Postcolonial Theory in 100 Texts

Richard Wright at Bandung, Indonesia

Richard Wright at Bandung, Indonesia


The following books are the top 100 books in postcolonial theory (followed by additional recommendations).
The list is subjective and idiosyncratic, and, quite possibly, completely wrong.

The list is in alphabetical order by author. The list is the grounding for an annotated and curated online bibliography under the auspices of Oxford University Press (coming soon).

The Original 100

Abu-Lughod, Janet. Before European Hegemony. 
Achebe, Chinua. “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness"
Afzal-Khan, Fawzia and Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, eds. The Pre-occupation of Postcolonial Studies. 
Ahmad, Aijaz. In Theory. 
Ahmed, Sara. Strange Encounters
Al-e-Ahmad, Jalal. Occidentosis: A Plague from the West.
Amin, Shahid. Event, Metaphor, Memory. 
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities.
Appadurai, Arjun. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy"
Appadurai, Arjun and Carol Breckenridge. “Why Public Culture?”
Appiah, Kwame Anthony. In My Father’s House
Aravamudan, Srinivas. Tropicopolitans. 
Arondekar, Anjali. For the Record. 
Asad, Talal. Formations of the Secular.

Baucom, Ian. Specters of the Atlantic. 
Benhabib, Seyla. Another Cosmopolitanism. 
Benitez-Rojo, Antonio. The Repeating Island. 
Beverley, John. Subalternity and Representation: Arguments in Cultural Theory.
Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture
Boym, Svetlana. The Future of Nostalgia. 
Brennan, Timothy. At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now. 

Cabral, Amilcar. “National Liberation and Culture"
Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. 
Chakrabarty, Dipesh. Provincializing Europe. 
Chakrabarty, Dipesh. “The Climate of History: Four Theses."
Chatterjee, Partha. The Nation and its Fragments.
Cheah, Pheng and Bruce Robbins, eds. Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation. 
Clifford, James and George Marcus, eds. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography

Devji, Faisal. The Impossible Indian. 
Dirlik, Arif. “The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism"

Fabian, Johannes. Time and the Other.
Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. 
Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin White Masks

Gandhi, Leela. Postcolonial Theory: An Introduction. 
Gandhi, Leela. Affective Communities. 
Gandhi, Leela. The Common Cause. 
Gandhi, M.K. and Anthony Parel (ed.). Hind Swaraj. 
Gaonkar, D. (ed.) (2001). Alternative Modernities. 
Ghosh, Amitav. The Great Derangement. 
Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic. 
Glissant, Édouard. The Poetics of Relation. 
Goldberg, D.T., Quayson, A., eds. Relocating Postcolonialism. 
Guha, Ranajit, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, eds. Selected Subaltern Studies. 

Hall, Stuart. “Cultural Identity and Diaspora"
Harlow, Barbara and Mia Carter, eds. Archives of Empire
Hook, Derek. A Critical Psychology of the Postcolonial. 

James, C.L.R. Mariners, Renegades, and Castaways. 
James, C.L.R. The Black Jacobins. 

Lamming, George. The Pleasures of Exile. 
Lazarus, Neil. The Postcolonial Unconscious. 
Legg, Stephen. Prostitution and the Ends of Empire.
Loomba, Ania. Colonialism/Postcolonialism.
Loomba, Ania, Suvir Kaul, Matt Bunzl, Antoinette Burton, Jed Etsy, eds. Postcolonial Studies and Beyond
Lowe, Lisa. The Intimacies of Four Continents
Lugones, Maria. Peregrinajes/Pilgrimages.

Mamdani, Mahmood. Citizen and Subject. 
Mahmood, Saba. Politics of Piety.
Mannoni, Octave. Prospero and Caliban. 
Masuzawa, Tomoko. The Invention of World Religions
Mbembe, Achille. On the Postcolony. 
Mbembe, Achille. Critique of Black Reason
McClintock, Anne. Imperial Leather. 
McKittrick, Katherine, ed. Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis. 
Mehta, Uday Singh. Liberalism and Empire. 
Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. 
Mignolo, Walter. The Darker Side of the Renaissance. 
Mitchell, Timothy and Anupama Rao, et. al., “Mission Statement and Responses"
Mohanty, Chandra Tapalde. Feminism Without Borders
Moraña, Mabel, Enrique D. Dussel, Carlos A. Jáuregui, eds. Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the Postcolonial Debate

Nandy, Ashis. The Intimate Enemy. 
Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Decolonising the Mind
Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. 

Perry, Benita. “Problems in Current Theories of Colonial Discourse.”
Povinelli, Elizabeth. The Cunning of Recognition
Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation
Puar, Jasbir. Terrorist Assemblages. 

Quijano, Aníbal. “Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality."

Rajan, Rajeswari Sunder. Real and Imagined Women. 
Robinson, Cedric. Black Marxism. 
Rushdie, Salman. Midnight’s Children. 

Said, Edward. Reflections on Exile and Other Essays. 
Said, Edward. Humanism and Democratic Critique. 
Said, Edward. Orientalism.
Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. 
Scott, David. Refashioning Futures. 
Scott, David. Conscripts of Modernity. 
Senghor, Leopold Sedar. “Negritude: A Humanism of the Twentieth-Century" 
Shohat, Ella. “Notes on the ‘Post-Colonial’” 
Skaria, Ajay. Unconditional Equality. 
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” 
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. Critique of Postcolonial Reason. 
Stoler, Ann Laura. Race and the Education of Desire.

Wilder, Gary. Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World. 
Williams, Eric. Capitalism and Slavery. 
Williams, Patrick and Laura Chrisman, eds. Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory. 

Viswanathan, Gauri. Masks of Conquest. 
Viswanathan, Gauri. Outside the Fold. 

Young, Robert J.C. Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction
Young, Robert J.C. Postcolonial Theory: A Very Short Introduction. 
Young, Robert J.C. “Postcolonial Remains"

Additional Recommendations





[updated 20 September 2018 with the help of anonymous reviewers, Begüm Adalet, and others] 

Abu-Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim Women Need Saving?
Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large.
Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffins, and Helen Tiffin. The Empire Writes Back.

Balibar, Étienne. We the People of Europe?
Burton, Antoinette and Helena Pohlandt-McCormick, eds. Archive Stories.

Cabral, Amilcar. Resistance and Decolonisation. 
Césaire, Aimé. Notebook of my Return to the Native Land.
Comaroff John and Jean Comaroff. Of Revelation and Revolution.
Coronil, Fernando. “Elephants in the Americas?"

Dirks, Nicholas, ed. Colonialism and Culture.
Dirlik, Arif. “Is There History After Eurocentrism?”

Galeano, Eduardo. Open Veins. 
Gandhi, Leela. “The Pauper’s Gift”
Glissant, Éduoard. Caribbean Discourse.  

Hall, Stuart. Stranger Familiar.
Hartman, Saidiya. Scenes of Subjection.
Hartman, Saidiya. Lose Your Mother.

JanMohammed, Abdul. Manichean Aesthetics.

Kakir, Sudhir. The Colors of Violence.

Maclean, Kama and J. Daniel Elam. “Who is a Revolutionary?”
Mani, Lata. Contentious Traditions.
Mantena, Karuna. Alibis of Empire. 
Mitchell, Timothy. Colonising Egypt.
Mudimbe, V.Y., The Invention of Africa.

Reddy, Gayatri. With Respect to Sex.

Said, Edward. The World, the Text, the Critic.
Sartre, Jean Paul. Black Orpheus.
Scott, J. Barton. Spiritual Despots.
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. The Death of a Discipline
Stoler, Ann Laura. Along the Archival Grain.

Taylor, Christopher. Empire of Neglect.
Todorov, Tzvetan. Conquest of the Americas.
Trinh T. Minh-Ha. Woman, Native, Other.
Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past.

Wenzel, Jennifer. Bulletproof.
Wolf, Eric. Europe and the People Without History.

Young, Robert J.C. White Mythologies.