Nationalism and the Imagination
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.
Seagull Books: 2010. First edition. Hardcover in dust jacket. Near fine.
In Nationalism and the Imagination, Spivak expands upon her previous postcolonial scholarship, employing a cultural lens to examine the rhetorical underpinnings of the idea of the nation-state. In this gripping and intellectually rigorous work, Spivak specifically analyzes the creation of Indian sovereignty in 1947 and the tone of Indian nationalism, bound up with class and religion, that arose in its wake. Spivak was five years old when independence was declared, and she vividly writes: “These are my earliest memories: Famine and blood on the streets.” As well, she recollects the songs and folklore stories that were prevalent at the time in order to examine the role of the mother tongue and the relationship between language and feelings of national identity. She concludes that nationalism colludes with the private sphere of the imagination in order to command the public sphere.