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Homi Bhabha and ‘Signs Taken for Wonders’: A second reading

Mishra, V.ORCID: 0000-0002-0193-9736 (2020) Homi Bhabha and ‘Signs Taken for Wonders’: A second reading. Textual Practice . Latest Article.

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Homi Bhabha’s essay ‘Signs Taken for Wonders: Questions of ambivalence and authority under a tree outside Delhi, May 1817’ first published in 1985 and reprinted in his influential book The Location of Culture (1994) is one of the most important essays in postcolonial theory. Its key coinages – ‘hybridity’, ‘sly civility’, ‘mimicry’ – have had such a profound impact that they are now part of the theory’s essential components. One of the more incisive critiques of the essay came from the Edinburgh textual critic and historian of books Bill Bell who took to task the historical evidence on which the essay draws its archival insights. In this essay I turn to both Bhabha’s essay and Bell’s historical excavation to show Bhabha’s continued relevance and address Bell’s turn to history through Indian readings of the same archive in the vernacular.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Creative Media, Arts and Design
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: © 2020 Informa UK Limited
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