1. Introduction
1 Homi Bhabha and Partha Chatterjee have each, respectively, elaborated models
of colonial mimesis and colonial derivation. In ‘‘Sly Civility’’ and ‘‘Of Mimicry
and Men,’’ for example, Bhabha argues that the British colonial administration
incites mimetic desire in its colonized subjects. The foregone conclusion is that
this mimetic desire will be doomed to failure, precisely because mimesis is
predicated on repetition with a di√erence. However, for Bhabha, mimetic acts
by colonized subjects inevitably produce, in this di√erence, a parodic under-
standing of colonial civility, exposing it to critique. Similarly, Chatterjee argues
that although nationalisms in the colonial world are derivative of European
nationalism, this relationship of derivation necessarily produces significant dif-
ferences between First World and Third World nationalisms. More importantly
for Chatterjee, it produces di√erences among Third World nationalisms. The
relationship of derivation pluralizes the concept of nationalism, such that the
historical significance of each variation is greater than the significance of the
originary form. Thus Chatterjee focuses his analysis on the Indian case, elab-
orating on the di√erence between bourgeois and popular nationalisms. Chatter-
jee’s model of derivation will be discussed in detail in chapter 3. My point here is
simply to stress that neither of these models provides an adequate account of
the relationship between development and revolution. Both models are uni-
directional, focused exclusively on how the periphery reworks discursive terms
dictated from the center. Instead I suggest that the relationship between de-
velopment and revolution is dialogical, predicated on exchanges between the
periphery and the center. Thus the articulation of revolution in the periphery
repeatedly calls forth articulations of development from the center. Likewise,
the discursive terms of development summon those of the revolutionary imagi-
nation. Mimesis and derivation exist on both sides of the equation, as either
term dialectically constitutes the other.
2 I borrow the term flash point from David Kazanjian’s work on constitutive flash
points in the American history of racial formation. He defines the flash point as
a productive historical juncture that, in its episodic occurrence, congeals par-
ticular discursive terms for the critic: ‘‘ ‘Flashpoint’ in this sense refers to the
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