Repairing Repair: Postcolonial Paranoia, Affective Temporalities, and Reparative Reading
Keywords:affect, critique, reparative reading, paranoia, temporality
Recent work at the intersection of affect theory and postcolonial studies has generally been skeptical of the reparative turn, concerned about its suspected complicity with imperialist agendas. That skepticism has often been accompanied by reaffirmations of the value of paranoia as the reliable basis for critique. This essay examines the consequences of having paranoia as the default orientation of postcolonial criticism as it reflects on how reparativity might expand the field’s understanding of what constitutes meaningful critique. Toward that goal, this essay will argue that reparative reading cultivates attentiveness to the ecology of temporalities that are immanent in postcolonial texts, an attentiveness that could facilitate the imagination of alternative futures. The essay will ground its theoretical reflections by revisiting a canonical text of Postcolonial Literary Studies, Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters, examining the predominantly paranoid critical history that the novel has generated before offering an alternative reparative reading of the work.