Subjects That Matter

Philosophy, Feminism, and Postcolonial Theory

By Namita Goswami

Subjects: Postcolonial Studies, Feminist Philosophy, Philosophy, Continental Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438475677, 268 pages, September 2019
Paperback : 9781438475660, 268 pages, July 2020

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Table of contents


Introduction: What Tradition Tells, Tradition Wanted: Subjects That Matter

Part I. Heterogeneity

1. Objects Behaving Like Subjects: Because We’re Way Past the Post

2. Without Sacrifice, Without Vengeance: The Postcolonial Adorno

3. Europe as an Other: Subalternity, Postcolonial Theory, and Philosophers of the Future

4. The Second Sex: Philosophy, Feminism, and the Race for Theory

5. Hit-Take, Hit-Alliance: Paradigmatically Postcolonial and Exemplarily Western

Part II. The Resurrection of the Flesh

6. I Am an Animal: Time, Cruelty, and Metaphysics

7. The (M)other of All Posts: Postcolonial Melancholia in the Anthropocene

8. Compulsory Rationality in the Economics of Empire: Sati, Always Sati

9. Sacred Texts, Sacred Deaths: For Family Women

10. Wagging Fingers and Missing Dicks: An Updated Grammar Book (Race, Gender, and the Animal in the
Age of Global Warming)

Conclusion: Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism 2. 0: An Aesthetic Education and the Planetary Imperative


Argues for postcoloniality as a model for philosophical practice.


In this ambitious book, Namita Goswami draws on continental philosophy, postcolonial criticism, critical race theory, and African American and postcolonial feminisms to offer postcoloniality as a model for philosophical practice. Moving among and between texts, traditions, and frameworks, including the work of Gayatri Spivak, Theodor Adorno, Barbara Christian, Paul Gilroy, Neil Lazarus, and Hortense Spillers, among others, she charts a journey that takes us beyond Eurocentrism by understanding postcoloniality as the pursuit of heterogeneity, that is, of a non-antagonistic understanding of difference. Recognizing that philosophy, feminism, and postcolonial theory share a common concern with the concept of heterogeneity, Goswami shows how postcoloniality empowers us to engage more productively the relationships between these disciplines. Subjects That Matter confronts the ways Eurocentrism, an identity politics that considers difference as inherently oppositional, relegates minority traditions to a diagnostic and/or corrective standpoint to prevent their general implications from playing a critical and transformative role in how we understand subjectivity and agency. Through unexpected, often surprising, and thought-provoking analytic connections and continuities, this book's interdisciplinary approach reveals a postcolonial pluralism that expands philosophical resources, confounds and limits our habitual disciplinary lexicons, and opens up new areas of inquiry.

Namita Goswami is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Indiana State University. She is the coeditor (with Maeve O'Donovan and Lisa Yount) of Why Race and Gender Still Matter: An Intersectional Approach.


"This is a groundbreaking contribution to a number of distinct but intersecting fields. " — Amy Allen, author of The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory