Homi Bhabha

  • the New Black Intellectual

    IN VALBRONA, THE OBSCURE VILLAGE HIGH above Lake Como where I spend my summers, public life gets played out on the front terrace of the Albergo Paradiso. You only really matter here if you are resolutely local, and each year the innkeeper’s English wife becomes more evasive when I turn to “home” affairs, making it plain that that was another country, and besides, the wench has become a signora. If you visit Valbrona you’ll certainly be taken through the pines and cypresses to the edge of the forested escarpment called Belvedere San Giorgio, from where, in the azure distance, you’ll see the two


    SOMETIME IN THE SPRING of 1984 a remarkable essay arrived at the offices of Critical Inquiry in Chicago: “Signs Taken for Wonders: Questions of Ambivalence and Authority under a Tree outside Delhi, May 1817,” submitted for a special issue edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. I can still recall the wonder I felt in reading those slightly overlong sheets of flimsy onionskin paper, typed with a manual typewriter. The author, Homi Bhabha, was unknown to me, and the topic—the arrival of the “English book” (scripture, literature, technology) at a scene of colonial reception—suddenly made my whole previous

  • Focus: “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art”

    In the Whitney the women do not

    come and go

    Talking of Hopper or Rothko

    THE WOMEN WHO CIRCULATE most prominently at the Whitney these days are its daring curators: the ’93 Biennial, spearheaded by Elisabeth Sussman, and “Black Male,” curated by Thelma Golden, are the most visible signs of a change at the museum. Indeed the controversy surrounding such shows has defined the public perception that the museum’s collective mind is set on a revisionary course.

    Do I dare

    Disturb the universe?

    With this question T. S. Eliot turned his anxious doppelgänger J. Alfred Prufrock into an agent of the avant-garde,