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43.1 | 2020

Edited by Cécile Girardin

 The “state of exception,” as defined by Giorgio Agamben, has often been evoked in postcolonial contexts as a means of accounting for the way in which exceptional circumstances are used to justify depriving people of their rights under the law. This issue addresses how exception is represented in postcolonial literatures, through the depiction of states of emergency, zones of exception, and various processes of marginalization. In all eight case studies, laws can be seen as subject to interpretation because they represent forms of writing and therefore reflect subjectivity; the authors highlight how their enforcement requires strong ethical principles to protect human freedom and dignity. Literature registers effective resistance when it delineates singular paths – often exceptional ones – towards empowerment in a way the historian cannot.

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