Vol. 1 No. 1 (2023)
General Section

Postcolonial Studies: Polemics at the Turn of the Millennium

Attila Tárnok
Pázmány Péter Catholic University
Pázmány Papers vol. 1. nr. 1.

Published 12/18/2023 — Updated on 06/13/2024


  • postcolonial studies,
  • exotic,
  • academic market,
  • literary theory,
  • turn of the millenium,
  • commodification


Postcolonial theory over the years has become an inflated term. The field of study that initially dealt with literatures originating in regions with a colonial past gradually grew to encompass broad social, political or cultural aspects arising in diverse societies with no colonial history. In my article I am concentrating on the original use of the term and going to argue that the research area has turned from being a TOPIC of investigation to a general METHOD. What led to this transformation was the commodification of a post/colonial heritage: during the 1990s the exotic became a marketable cultural product. As primary texts appeared to be profitable ventures on the international publishing scene, postcolonial theory has flourished with key figures occupying cushioned academic positions and creating a body of secondary literature detached from the original mandate of postcolonialism in the original sense of the term.