Becoming-Postcolonial, Becoming-Caribbean: Édouard Glissant and the Poetics of Creolization

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Critical responses to ‘creolization’ have tended to characterise it as a process of synthesis and adaptation engendered by the colonisation of the Caribbean. While this suggests a certain exclusivity to the New World experience, this essay exposes the broader significance of creolization theory for postcolonial studies: tracing the developing critical application of the term through the writings of creolization’s foremost theorist Édouard Glissant, highlighting the way in which his articulation of a whole-world field of Relation intersects with European philosophies of immanence, particularly those of Spinoza and Deleuze. Arguing that Glissant develops a poetics that is both immanent and specific, I challenge Peter Hallward’s critique of postcolonialism’s singularising tendency and develop an alternative approach to the singular based on Derek Attridge’s revisioning of the term as the new. This will be shown to shed further light on Glissant’s assertion that what distinguishes creolization is not intermixing per se but the creation of an unpredictable, original form.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-117
JournalTextual Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Glissant, Edouard
  • creolization
  • Caribbean philosophy


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