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From Harvey To Our Historic Moment

At Johns Hopkins--I was there from 1985 to 1992--Harvey was one of the star professors, widely admired for his readings of Marx. He was also known to be a major detractor of emerging postcolonial critique. In what appears, in retrospect, to have been a bit of a tactical miscalculation on his part, he may have wildly underestimated both the intellectual richness and the moral power of the postcolonial wave that was reaching the US at the time. Or, simply, he was just to eurowhite for the task. Either way, he just couldn't, wouldn't accept the idea that postcolonial thinkers, most clearly the Subaltern Studies group, but also many others, from Latin America to the Caribbean, not to mention Africa and east Asia, etc., were standing, as Stuart Hall so famously quipped, "within shouting distance to Marx.” In other words, Harvey failed to note that the postcolonial challenge did, or could have done, a major service to help Marxism avoid becoming irrelevant by ossification. Nor …

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