Use of the term “colonial studies” or “(post)colonial studies” rather than
“postcolonialism” may call for some explication. I have avoided the term
“postcolonial” for some time. Despite the warnings of those who rightly insist
that it is not a time period but a critical stance. In practice, however, the term
“postcolonial” often references a critical perspective on a past colonial situa-
tion (too easily made distinct from our own) or on those who bear the costs of
living in a space that was once colonial and is no more. However finessed, the
bottom line is something that this book attempts to tackle: the temporal and
afective space in which colonial inequities endure and the forms in which
they do so.
I have addressed these temporal difficulties here in several ways. No
matter how “post” one’s stance may be, the fact of living both colonial rela-
tions that are alive and well and postcolonial predicaments at the same time
should command our po litical work and analytic attention. In arguing for
a recursive history and the uneven sedimentation of colonial practices in
the pres ent, I intend to retain the “post” as a mark of skepticism rather than
assume its clarity. I choose to avoid the artifice that makes the “cut” be-
tween the colonial and postcolonial before asking how those temporalities
are lived. I prefer “(post)colonial” studies to emphasize a colonial “pres-
ence” in its tangible and intangible forms and to acknowledge that there
are colonial “pres ents”—as those who work in Australia and the Amer i cas
would argue and those concerned with a Palestinian/Israeli context would
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