This essay on cultural studies and the African Diaspora argues for a rethinking of cultural studies in two critical ways: firstly, that cultural studies, from its founding institutional and conceptual moment, cannot but be thought diasporically; and, secondly, that cultural studies be thought ‘out of’, or, against, context—that is, cultural studies is most revealing in its political and literary articulation when it is not read, as many of its advocates claim, contextually. This essay offers a broad critique of cultural studies and the (African) diaspora but derives its most cogent and creative argument from its ability to read together the work of two diasporic authors, deracinated South African and Australian writers, J. M. Coetzee and David Malouf.

Keywords

African diaspora; Coetzee; Malouf; African literature; Australian literature

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