Decolonize Practical Criticism?

Ben Etherington*, Jarad Zimbler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reflects on what it might mean to decolonize practical criticism in the current moment by considering previous responses to the same imperative. It discusses critical and institutional interventions by Nge wa Thiong'o, Mervyn Morris, Chidi Amuta, and, more recently, Harry Garuba and Benge Okot. In this way, the article demonstrates that the antidote to colonial paradigms of literary criticism has not been a pedagogy that prioritizes context over text but a critical practice oriented to a work's formal and technical context of intelligibility. Such a practice demands that readers inhabit the literary constraints and possibilities encountered by postcolonial or otherwise peripheral writers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
Issue number270
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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