Imperium reaches another milestone with the publication of its
second volume. On the strength of the first volume it has been able to
attract the attention of both individual academics and further and higher
education institutions. We now have a subscriber base in eighteen different
countries, in all the five continents. Our subscribers include reputed
research universities as well as those whose strengths are in teaching
and training. The publication of the second volume reaffirms the scholarly
goals that the journal has tried to achieve.
Imperium continues to use interdisciplinarity as an underpinning
quest/ method that connects, interrogates, and validates the borderlands
of disciplinary pursuit of knowledge. The second volume has contributions
that focus on literary criticism of Henry Jamess work, socio-linguistic
examination of language rights, industrial relations in Scottish education,
student mobility in the Commonwealth, thematic explorations of wrath
in African fiction in French, telenovelas, culture and modernity in Brazil,
complex identity patterns in postcolonial Hong Kong, and the (im)proper
media manipulation in reporting the recent events/ war in the Balkans.
There is also a Work-in-Progress (more on it later) item on
colonialism and the internet.
The online community that the journal has attempted to create and to cater
to is very much international. The composition of the editorial board
reflects such a concern, as does the geographic distribution of contributors
to the current volume. The contributors are based in universities in Luton,
Coventry and London (UK), Windsor (Canada), Belgrade (Yugoslavia), Hong
Kong (China) and Perth (Australia). Furthermore, there are two new members
of the editorial board: Andrew Graham Yooll, the Senior Editor of the
Buenos Aires Herald, and Dr Graeme Harper, from the University of
Swansea, the Australian novelist and editor of two forthcoming collections
The focus on an integration of the specific and the global, and the enlargement
of the canon of postcolonial studies to include hitherto neglected areas
both in terms of time and space continues to represent a distinctive feature
of Imperium. Such an approach is all the more necessary today in
the current atmosphere of anxiety and apprehension in order to defend
scholarship in this area, which has been affected by narrowing definitions
and increasing intolerance of what poco (postcolonial) or
pomo (postmodern) studies offer.
While the field of postcolonial studies undoubtedly benefited from ideas
rooted in binaries that emerge(d) out of specific colonial formations
of recent centuries, it is necessary to extend the issues beyond an English
language-centred or Euro-centred examination of events. Such an expansion
will bring scholarship of different imperia of the past and of a variety
of locations into the fold of postcolonial studies. Critiques of colonial
and postcolonial ancient societies are currently bundled away into discipline-bound
categories or venerated as classical scholarship untouched by trendy
academic fashions with a studies suffix in their name. A critical
look at the past might offer new and comparative insights into contemporary
events. For this reason Imperium will continue to argue for an
expansion of the canon even if it is unsettling for traditionalists within
the field of postcolonial studies. Blurring of sharp binaries is necessary
for a balanced discourse in academia and, equally, if not more so, in
There is also a need to expand the canon of postcolonial studies in terms
of the language of critical discourse, which is currently dominated by
standard English/ French/ Spanish/ Portuguese, and also by the dominant
language of postcolonial states that blindly (and conveniently) tries
to replicate the one nation-one language formula of European nation states.
This raises a two-fold problem. Firstly, how to enrich the discussion
in standard English in Imperium by interfacing it with critical
traditions available in other European languages whose development over
the last five centuries or so was mediated by colonial/ imperial experience?
The second aspect of the problem is how to recognise, validate and interact
with scholarly traditions in languages outside the abovementioned,
or in non-standard forms in the above languages. These language/ dialectal
traditions have remained largely invisible or under-visible even in postcolonial
Studies. The response of some creative artists (and their audience) in
postcolonial situations remains understandable: Ngugi wa Thiongo,
Sembene Ousmane, and Afro-American writers in general have tried to walk
away and find new roles and meaning either by switching to non-European
languages, or by expressing themselves in media other than literature
(film/ music etc), or by rediscovering and validating dialectal forms
of English and using oral/ anecdotal narrative patterns.
The above two-fold problem is not unique to academic journals. Some academic
institutions have also tended to redefine their English literature or
literature in English courses by including samples of writings in different
languages or in English translation or even according different media
(film, for example) a place in the curriculum. Postcolonial studies degrees
at the University of Luton, to cite an example, include(d) modules such
as South Asian Literature in Translation and African
Literature', employing examples of African literature originally produced
in English, French, Portuguese, and Gikuyu, and a film version of Xala.
However, as an online journal, Imperium offers greater flexibility
than established and validated academic courses to address the issues.
Focusing on texts/ sub-titles/ voiceover in English, translation is possibly
the only practical way to address the above issues of language and intellectual
traditions. However, it is not always possible to get a translation at
an affordable price or in time for the reader and the contributor to discuss
matters. Also, the financial costs involved in making such resources available
results in a mediation of the process of selection, translation and distribution
by commercial publishers and/ or bureaucracies whose concerns may be non-academic/
scholarly. While encouraging accessibility to texts through English translation(s),
and by attenpting to review texts in translation, Imperium would also
like to tap into the linguistic capabilities of its online community.
The journal welcomes its bi/ tri/ multilingual (or dialectal) readership
to suggest or contribute parallel/ joint reviews of at least two items
(books, exhibitions etc). One of these review items should have been created/
conducted in standard English and the other in a different language/ dialect.
Suggestions and offers to undertake the above reviews are welcome.
A six-monthly wait is a long time in the exchange of ideas especially
for an online journal. In order to expedite communication between the
members of the Imperium-enabled virtual community the journal will
provide e-mail addresses of all contributors. Readers may want to contact
the contributors directly and may find that such an exchange of views
might be helpful. However, if those involved in such exchanges would like
to share the discussion with the general readership of Imperium,
there will be space for Readers Views in each of the
future volumes. The material will have to be submitted before the normal
deadline for the relevant volume and will be subject to normal refereeing/
The second volume of the journal has a new category of submission entitled
Work in Progress. This section of the journal is intended
to provide opportunities for initiating or continuing ongoing discussion(s).
In this section the author(s) present arguments or a case study that is
yet to be developed fully. Such a situation could arise on account of
the submission being only part of a wider work which is currently being
developed and/ or because the author(s) would like to explore some ideas
before articulating them through a relatively more tightly structured
and coherent argument.
Ideally, the Work in Progress section is intended to provide
a platform for students and researchers to publicise their projects/ dissertations/
theses. Reviewer(s) will provide the author(s) with specific suggestions
and comments for further work. Readers are encouraged to debate and discuss
issues directly with the author in order to engage with and encourage
the contributors to this section of the journal. Work in Progress
should be considered a private communication for copyright
purposes and one would need written approval of the author(s) before the
material is cited elsewhere.
The next volume of Imperium will focus on the theme of Englishness.
Articles, suggestions/ offers of reviews of books, exhibitions, films
and other media coverage of Englishness are welcome. The deadline for
receipt of submissions for the Spring 2002 volume is the 15th of December.