Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship (Politics, History, and Culture)

Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship (Politics, History, and Culture) Author Leela Gandhi
ISBN-10 0822337150
ISBN-13 9780822337157
Year 2006-01-11
Pages 264
Language English
Publisher Duke University Press Books
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If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend I hope I should have the guts to betray my country So E M Forster famously observed in his Two Cheers for Democracy Forsters epigrammatic manifesto where the idea of the friend stands as a metaphor for dissident cross cultural collaboration holds the key Leela Gandhi argues in Affective Communities to the hitherto neglected history of western anti imperialism Focusing on individuals and groups who renounced the privileges of imperialism to elect affinity with victims of their own expansionist cultures she uncovers the utopian socialist critiques of empire that emerged in Europe specifically in Britain at the end of the nineteenth century Gandhi reveals for the first time how those associated with marginalized lifestyles subcultures and traditionsincluding homosexuality vegetarianism animal rights spiritualism and aestheticismunited against imperialism and forged strong bonds with colonized subjects and cultures Gandhi weaves together the stories of a number of South Asian and European friendships that flourished between 1878 and 1914 tracing the complex historical networks connecting figures like the English socialist and homosexual reformer Edward Carpenter and the young Indian barrister M K Gandhi or the Jewish French mystic Mirra Alfassa and the Cambridge educated Indian yogi and extremist Sri Aurobindo In a global milieu where the battle lines of empire are reemerging in newer and more pernicious configurations Affective Communities challenges homogeneous portrayals of the West and its role in relation to anticolonial struggles Drawing on Derridas theory of friendship Gandhi puts forth a powerful new model of the political one that finds in friendship a crucial resource for anti imperialism and transnational collaboration

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