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Continental Drift

From National Characters to Virtual Subjects

From xenophobic appropriations of Joan of Arc to Afro-futurism and cyberpunk, the "national" characters of the colonial era often seem to be dissolving into postnational and virtual subjects. In Continental Drift, Emily Apter deftly analyzes the French colonial and postcolonial experience as a case study in the erosion of belief in national destiny and the emergence of technologically mediated citizenship.

Among the many topics Apter explores are the fate of national literatures in an increasingly transnational literary climate; the volatile stakes of Albert Camus’s life and reputation against the backdrop of Algerian civil strife; the use of literary and theatrical productions to "script" national character for the colonies; belly-dancing and aesthetic theory; and the impact of new media on colonial and postcolonial representation, from tourist photography to the videos of Digital Diaspora.

Continental Drift advances debates not just in postcolonial studies, but also in gender, identity, and cultural studies; ethnography; psychoanalysis; and performance studies.

302 pages | 16 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1999

Culture Studies

Film Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: African Languages, General Criticism and Critical Theory, Romance Languages

Table of Contents

Introduction: Continental Theory on Different Continents
Part One: National Characters
1: Uprooted Subjects: Barrès and the Politics of Patrimoine
2: Saints at Stake: Joan of Arc as National Pathology
3: Out of Character: Camus’s French Algerian Subjects
4: Character Assassination: Racial Pathologies, Colonial Crimes—Fanon, Mannoni, Lacan, Paulhan
Part Two: Metropolitan Masquerades
5: Harem: Scopic Regimes of Power/Phallic Law
6: Ethnographic Travesties: Alibis of Gender and Nation in the Case of Elissa
7: Acting Out Orientalism: Stereotype, Performativity, the Isabelle Eberhardt Effect
8: Cleopatra’s Nose: Characterology and the Modern Subject in Belle Epoque Paris
Part Three: Virtual Colonies
9: The Dance of Colonial Seduction: Flaubert and the Line of Desire
10: The Landscape of Photogeny: "Morocco" in Black and White
11: Impotent Epic: The Crisis of Literary Tourism in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
12: Postcolonial Cyberpunk: Dirty Nationalism in the Era of Terminal Identities
13: Nomadologies of Tomorrow: The Deleuzean Worldscape

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