IS ROMANIAN POSTCOMMUNIST IDENTITY HYPHENATED IN THE SAME WAY AS THE POSTSTRUCTURALIST, POSTCOLONIAL AND POST-TRAUMATIC HYPHENATED IDENTITY?
The paper is an attempt to approach postcommunist identity scholarship to postcolonial and poststructuralist theory by focusing on hyphenation as an identity mark traceable in both harder and softer disciplinary approaches – and in poetry or fiction. In the first part, the theoretical scaffolding is constructed in a narrative about the origin of the hyphenation terms. They are shown to derive from postcolonial and poststructuralist theory as advanced in The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (2006) by Emily Apter, a text which ties into Jacques Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other: or, The Prosthesis of Origin (1998). Both of these are read in conjunction with the history of nationalism in Joep Leersen’s National Thought in Europe. A Cultural History (2006), where the hyphen indicates structuralist fusions, suppressions and adjonctions. The second, comparative part of the paper debates and demonstrates the applicability of the hyphenated identity terms in several collective identity discourses and texts. After documenting the Irish postcolonial identity still segregated between the typical mentalities developed in a colony of occupation (nationalist) and the successful settler colony one, by referring to poems by Seamus Heaney and Derek Mahon, to scathing satires from James Joyce’s “Oxen of the Sun” episode in Ulysses, and to the elegiac metropolitan essays by Hubert Butler, the following hypothesis can be advanced. That there is an analogy between the postcolonial case of British white colonialism in Ireland, a country still torn between two centres, and the postcommunist hyphenation due to the confrontation with eastern and western hegemony and discourses. On the postcommunist side, Romanian hyphenation is followed in Professor Sorin Alexandrescu’s imagological essay Paradoxul român (1998), which is compared to Joep Leersen’s history of European national thought, and to a more recent intellectual history anthology, Anti-Modernism – Radical Revisions of Collective Identity (2014). Because it documents several radical statements deployed until 1945 in Central and Southeast Europe, the latter book helps reconstruct the horizon of pre-communist identity to which postcommunist discourses prevailingly refer. The similarities and differences between European imagological and postcolonial studies, the latter developing under the sign of critical theory, are highlighted. They are put to work in the paper’s third part. Future directions for the analysis of meso-European regional hyphenation in relation to the poststructuralist and postcolonial paradigms are suggested.
Keywords: hyphenation, postcolonial, postcommunist, (post)structuralist, anti-modernism in the meso-European region.