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  • Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice

    Author(s):
    Pages: 232
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $94.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5606-6
  • Paperback: $24.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5621-9
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  • Prologue. Aftermaths 1

    Part I. Tragedy, Time

    1. Revolution's Tragic Ends: Temporal Dimensions of Political Action 33

    2. Stranded in the Present: The Ruins of Time 67

    Part II. Memory, Justice

    3. Generations of Memory: The Work of Mourning 99

    4. Evading Truths: The Rhetoric of Transitional Justice 127

    Epilogue. The Temporality of Forgiving 165

    Acknowledgments 173

    Notes 177

    Index 215
  • "The strength of Omens of Adversity lies in its ability to productively and persuasively move across interpretive practices, weaving together a diverse array of sources.... The work has deep implications for thinking about imaginations of the future"

    "Scholars struggling with similar questions and concepts will find here food for thought."

    "David Scott has written a third installment of his innovative project to historicize our political present. Like Refashioning Futures (1999) and Conscripts of Modernity (2004), Omens of Adversity models new ways of writing history and producing theory through an engagement with the futures past, and pasts present, of Caribbean politics."

    Omens of Adversity is a grim, sobering, and tragic book that should be required for all graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in postcolonial theory, Caribbean history, cultural anthropology, and others dealing with the “end of history” or political transition theory. Scholars with those interests should consider it a must read. It is not only a cautionary tale to constantly take stock of the past lest we live in a recurring catastrophic present but also one of the most intellectually gratifying and adventurous books of recent years.”  

    “This conceptually very dense book is surely pioneering in the way that it redefines temporality and political action and gives a language and method to study past and/or failed revolutionary actions.”

    "In examining tragedy, memory, time, and justice through the prism of the Grenada Revolution, Scott achieves what many theorists fail to do, namely, to draw universal lessons out of the particular experiences of the Caribbean, in this case Grenada’s political history."

    "Omens of Adversity will be of interest to students and scholars of Caribbean and postcolonial studies, political theory, Marxism and Revolution, Trauma and Memory Studies."

    "Omens of Adversity is a thought-provoking and thoroughly inspiring book. Particularly illuminating is the notion of the contemporary neoliberal predicament as a stagnant, stranded present, devoid of promises of a better future."

    "With his analysis of the enduring character of the collective pain caused by the collapse of the New Jewel Movement and the subsequent American invasion of Grenada, Scott shows us why, at a fundamental level, the Grenada revolution remains a distinctly challenging topic for historians to write about. Scott’s analysis of memory in the wake of trauma also speaks to the practical political dimensions of dealing with painful pasts."

    "In many ways, Omens of Adversity is a continuation and deepening of a line of thought that social and cultural theorist David Scott has been developing for years. . . . Scott’s larger project is marked by a progressively more strident analysis, a darkening view of what he sees as our increasingly strangulated set of political possibilities. As such, Omens demands serious engagement by social and political theorists."

    Omens of Adversity brings to the fore the political work that silences perform in post-revolutionary societies and provides conceptually potent models for anthropologists, historians, political scientists, and others interested in probing such questions further.”

    Reviews

  • "The strength of Omens of Adversity lies in its ability to productively and persuasively move across interpretive practices, weaving together a diverse array of sources.... The work has deep implications for thinking about imaginations of the future"

    "Scholars struggling with similar questions and concepts will find here food for thought."

    "David Scott has written a third installment of his innovative project to historicize our political present. Like Refashioning Futures (1999) and Conscripts of Modernity (2004), Omens of Adversity models new ways of writing history and producing theory through an engagement with the futures past, and pasts present, of Caribbean politics."

    Omens of Adversity is a grim, sobering, and tragic book that should be required for all graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in postcolonial theory, Caribbean history, cultural anthropology, and others dealing with the “end of history” or political transition theory. Scholars with those interests should consider it a must read. It is not only a cautionary tale to constantly take stock of the past lest we live in a recurring catastrophic present but also one of the most intellectually gratifying and adventurous books of recent years.”  

    “This conceptually very dense book is surely pioneering in the way that it redefines temporality and political action and gives a language and method to study past and/or failed revolutionary actions.”

    "In examining tragedy, memory, time, and justice through the prism of the Grenada Revolution, Scott achieves what many theorists fail to do, namely, to draw universal lessons out of the particular experiences of the Caribbean, in this case Grenada’s political history."

    "Omens of Adversity will be of interest to students and scholars of Caribbean and postcolonial studies, political theory, Marxism and Revolution, Trauma and Memory Studies."

    "Omens of Adversity is a thought-provoking and thoroughly inspiring book. Particularly illuminating is the notion of the contemporary neoliberal predicament as a stagnant, stranded present, devoid of promises of a better future."

    "With his analysis of the enduring character of the collective pain caused by the collapse of the New Jewel Movement and the subsequent American invasion of Grenada, Scott shows us why, at a fundamental level, the Grenada revolution remains a distinctly challenging topic for historians to write about. Scott’s analysis of memory in the wake of trauma also speaks to the practical political dimensions of dealing with painful pasts."

    "In many ways, Omens of Adversity is a continuation and deepening of a line of thought that social and cultural theorist David Scott has been developing for years. . . . Scott’s larger project is marked by a progressively more strident analysis, a darkening view of what he sees as our increasingly strangulated set of political possibilities. As such, Omens demands serious engagement by social and political theorists."

    Omens of Adversity brings to the fore the political work that silences perform in post-revolutionary societies and provides conceptually potent models for anthropologists, historians, political scientists, and others interested in probing such questions further.”

  • "Omens of Adversity is a deeply impressive and critical meditation on temporality, political action, memory, and history. It is a significant contribution to multiple fields, particularly Caribbean studies, and to ongoing theoretical debates about colonialism, postcolonial studies, and temporality." — Laurent Dubois, author of, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

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  • Description

    Omens of Adversity is a profound critique of the experience of postcolonial, postsocialist temporality. The case study at its core is the demise of the Grenada Revolution (1979–1983), and the repercussions of its collapse. In the Anglophone Caribbean, the Grenada Revolution represented both the possibility of a break from colonial and neocolonial oppression, and hope for egalitarian change and social and political justice. The Revolution's collapse in 1983 was devastating to a revolutionary generation. In hindsight, its demise signaled the end of an era of revolutionary socialist possibility. Omens of Adversity is not a history of the Revolution or its fallout. Instead, by examining related texts and phenomena, David Scott engages with broader, enduring issues of political action and tragedy, generations and memory, liberalism and transitional justice, and the possibility of forgiveness. Ultimately, Scott argues that the palpable sense of the neoliberal present as time stalled, without hope for emancipatory futures, has had far-reaching effects on how we think about the nature of political action and justice.

    About The Author(s)

    David Scott is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment and the editor of Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, both also published by Duke University Press.

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