Trans-Americanity: Subaltern Modernities, Global Coloniality, and the Cultures of Greater Mexico
José David Saldívar
2012, Duke University Press
304 pages

IF YOU CAN put aside the dreadful title of this book – one that certainly will not assist in the dissemination of this author’s important ideas – it nonetheless captures the visionary post-national mood that has imbued postcolonial studies with an infectious enthusiasm. Saldívar is a respected scholar in the field and this work argues for a transnational, indeed anti-national, approach to American studies that brings it squarely in line with the work being conducted by his contemporaries such as the Argentine Walter Mignolo. He urges Americanists to adopt a world-system frame of reference for the study of narrative and identity construction in the Americas, contributing as he does so to the transformation of the Western critique of modernity and progress upon which the continent is founded. It is a precarious, but invigorating, path to be following and we do not know where it leads. As such, it represents the intellectual equivalent of the journey to a New World undertaken by Columbus himself when all of this began. – EC