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Mishra, V. (2011) Multiculturalism. The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, 19 (1). pp. 109-140.

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This chapter focuses on books published in the field of multiculturalism/multicultural studies, primarily in 2009. The review begins with a fine book by Axel Honneth in which he discusses Adorno’s critique of rational idealism and the importance of a negative dialectics in thinking through the limits of philosophy. Adorno’s emphasis on the subjective apprehension of reality resonates with multicultural theories of alternative reasons, a point that is critiqued in an important book by Christopher Douglas. The chapter then examines Anzaldúa’s celebration of blood-derived sensibility and of the mestiza or hybrid subject as constituting the ideal subject of multiculturalism. The survey takes up Paul Weller’s retrospective summary of the effects of the Rushdie affair as a multicultural mirror of the anxieties of our own times. The Pakistani-Australian Irfan Yusuf’s journey towards self-discovery via the Sufi path of Islam is treated as a way of avoiding the monocultural push of Islam in multicultural nations. A more theoretical discussion of the links between colonial definitions of ‘religion’ and their superimposition on non-Western belief systems finds an excellent text in Mandair’s brilliant book. The survey concludes with books on multicultural diasporas, quotidian multiculturalism, and the challenge to the literary canon posed by postcolonial, ethnic and comparative literary studies.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Copyright: 2011 The Author
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