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The Postcolonial ContemporaryPolitical Imaginaries for the Global Present$
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Jini Kim Watson and Gary Wilder

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823280063

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823280063.001.0001

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The Wrong Side of History: Anachronism and Authoritarianism

The Wrong Side of History: Anachronism and Authoritarianism

(p.259) Twelve: The Wrong Side of History: Anachronism and Authoritarianism
The Postcolonial Contemporary

Jini Kim Watson

Fordham University Press

This chapter analyzes recent cultural production that "looks back" on the Cold War capitalist-authoritarian postcolonial regimes of South Korea and Singapore: Hwang Sŏk-yŏng’s fictionalization of the 1980 Kwangju Uprising in The Old Garden[Oraedoin Chŏngwŏn] (2000), and Tan Pin Pin’s banned documentary on political exiles, To Singapore with Love (2014). Both texts invite us to reckon with state violence, imprisonment and political exile from “the wrong side of history,” that is, from the perspective of political dissidents, communists, and student leaders whom neoliberal History can only view as anachronistic and superfluous to the arrival of capitalist modernity. The essay argues for the figure of anachronism as an aesthetic strategy which indexes the fraught continuities between an apparently “past” era of decolonization and our neoliberal present. It rethinks the tasks of postcolonial theory in light of Cold War bipolarity, and explores the way residues of imagined futures remain persistent and unresolved components of the present.

Keywords:   anachronism, authoritarianism, Cold War, exile, Hwang Sŏk-yŏng, Kwangju Uprising, Tan Pin Pin

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