Thursday, April 17, 2008

Moore's Empire and Apocalypse -"Mimicry" and "Catachresis"

I just finished my (co-authored) book review of Empire and Apocalypse: Postcolonialism and the New Testament. In The Bible in the Modern World Series. Vol. 12. By Stephen D. Moore. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006. This slim monograph was truly a riveting read, especially to a newbie to formal "postcolonial studies." I have found myself for sometime within the conversation of Horsley, Carter, and others regarding the excavation of the anti-imperial sentiment replete in the New Testament texts. Of late I have become increasingly interested in postcolonialism because it provides several conceptual tools that I think are necessary; indeed, what Moore presents in this text is challenging and unfortunately far off the radar at the institution I study at currently, but I hope to remedy that in the future.

I'm not going to reproduce my book review here, nor offer a modified one. Rather I would like to articulate several conceptual-critical tools which Moore took advantage of and employed that I think are novel and worthy of further consideration. The first concept is the notion of colonial mimicry. This, as I understand it, Moore adapts from Homi Bhabha and subsequently Tat-siong Benny Liew's application of it throughout the Gospel of Mark. Clearly, my efforts now will be expended building my postcolonial conceptual toolbox through analyses of these and other materials. However, I find myself resonating deeply with the both/and internal struggle of the resistance discourse which stands against and yet participates ideologically in what Moore calls catachresis; I propose a new term in its place, with a similar notion, but more precise terminology: "perichoresis" (this being a term I am appropriating from trinitarian dialogue [from Gk. peri “around” + choreuo “dance in chorus”] typically denoting the notion of mutual indwelling and interpenetration without confusion of personal distinction). I find this a more helpful conceptual notion, though modified in my own use, than Spivak's catachresis (for his definition see the article by Mieke Bal, Semiotic Elements in Academic Practices [Critical Inquiry, Vol. 22, No. 3, (Spring, 1996), 583-4]. Yet, my modification takes the conceptual structure that Moore has employed. This notion of the mutual antipathy and allegiance internal to the colonized with reference to the colonizer and the ideological regime in which the colonized has been cognitively born into seems to be the greatest(?) or more promising conceptual tools offered in postcolonial analyses.

I would be very interested to know what others are thinking in this regard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog! Looking forward to more...
One thing though: "Investigations" within the subtitle is misspelled