Laura Chrisman's 'Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory: A Reader', was published in 1993. It became a landmark of postcolonial studies. This new text offers insights into the field she helped establish. Both polemical and scholarly, "Postcolonial contraventions" is challenging in its analysis of black Atlantic studies, colonial discourse analysis and postcolonial theory. Chrisman provides important paradigms for understanding imperial literature, Englishness, and black transnationalism. Her concerns range from the metropolitan centre of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", to fatherhood in Du Bois's "The Souls of Black Folk"; from the marketing of South African literature to cosmopolitanism in Chinua Achebe; from utopian discourse in Benita Parry to Frederic Jameson's theorization of empire. Chrisman also engages critically with postcolonial intellectuals Paul Gilroy, David Lloyd, Anne McClintock, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak and Robert Young, uncovering conservatism from unexpected quarters.
The book joins a growing chorus of materialist voices within postcolonial studies, and addresses an urgent need for greater attention to the political, historical and socio-economic elements of cultural production. This book should be of interest to students, researchers and teachers of postcolonial studies, theory and literature; black diaspora and Atlantic studies; imperialism and Victorian literature of empire, and British literature of the 19th century.