Constructs by Which We Live
This book explores various failures of human rights and the prevailing theoretical orientations within postcolonial studies through what it calls an “embodied politics of reading.” In particular, it considers two paradoxes that trouble “liberal” articulations of human rights by reading four postcolonial novels, each of which variously censures liberalism's practiced vocabularies for eclipsing key facets of selfhood: Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (1981), Nawal El Saadawi's Woman at Point Zero (1973), J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace (1999), and Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things (1997). It shows that liberal human rights discourses and norms exhibit a profound ambivalence toward embodiment, underwritten by the dual fictions of human dignity and bodily integrity and negating core dimensions of embodied experience.
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