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The Location of Culture
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The Location of Culture

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,076 ratings  ·  44 reviews
This text sets out the conceptual imperative and political consistency of the post-colonial intellectual project. This series of essays explains why the post-colonial critique has altered forever the landscape of postmodern discourse. It examines, among other things, the displacement of the colonizer's legitimizing cultural authority and looks at the complex cultural and p ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 10th 1994 by Routledge (first published January 3rd 1994)
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Megan
This book recommended for...

1. People who like pain.
2. People who like elitist, dense, scholarship that arrogantly references a huge array of critical theory without attempting to show where any of this is coming from or what it really means, and then tries to pass itself off as politically efficacious.
3. Graduate students and academics in cultural studies or postcolonial theory.

This makes me wonder... are those in the third category just really those who fit both descriptions one and two? It's
...more
Andrew
Homi Bhabha seems to collect thinkers together, and take fragments of them and try to glue them together, but he does a really bad job of it. His typical adhesive is Lacanian nincompoopery (holy shit, spellcheck accepted that)(but not "Lacanian"), so I'm probably not the best interpreter. He's borderline unreadable, but then he has these moments of utter clarity and charm when riffing on Salman Rushdie or Roland Barthes, and you realize he has a lot of talent. Which makes me think he's probably ...more
Scott Smith
This is certainly an important book. Bhabha is one of the "Holy Trinity" of postcolonial theorists, along with Edward Said and Giyatri Spivak. He is known for being fairly difficult to read (he is a big fan of Lacan) but once you sort of get used to his style and his general thought process he becomes accessible. Spivak is still way harder to approach then Bhabha.
Anyway, his main thesis deals with the place of colonized subject somewhere in between the stereotypes of savagery and naivete that t
...more
Phillip
It's hard to deny that Homi Bhabha changed the entire discourse surrounding postcolonial studies, but he's also one of those figures--like Foucault, Judith Butler, Marx, or Freud--whose central ideas have become so important and so widely discussed that they are now almost taken as a baseline for discussion in literary and cultural criticism. For my money, Bhabha's two best essays in this collection are "Of Mimicry and Man" and "Signs Taken for Wonders," which develop his theories of cultural hy ...more
Karl
This book is the epitome of how critical theory creates its own dualism between elite theoretical discourse and other, more digestible, ways of writing. Bhabha's concepts, while worthwhile, remain buried in sentences that appear to be consciously overwritten and almost unintelligible. This is almost impossible to compare to other theorists. I would recommend Said, but never this.
Matías Zitterkopf
If you want to torture someone or yourself, go ahead and read this book. I've read some chapters for my thesis, I found some definitions I needed but it's a very complex kind of reading.

Homi takes a simple idea or concepts and goes on forever trying to explain it, repeating and saying in each paragraph what he made "clear" in the first line.
Malcolm
Brilliant, demanding, challenging, insightful, and in places just plain wrong this remains one of the most important texts in post-structural postcolonial studies. It is an absolute must read in that there is a basic defining of the field in this collection of papers published elsewhere and gathered here. It contains two of the fundamental texts of the approach – 'Of Mimicry and Man' and 'Sly Civility' – that merit repeated re-reading and re-evaluation. My problem with it is part of a more gener ...more
Erdem Tasdelen
Interesting progression in this book. Maybe it's because I don't have a firm grasp of the specifics of these histories of colonialism that I find it easier to relate to his analysis of the last century and the effect of modernity/postmodernity on postcolonial subjectivity. Bhabha's writing has much more clarity in the later chapters where he starts utilizing the terms he lays out in the previous ones, and adds a few that are more cohesive. I enjoyed how he methodically sculpts a postcolonial sub ...more
Joy
Not readeable, even to those familiar with the terminology associated with post-structuralism and post-colonialism. Further, the content is repetitive. I didn't like this book at all.
Emily
I'm too dumb to understand all the isms and iations and other complex-ass nouns Bhabha uses in the creation of the post-colonial studies vocabulary.
Catherine
Unforgivably, unnecessarily obtuse. Infuriatingly impenetrable. Rubbish.
Bridgett
This is an awesome book for those interested in postcolonial theory.
Nagisa
Very hard to read. It took me a couple of weeks to understand one chapter.

Read "2. Interrogating identity: Frantz Fanon and the postcolonial prerogative."

Bhabha studies identity from Frantz Fanon's works and proposes that identity is not fixed.
Unstable relationships between the self and the other, desires and demand create "a splitting space" between the self and the other. One recognizes its identity on created images within the space.
In other words, according to the relationships between the s
...more
scott noble
awesome post-colonial theory
Salvatore
Although this could have been perhaps a third of the size due to unnecessary repetition and emphasis on the major points, as well as some rambling side issues, this is an engaging and critical read on post-colonialist theory, which stresses the voice from in-between, from the liminal societies and view-points and positions in the world. It focusses on the post-structuralist view of reading culture or history or novels: there aren't simple dichotomies when talking about coloniser/colonised, white ...more
Mikel
A brief review: while some of Bhabha's ideas are rightfully praised, the obtuseness of his writing is inexcusable. Clear writing does not suggest a watering down (or dumbing down) of the content; it recognizes the importance of communication in the history of ideas. Somebody should write an "annotated" edition of The Location of Culture. But I managed to get to the end! \o/
Gabriel Oak
Bhabha is one of the foremost postcolonial theorists today and this is one of his foundational books. It's full of exciting ideas about cultural hybridity and the blind spots in theoretical accounts of modernity and postmodernity. It's also crippled by impenetrable academic prose: long sentences with confusing modifying clauses, strings of indecipherable prepositional phrases. It's a slog.
Colly
I've read the book before, some years past while working on my MA. I enjoyed it enormously then and though I might be able to glean some working material from it for a current project. It has, with its rather dated 90s emphasis on cultural difference, rather failed to age as well as some others by, perhaps, older writers (I'm thinking particularly of Said and Spivak) and I found it less useful than I'd hoped. Moments, such as that where he decries the misguided perception that theoretical langua ...more
Vladena
Bhabha's ideas are very interesting, in regard to contemporary issues of migration and globalization especially. Bhabha develops ideas of other scholars such as Freud (the Uncanny) and Fanon to explain various problems of migrants in foreign countries. For instance he focuses on their "otherness" and what impact being the Other has on their identity. He also speaks about migrants' living in the "in-between" space, thus space bewteen two cultures, two languages, two value systems...etc.,and claim ...more
Chon Mkliiry
A wonderful book on the future challenges faced by the advent of post-colonialism and postmodernism. His observations on "the third space" certainly resonates with me as a multicultural, multiracial individual. He sees human development as always "media res" and refrains from binary classifications such as past and present or this culture/that culture. His argument, which compliments Deleuze and Guattari's "rhizome", is very compelling. A great book, but by no means a quick read.
Megan Olsen
Bhabha's essay, "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse" is one of the best pieces I've read on mimesis and imperialism. The idea that the more our charitable projects look and act like us, the more we yearn for clear boundaries and exposition of their "otherness" is something that colors my thinking about history, ethics, cultural relationships, religion, and even science and science fiction--"uncanny valley", anyone?

Loved this essay.
Roos
I did not even grasp the introduction of this book when I first tried to read it. I tried again once I'd gotten more into researching cultural "in-betweenness" and was pleasantly surprised. I found that even the introduction said so much I was trying to say - but more elaborately & eloquently, of course. Looking forward to reading all of this one day.
Abd Rahman
well i think this work by Bhabha is quiet dense and not easily digestible but it emerges dangerous questions that touch our contemporary thought such as identity multiculturalism subaltern and immigrants issues
it may be useful if you got some ideas about cultural theory,post_structural theory and of course post_colonialism before read the book.
Kevin
Given the work it takes to read this book, I would recommend reading the authors, such as Fanon, that Bhabha cites, instead. Those authors are compelling, and Bhabha's prose seems to suck the emotion and passion out of the issues he addresses and the writers he uses to make his arguments.
Ghaida Moussa
Brace yourself. Anyone who says they understand the whole book from start to finish is lying. Regardless, there are important reflections to take away here for anyone living and writing on the postcolonial, on nationalism, on settler-colonialism, and on performativity.
Christopher Sutch
Contains some interesting material, but the problem, as with a lot of postmodern colonial discourse work, is that the openings Bhabha's work could provide for political praxis are shut off by the very method he uses to point out the problem.
Shayda Salaravand
First off, I found Bhabha's critical ideas very confusing, however as I moved on with my readings I began to grasp what he was really hinting at.
Actually, I'm applying his cultural theories to three of Jhumpa Lahiri's stories as my MA thesis.
Greg Coates
No question the man is brilliant, but why write with such opacity? Reading this book is like gazing at abstract art: it may leave you impressed, but you walk away wondering what that was all about.
Christopher
really hard to read, but there's so much in here. no wonder he hasn't really published much since, because this book has soooo much in it. but you may have to read each sentence five times!
Vania
A very complex analysis of culture and its individuals on the postcolonial context. How people develop, how power can be used to transform and anihilate ones culture.
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Homi K. Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English and American Literature and Language, and the Director of the Humanities Center, at Harvard University. He is one of the most important figures in contemporary post-colonial studies, and has coined a number of the field's neologisms and key concepts, such as hybridity, mimicry, difference, ambivalence. Such terms describe ways in which ...more
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“The theoretical recognition of the split-space of enunciation may open the way to conceptualising an international culture, based not on the exoticism of multiculturalism or the diversity of cultures, but on the inscription and articulation of culture's hybridity. It is the inbetween space that carries the burden of the meaning of culture, and by exploring this Third Space, we may elude the politics of polarity and emerge as the others of our selves.” 14 likes
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