Re-reading J.M. Coetzee’s Dusklands:

Dialectics between Knowledge and Power Relations




trauma, capitalism, neocolonialism, hegemony, apparatus


J.M. Coetzee’s Dusklands overtly offers more of a novelistic discourse than a political pontification. It presents two narratives – one about Eugene Dawn, working for the US government agency in Vietnam in the twentieth centruy and the other moves around Jacobus Coetzee in the eighteenth century, representing a threat to the cultural integrity and undermining true African culture and traditionalism. In the postcolonial and postmodernist contexts, crony capitalism and neocolonial incursions move in the framework set by the power-structure, mostly controlled by the corporate economy. War, not only military but also psychological, even in the postcolonial situations, turns into a power game for the capitalist countries by exercising imperialist hegemony over the economically backward Third World countries while simultaneously maximizing their monetary interest. This potential disposition of the imperial enterprise questions the versions of historical truth, arbitrarily used for silencing and Othering. In Dusklands, Coetzee presents a critical assessment of historical truth inherent in power relations. In varied degrees, war affects both the target victims and the ethically lived soldiers who are forcibly appointed to cause physical and mental damage. Through the portrayal of America’s war in Vietnam in the first segment of Dusklands and Afrikaner’s colonial incursions in South Africa in the second segment of the same text, Coetzee questions the versions of historical truth. This paper examines how J.M.Coetzee exhibits the dialectical process of the construction of knowledge which works as a counter discourse to the power relations controlled by the capitalist forces assuming the role of the imperialist hegemony and, under the subterfuge of globalization and modernity, turning Africa into an endless source of raw materials for the manufacturing factories of the First World countries.




How to Cite

Hossain, E. (2023). Re-reading J.M. Coetzee’s Dusklands:: Dialectics between Knowledge and Power Relations. Crossings: A Journal of English Studies, 14, 44–52.