A Critical Analysis of Homi K. Bhabha”s “How Newness Enters The World”

The Indian theorist Homi K. Bhabha shifted the limelight from the binary1 of the colonizer and the colonized to the liminal areas in-between in the area of Postcolonial research. In Difference, Discrimination, and the Discourse of Colonialism, he stated, “There is always, in Said, the suggestion that colonial power is possessed entirely by the colonizer which is a historical and theoretical simplification” (200). He asserted that colonization is not just a acutely aware body of data (Said’s manifest Orientalism) but additionally the “unconscious positivity” of fantasy and need (Bhabha’s latent Orientalism) (Young, “White Mythologies” 181).

Bhabha used that vantage level — of liminal spaces — to check the phenomenon of cultural translation in his essay “How Newness Enters the World…” which was revealed in a set of essays titled underneath The Location of Culture (1994). The liminal zone that the postcolonial immigrant occupies is the guiding question of this essay. Bhabha explains: I used architecture literally as a reference, utilizing the attic, the boiler room, and the stairwell to make associations between sure binary divisions corresponding to higher and lower….

The stairwell grew to become a liminal space, a pathway between the higher and lower areas…. (3-4)

In “How Newness…” Bhabha directs this framework to critique Fredric Jameson’s Postmodernism Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. He argues that the category of Postmodern assumes a neat categorization of subject positions, which leaves no room for subjects to exist in the liminal house. He asserts, “For Jameson, the potential of changing into historical demands a containment of this disjunctive social time.

” (217)

Bhabha elaborates upon the idea of liminal space with the help of the idea of blasphemy, because it comes out in Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and underlines the controversy of the Rushdie Affair2. Bhabha says, “Blasphemy just isn’t merely a misrepresentation of the sacred by the secular; it’s a moment when the subject-matter or the content material of cultural tradition is being overwhelmed, or alienated, in the act of translation.” (225) In essence, Bhabha is arguing that the very act of inhabiting the liminal space — whether or not by Rushdie or his characters — is blasphemy.

However, it’s needed to contemplate that critics like Timothy Brennan declare that Rushdie “… isn’t abroad in any respect. Politically and professionally he’s at residence.”(Wars 65) Brennan adds that Rushdie’s information of Islam is limited to some childhood experiences and a course that he did at Cambridge University. If we take a look at Rushdie from this attitude, then Rushdie would cease to inhabit what Bhabha calls the liminal space between two cultures and instead belong to and communicate for the imperial west.

Nevertheless, aside from Rushdie’s fiction, Bhabha employs numerous different kinds of evidence to support his theoretical stand on this essay. The first of which is the epigraph3 from Walter Benjamin’s “On Language as Such…” on this essay Benjamin means that translation is the origin of all data: “The language of issues can move into language of information and name only through translation” (70-71). It is the hole between the original and the translated text that Bhabha phrases because the liminal house.

To illustrate this use of translation in cultural terms Bhabha cites Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. He argues that Marlow’s mislead the intended (about her fiance’s final words) is an example of cultural translation the place “Marlow does not merely repress the ‘truth’ … as a lot as he enacts a poetics of translation….” (212). Marlow inhabits the in-between house of the colony and the western metropolis, the place nothing crosses from one to the opposite in its original kind, without a certain degree of cultural translation.

This essay is organized in three sections: New World Borders, Foreign Relations and Community Matters. However, it’s strung together by the frequent thought of liminality. The first section draws a parallel between Marlow’s lie and Jameson’s concept of the postmodern, which Bhabha calls his “theme park”. Both of these, according to Bhabha’s framework, are makes an attempt to maintain the “conversation of humankind going” and “to protect the neo-pragmatic universe”. (212) Bhabha elucidates his criticism of Jameson by re-visiting the poem China, which Jameson had earlier commented upon in his book4. He contests Jameson for not appropriating the novelty of China but translating it back into certain acquainted phrases. He destabilizes Jameson’s periodization and claims that communities cannot be defined in pre-modernist phrases, the history of communities parallels the historical past of modernity.

In the next part, Bhabha scrutinises Jameson’s postmodern metropolis through the subject place of migrants and minorities. He challenges the significance given to class relations within the Marxist discourse by shifting the focus to minority groups. It is necessary to notice that minority is a not only a matter of quantity, however as Deleuze and Guattari level out in “Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature”, it is a matter of subject position.

The final part poses the last problem to Jameson, as Bhabha pitches communities instantly against class, using Partha Chatterjee’s “A Response…” as proof. Bhabha feedback, “Community disturbs the grand globalizing narrative of capital, displaces the emphasis on production in ‘class’ collectivity…” (230). In other phrases, minority subject position of belonging to a community punctures the bigger Marxist narrative of class-consciousness; he calls neighborhood the “antagonist supplement of modernity.”

Bhabha concludes the essay by proposing an alternative perspective through Derek Walcott’s poems. Bhabha attracts a bridge5 between the central issues of naming in Walcott’s poem (“Names”) and the central concept of his essay by asserting that the best to signify, the right to naming, is itself “an act of cultural translation.” (234). He suggests a breakthrough within the type of the areas that lie between “above and below and heaven and hell”. He argues that the only possibility of an agency that allows one to posses one thing anew lies in the in-between spaces — the liminal spaces.

Concepts, similar to liminality are indispensible in today’s ever-globalising context but many different theorists have criticized his theoretical mannequin on varied grounds. The Indian Marxist critic Aijaz Ahmad says that Bhabha makes use of a “… a theoretical melange which randomly invokes Levi-Strauss in a single phrase, Foucault in another, Lacan in yet one more.” (68), he asserts that in such a framework “theory itself turns into a market of ideas….” (70). Viewed from a Marxist standpoint, Bhabha’s theories could seem as in the event that they leave no room for resistance and action, Ahmad claims that Bhabha is irrelevant for a majority of the population that has been denied access to such advantages of “modernity” (69), and that Bhabha cuts entry to “progress” as properly as a sense of a “long past”.

Ahmed’s criticism can be taken a step additional to conduct a theoretical study of the effectiveness of Bhabha’s arguments. In Nation and Narration Bhabha introduced that his intention was to have interaction “the insights of poststructuralist theories of narrative data … so as to evoke this ambivalent margin of the nation-space….” (4) Catherine Belsey in Poststructuralism… explains that the easy inference of poststructuralism is that language is “differential” and not “referential” in nature. (9) Taking from Saussure’s concept on language, it studies language synchronically the place the signifier just isn’t referentially tied to the signified. On the opposite hand, it’s evident from Benjamin’s essays6 that he views language as a diachronic system where it represents the “…medium by which objects meet and enter into relationship with one another, not immediately, as as quickly as in the mind of the augur or priest, however of their essences” (68). In different phrases, Benjamin’s concept of language is referential, where the word has or as soon as had a direct connection with the factor it represents.

These two models of language seem like blocks from completely different puzzles, which do not likely match with each other. This poses a serious challenge to the effectiveness of Bhabha’s theoretical groundwork, as he doesn’t handle this rift between the two models and employs them simultaneously.

However, we can not low cost Bhabha’s breakthrough on this ground, as his theories are important to make sense of the postcolonial condition of immigrants and diasporic Literature, especially in the ever-globalizing world that we inhabit. He has given an indispensible perception into the possibilities that lie in these liminal spaces.

Works Cited
Ahmad, Aijaz. In concept: Classes, nations, literatures. London: Verso, 1994. Belsey, Catherine. Poststructuralism: A very short introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Benjamin, Walter, and Knut Tarnowski. “Doctrine of the Similar (1933).” New German Critique 17 1979: 65-69 —. “On Language as Such and on the Language of Man.” Walter Benjamin: chosen writings 1 1996: 62-74 Bhabha, Homi K. (1983a), “Difference, Discrimination, and the Discourse of Colonialism” The Politics of Theory. Ed. Francis Barker et al. Colchester: University of Essex. —. “How Newness Enters the World: Postmodern Space, Postcolonial Times and the Trials of Cultural Translation.” The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 2004. 212-235. —. Nation and narration. New York: Routledge, 1990.

—. “The Location of Culture. 1994. “With a brand new preface by the creator. London: Routledge, 2004. Brennan, Timothy. Wars of place: The cultural politics of left and right. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. Chatterjee, Partha. “A Response to Taylor’s “Modes of Civil Society”.” Public Culture 3.1 1990: 119-132. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. Oxford: World’s Classics, 1990. Deleuze, Gilles. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Theory and History of Literature. Vol. 30. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986. Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism, Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press, 1991. Rushdie, Salman. The Satanic Verses. 1988.” London: Vintage, 1998. Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage 1979.

Walcott, Derek. Collected Poems, 1948-1984. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1992. Young, Robert. White Mythologies: History Writing and the West. London and New York:
Routledge (1991).

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