Left in the Waiting Room of History?: Provincializing the European Child
Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies
Taylor & Francis
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies on 19 November 2013, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369801X.2013.858984#.VSebNidwbct .
Reason for embargo
This paper highlights an important lacuna within critiques of infantilizing (neo-)colonial European discourses: the failure to question whom or what was the ‘child’ against which non-Europeans were gauged. The premise is that the unacknowledged figure at the heart of these critiques is in fact the figure of the universalised, European child. Not only is this paradoxical, it also opens the potential for taking these critiques further, and for shifting the analytical lens away from the racialized, infantilized Other in order to challenge the assumed universality of European notions of childhood against which the Other was, and sometimes remains, positioned. We develop this critique through a sympathetic engagement with broader postcolonial writings on the subject of infantilization and, specifically, with Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe (2000). The paper reveals the paradoxical presence of the figure of the European child within Chakrabarty’s critique of Eurocentrism, arguing that this figure is present even as Chakrabarty seeks to provincialize Europe. The paper explores examples of the work that the figure of the universal European child continues to perform and concludes with some reflections on what it might mean to provincialize the European child, both for postcolonial theory and for the broader ethical issues this raises.
Copyright © 2013 copyright Taylor & Francis.
2015, Vol. 17, pp. 113 - 134