In this new transnationality, "the new diaspora," . . . the hyphenated Americans . . . might rethink themselves as possible agents of exploitation, not its victims; then the idea that the nation-state that they now call home gives "aid" to the nation-state that they still call culture, in order to consolidate the new unification for international capital, might lead to what I call "transnational literacy." Then our multiculturalism, or our use of the word "culture," will name a different strategic situation from only our own desire to be the agent of a developed civil society. Which we need not give up; but let us want a different agency, shift the position a bit.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason

An unexpected figure frequents the pages of fiction by writers of color from the late 1980s onwards: the figure of racial complicity. Not an entirely new figure in ethnic fiction, yet one whose prominence in contemporary literature has largely escaped critical notice. Taking many guises, this emphatically intersectional gendered, classed, and sexualized racial subject the fixer, the ethnic entrepreneur, the Tiger Mom, the New Immigrant assimilationist, the sellout, the sympathizer, the ethnic politician inhabits literary forms that, like their protagonists, tease, confound, twist, flout, or waylay readerly assumptions about the possibilities of racial agency and justice under Empire.1 Part of a configuration that is less apparent if we train our sights on individual ethnic canons, these figures come into sharper focus when we read transversely across racial boundaries. Tellingly, these complicitous protagonists appear in fiction that is fixated on reading the present as the stories zero in on and renarrate key events or moments (9/11, the so-called Black-Korean conflicts, post-65 immigration), creating a counter-archive of the present, populating the social imaginary with unfamiliar racial figures, and envisioning alternate racial futures. Why do compromised racial figures and unsettling literary forms become vehicles for a task of such revisionary-revolutionary dimensions? Why are these less-than-heroic figures conscripted for the cultural work of interrupting dominant storylines and mapping a still unfolding present? How do they transform our understanding of agency in the contexts of contemporary Empire?

My study trains its lens on the field of contemporary ethnic cultural production to grapple with the implications of the reconstitution of US empire through strategies of manifest diversity in the post-civil rights, post-Cold War era. Manifest diversity, the hallmark of the regime of neoliberal multicultural imperialism, allows for the nominal and selective inclusion of members of formerly marginalized groups but regulates mobility through a process that dematerializes social difference, privatizes social aspiration, and disrupts solidarity by incorporating some intersectional formations, but not others, into global capitalist circuits. The colonial capitalist integration and redeployment of intersectionality to advance financial globalization calls for new understandings of racial and postcolonial agency in the present. My project examines how artists of color use implicated figures and forms to grapple with the contradictions of neoliberal racialization, to emplot the connections between forms of manifest diversity and local and global capitalist developments, to disturb modes of colonial and racial unknowing, and to reconceive the sites and grounds of struggle against Empire. This essay forms part of a longer study that explores the compromised racial subject in the work of Chang-rae Lee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amy Chua, Mohsin Hamid, Jordan Peele, and N. K. Jemisin. Here, I focus on Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, looking at how its central figure, an international student/financial analyst/suspect terrorist, and its formal structure as a decolonial fable work together to elucidate the workings of contemporary US Empire and reframe 9/11 through the problem of remote complicity.

Complicitous fictional figures and forms bring to the fore the embryonic and the inadmissible in moments of transition what is hard to see because it is emergent, what is hard to own because it forfeits political purity, and what is hard to represent because it escapes or defies received racial paradigms. Director Jordan Peele's reflections on his film Us offer an unusually lucid and penetrating statement on the stakes of complicity in the current moment. In making his film, Us, a deictic for community that the film induces the audience to repopulate with meaning, Peele explains, "I asked myself, 'What are we not ready to talk about now?' And the answer for me was, 'What is my part in this mess?'" He continues, "We're living in a messy time . . . . A dark time. And I think there's plenty of blame to go around, but what I don't see happening often enough is people looking at their own part in this dark turn." Peele's film takes up this problem through the story of an economically privileged black family: "There's this idea that we deserve our privilege . . . but when someone enjoys privilege, there almost has to be someone suffering so you can have that. Which means it's not deserved. It's violent. In this country we shield ourselves from the people who make our shoes. The people who have to work three jobs. The people we've murdered to build over. The wars that have happened so that we can have what we have. If we really acknowledge our place in the world, we have to acknowledge the atrocities, even if we're not active members in them."2 Peele situates class mobility in the Black community within the international division of labor and histories of settler colonialism, genocide, and conquest, in order to elaborate a political and aesthetic vision capable of grappling with the historically and geographically distant entanglements of contemporary Empire. Within a capitalist world-system that promotes unknowing through the gratifications of consumption, anonymizes or dehumanizes workers, especially in far-away places, and redacts the histories of violence on which capitalism was erected and continues to depend, an acknowledgment of the deep structures of complicity offers a framework for thinking responsibility and relationality anew. The complicitous racial subject offers possibilities for reimagining our connections to each other, to society, and to the nonhuman world outside of neoliberal logics of value and accountability. Reframed in these terms, complicity presses for a reckoning with the conditions of racial mobility, postcolonial development, and Indigenous survival under US financial imperialism.

The fictional engagement with complicity foregrounds the quantum entanglement of racialized and postcolonial subjects in far-reaching circuits of global capital and (neo)colonial rule in the present. My use of the term quantum entanglement identifies a profound shift in racial formation after the revolutionary movements of the 1960s, when the demographic coincidence of the color and class lines in the metropolis and of the color and developmental lines internationally united "the darker races" in struggles against colonialism, capitalism, and racism. Two decades later, these alliances broke down as US-led neoliberal financialization and state-led capitalist and socialist projects in the global South led to the creation of a global elite class that is mainly but not only white and Western. The concept of quantum entanglement grapples with the multi-scalar consequences of the reconfiguration of once-parallel struggles, seeing the new racial assemblages as a crucial site for diagnosing and contesting Empire. If the reterritorialization of the radical demands of the sixties depended on fractioning off select groups among subordinate racial and postcolonial populations, then to grapple with complicity is to come to terms with emerging techniques of domination in a globalized racial order. At the same time, the cognitive mapping of Empire through the networks of complicity creates the ground for envisioning alternate possibilities.

As a word that encompasses both active states and passive conditions of entanglement, complicity captures the dilemmas of racial and postcolonial agency under neoliberal globalization. It offers a framework for addressing the consequences of post-civil rights era developments such as "secondary marginalization"; the creation of "differentiated citizenship" that reworks prior ethnoracial hierarchies through capitalist processes of valuation and devaluation; the capitalist activation of intersectional formations within and across racial groups; the proliferation of diasporic and New Immigrant mobilities; the production of permanent surplus populations in refugee flows, prisons, and inner cities; and the ongoing expropriation of the land and resources of Indigenous communities.3 What all these transformations underscore is the need to rethink the racial in contemporary forms of colonial racial capitalism.4 Implicated racial subjects illuminate the stealthy efficacy of processes of "partition," that constitute "the base algorithm for capitalism" and work by continuously separating out groups from each other, differentially valuing each, and then interconnecting them in terms that serve capital.5 They disclose the encrypted mechanisms through which capitalism contours subjectivity and reshapes relations. Complicitous racial subjects embody both the abridged relationalities necessary for capitalist thriving and the disavowed and forgotten forms of social being and collectivity that exceed and undermine it. In this respect they incarnate the conflicting political possibilities of moments of transition with acute force and testify to complex involvement as both a subjective predicament and a general condition.

Commonly, complicity is understood as an accusation of moral culpability in binary systems that oppose oppressor/oppressed, colonizer/colonized, or white/nonwhite.6 But in a global capitalist order in which racial and imperial power are reproduced through vast and dense networks and assemblages, complicity needs to be rethought to account for entanglements that go beyond individual intent, human calculation, or discernible local effects. Complicity's diagnostic and signifying power stems from its attunement to states and conditions of being enmeshed or intertwined with others across multiple scales and durées. But for this very reason, it affords a methodology for mapping our interconnections across time and space in a conjuncture in which "diversity forms a part of the structure of capitalism rather than an inessential appendage."7

The availability of complicity to oppositional and reactionary political projects has given it new salience and inflection in the present, a potentiality vividly evoked in Miranda Joseph's comments: "To me, complicity is relationality. Complicity is connections. Yes, we usually say complicity to mean we are upholding a system that's doing something bad. But we're also complicit in the sense that we're tied to all the other participants that have different roles in that system. Seeing those connections is also seeing the possibility of solidarity."8 The idea of connections and roles as vectors of complicity clarifies the ethico-political duality that irradiates the action of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and is embodied in its narrator, Changez. The novel presents complicity as a pharmakon: like poison, Changez's collusion as a janissary bolsters the relations that sustain and extend US global domination, but like medicine, his role as a lecturer/activist supports anti-imperial movements for autonomy in Pakistan. Counterintuitively, complicity harbors the potential to reconstitute relationality in undared forms.

Finally, being complicitous signals a specific relation or orientation to a problem that allows no reprieve from its political and ethical claims. As Fiona Probyn-Rapsey rightly notes, complicity fosters an awareness of our "proximity to the problems we are addressing."9 It underlines the refusal or impossibility of standing apart, outside, or above a question or issue. Indeed, fictions of complicity stage their political and ethical interventions by fundamentally transforming our perceptions of proximity and distance. For instance, The Reluctant Fundamentalist portrays 9/11 as a ruptural event that shatters the neocolonial fantasy of remote domination by making the distant unnervingly proximate and the proximate unexpectedly distant. While the US security state responded to this rupture by reasserting dominion through an arsenal of distancing strategies ("smart bombs," remote-controlled drones, and hi-tech media spectacles), the decolonial fable invokes an ethics of quantum entanglement that takes proximity to others as the necessary basis for human co-existence and flourishing in uncertain and devastated times.

Mohsin Hamid drafted what would become The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) before 9/11 but revised the manuscript extensively in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks.10 Searching for the right form and voice, he experimented with different narrators and genres before arriving at the figure of Changez, a Pakistani migrant who works for a high-powered financial consultancy in New York. His depiction of this figure offers an unsparing view of migrant racial mobility in the commanding heights of the economy and explores the implications of the emergence of a multi-racial global elite class in the heart of Empire. This problem had drawn little fictional or scholarly attention till the global war on terror made spectacularly visible the re-articulation of US multiculturalism with the new imperialism and Islamophobia. A notable exception was Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999), which presciently identifies the limitations of established approaches to race and imperialism that were brought into much sharper focus after 9/11. Her critique sheds light on Hamid's difficulty in identifying a figure and form adequate to rendering the manifest diversity of empire as a constitutive problem and underscores the originality and daring of Hamid's fictional experiment at the time it appeared. In her wide-ranging and incisive reflection on the challenges that neoliberal economic restructuring poses to paradigms of resistance in ethnic and postcolonial studies, Spivak turns to the figure of the new diasporic to illustrate the limitations of existing frameworks. Her trenchant criticism pinpoints problems in both fields: the insufficient attention to neocolonialism in postcolonial studies and to remote complicity in ethnic studies. As antidote, she proposes rethinking the ethnic subject as global subject; this shift aims to replace the dominant culturalist analysis of migrant hybridity in both fields with a materialist critique of neoliberalism understood as the "financialization of the globe."11

Instead of casting postcolonial migrants solely as victims of First World racism or defining their countries of origin primarily as the sources of their cultural identity, Spivak suggests viewing new hyphenated Americans as "possible agents of exploitation."12 (The italicized "possible" telegraphs the difficulty of postulating agency within the global assemblages of contemporary capitalism.) To rethink agency, Spivak proposes locating new diasporics within global circuits of finance linking host and home country: "it may be a material challenge to the political imagination to rethink their countries of origin not only as repositories of nostalgia but also as part of the geopolitical present, to rethink globality away from the U.S. melting pot."13

Spivak's comments clarify the stakes of the plot of return migration, a striking feature of the novel and unusual in both ethnic and postcolonial fiction. This formal strategy allows Hamid to locate Pakistan and the US in a simultaneous geopolitical present before and after 9/11, and to destabilize and decenter the settlements of neoliberal multiculturalism. Through this device, The Reluctant Fundamentalist brings to light remote complicities that show how the migrant's development into individual economic mobility in the metropolis can collude with development projects into aid-assisted national prosperity in the periphery to advance the Empire of Finance. Changez's trajectory illustrates how the financial crises of decolonization (brought on by cycles of aid and debt) create a pool of skilled migrants destined for the developed world, whose expertise is then tapped by global financial markets to manage the problems of structural adjustment in the South. Hamid's disturbing vision of the new diasporic casts the Pakistani financial analyst not primarily as a victim of US Empire, but also as its janissary. Through Changez's trajectory from assimilated migrant to anti-imperialist lecturer and activist, from favored Good Muslim to suspect Bad Muslim, the novel links its analysis of the seductions of US neoliberal multiculturalism to a searing critique of the US Empire of Finance and its attendant war machine.14

In focalizing US racial formations through the lens of Pakistani new immigration and US-Pakistani neocolonial relations, the novel brings out the deep links between US racial forms and the global restructuring of capitalism after the 1970s and presses for new understandings of racial and postcolonial agency to reckon with these changes. Through its protagonist, the narrative insistently links financial developments in the metropolis to (under)developments in the South. In this way, the novel retools anti-colonial and anti-racist critique to better grapple with the global structures of the new imperialism, which works through "weapons of mass salvation" such as financial aid, liberalized immigration policies, and multiculturalism, as much as through weapons of mass destruction such as structural adjustment, detention and deportation, and high-tech warfare.15

The first part of this essay consists of two sections that look at how Changez's first-person narrative interlinks the structural forces that drive financialization on a world scale with the phenomenology of the new diasporic subject of finance. The first section focuses on the macro-level, examining how Changez's work and travels as student and analyst locate the problem of remote complicity within a specific apparatus of empire the military-industrial-academic complex.16 The second section shifts to the micro-level, detailing through Changez's conflicts the psychic mechanisms by which Empire mobilizes individuals in its service. By showing how imperial structures are inscribed in desires and affects, the novel brings out the intensive dimension of the new Empire of Finance such that "there seems to be no space or sphere of existence left outside the capitalist subsumption."17 In this way, his first-person narrative connects the structural relations of financial imperialism with its affective regimes to uncover the captivating powers of finance.

The last section considers the ways in which the ethical complexities of long-distance complicity give freighted form to Hamid's decolonial adaptation of the fable. To address the ineluctable entanglements that shape global interconnectedness in the regime of finance, Hamid turns to the exemplary ethico-political genre of the fable. He retrofits the fable's devices such as its affinity for marginalized perspectives, its use of second-person address, and its models of exemplarity to draw the readers, like the protagonist, into a confrontation with the difficult question of complicity and responsibility after 9/11. As a result, the problem of culpability is not restricted to the protagonist or contained within the diegetic level of the narrative. Instead, complicity seeps from the diegetic to the extra-diegetic level, incriminating protagonist and reader alike. As it hurtles to its conclusion, Hamid's decolonial fable posits an implicated reader as the necessary counterpart to its implicated protagonist.

"The Coordination Business": Ivy, Finance, and Military

The narrator of The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a figure of contradictions. He is an international student admitted with full financial aid to attend an Ivy League institution; he is a star financial analyst assigned to value businesses across the world; and in his final appearance, he is a lecturer/suspect terrorist involved in anti-imperial protests in Lahore. Yet disparate as Changez's roles appear, they all constellate around a central apparatus of Empire the military-industrial-academic complex exposing its massive global networks and operations. Each role spotlights an institution in the apparatus and Changez's transit among them suggests their deep structural interconnection. Changez's itinerary plots nodal points in the apparatus: Lahore-Princeton-New York-Manila-Valparaiso-Lahore. Connecting New York to its former colony and current neocolonies, the US financial capital to the neocolonial lab where neoliberal economic policies were tested and refined, his movements encourage a "transnational literacy" that can reconceive the events of 9/11 from shifting geographical and historical vantage points and ground it in the processes of financialization.18

As he moves outside the United States, the fictional aperture widens to capture the dispossessive and extractive force of global networks of US military, academic, and financial power. Like other apparatuses or dispositifs, the partnership between the American military, corporations, and universities had "as its major function at a given historical moment that of responding to an urgent need."19 This network of institutions and discourses took on a dominant strategic function following World War II in response to the country's new role as a global superpower promoting capitalism worldwide. Yet in less than a decade, concerns grew among politicians about its pervasive influence on public life, especially its growing threat to domestic freedoms. In his 1961 farewell speech to the nation, President Eisenhower warned that the nexus between the military, defense industries, government agencies, and universities had produced a fundamental shift in the organization of power in US society "endanger[ing] our liberties or democratic processes."20 A decade later, Senator William Fulbright elaborated on these liberal concerns, warning that the steady encroachment of the defense industry on the autonomy of US universities would steer them away from "pure" scientific research and a liberal arts mission toward the development of weapons and communications systems for the US military. Emerging concurrently, but more radical and sweeping in scope, were critiques of the military-industrial-academic complex advanced by the ethnic, women's, and anti-war movements that erupted on college campuses across the country. Moving beyond liberal fears over domestic liberties, these movements linked the vast apparatus to the perpetuation of settler colonial, imperial, and racial capitalist violence in the United States and the Third World. Over the next few decades, even as the radical demands of minority social movements roiled US campuses and partly opened them up to historically underrepresented groups and knowledges, the corporatization and militarization of the modern US university continued apace. These structural transformations turned the post-68 university into "a contradictory place of social enlightenment and uplift as well as death making."21

This university system, reshaped by corporate and military partnerships and minority demands for inclusion, is the one that Changez enters in the late 1990s as a scholarship student from Pakistan. His narrative critically reframes earlier liberal US-centric critiques of the military-industrial-academic complex and extends the anti-colonial critique of the sixties movements to address the global ascent of finance.22 Drawing on his experiences growing up in Pakistan, Changez maps the connections between the US military, financial institutions, and universities, providing evidence of this nexus in the brutal history of US wars in Asia, the Third World debt crises, and the brain drain from the developing world. These genealogical links, obscured by geography and neglected by history, lay bare the necropower of the global networks linking Ivy, industry, and military and recontextualize both the World Trade Center attacks and the US response to it. In this way, The Reluctant Fundamentalist instigates "an epistemic decolonial shift" that views empire from the perspective of the peripheries rather than the peripheries from the perspective of empire.23

As his narrative toggles between the 1970s and the present, the metropolis and the periphery, these juxtaposed histories and geographies suggestively link together scattered and discrepant responses to financial imperialism across the world. Outside the US, the violent strategies of financialization less evident in its metropolitan operations are unambiguous. In the South, during the 1970s and 80s, financialization was largely imposed by dictators or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through the grim methods of military force and structural adjustment. These violent impositions triggered fierce resistance, the histories of which are largely unknown or misunderstood elsewhere. By contrast, in the Euro-Atlantic world neoliberalism enacted a "stealth revolution" which relied on soft power "drawing on consensus and buy-in, . . . [governing] as sophisticated common sense, a reality principle remaking institutions and human beings everywhere it settles, nestles, and gains affirmation."24 Tellingly, Changez's enthusiasm for financialization when he is in New York founders during his assignments to Chile and the Philippines. In these countries, hostility to financial domination has seeped into popular consciousness and is expressed in animus towards Changez's presence. For Changez, these visits kindle uneasy memories and trigger comparisons with Pakistan's history of indebtedness, making it harder to rationalize the damage inflicted by his work. Changez's political awakening is expressed through a retrospective contrapuntal narrative that juxtaposes financialization in the North and the South, the Third World debt crises of the 1980s and financial volatility and precarity in the present-day US. Through juxtaposition, the narrative structure expresses and performs the kinds of cross-national historical comparisons that can shift the horizon, enable a different vision of globality to emerge. The narrative design of crossings and connections allows the reader to "rethink globality away from the U.S. melting pot."25

The death-dealing power of the finance-military nexus, often disavowed or diminished domestically, is unambiguous elsewhere.26 The rapid spread of financialization was propelled by a series of covert and overt wars waged in the South: first in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and then in the Middle East and Afghanistan. At the same time, US power, exercised through international financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF, devastated emerging economies and set off a series of financial crises in Latin America in the 1980s and Asia in the 1990s. Operating through seemingly benign credit arrangements and debt-management policies, the global superpower gained hold over new territories destroyed by regional and national financial crises.27 Effectively, US financial domination imposed a double yoke on peripheral nations, inflicting destruction through war and redemption through aid, both of which strategies operated together to reinforce subjection. In the novel, the view from the periphery, focused through the Pakistani setting and narrator, offers a chilling vantage point for surveying the far-reaching and destructive effects of the double burden of financialization. As the citizen of a country that was the third largest recipient of US aid and an ally in US military involvements in other parts of Asia, Changez testifies to the necropower of war and debt in the region:

Vietnam, Korea, the straits of Taiwan, the Middle East, and now Afghanistan: in each of the major conflicts and standoffs that ringed my mother continent of Asia, America played a central role. Moreover I knew from my experience as a Pakistani of alternating periods of American aid and sanctions that finance was a primary means by which the American empire exercised its power (156).

Changez's commentary draws a direct line from earlier imperial wars in Asia to the war on terror to underscore the links between war and finance.

If the methods of the military-finance partnership, especially in the global South, reflect the naked coercions of the imperial apparatus, the academy presents its most seemingly benign aspect. Yet such appearances belie the complicated history of entanglements between these institutions. Despite Changez's idealistic impressions of campus life when he first arrives, his entry to the US as a foreign student draws him into circuits of international student migration situated "at the junctures between U.S. colleges and universities and American imperial power in the twentieth century."28 Starting in the late nineteenth century, the education of international students from Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa was linked to colonial and neocolonial projects for the diffusion and legitimation of US values, institutions, and goods, in which the students were seen as "potential instruments of U.S. national power, eventually on a global scale."29 International students seeking the labor and technical skills to help build the economies of newly independent or old decolonized nation-states were perceived by policy makers and educators as "critical actors in the global politics of the Cold War and decolonization."30 Writing in the 1950s, Walter Lippmann saw "the affective capture of these aspirants and their training in 'the universal principles of freedom'" as a key to US global ascendancy.31 From the 1970s onwards, however, as corporations expanded their operations globally and began to seek a multicultural and international workforce, and neoliberal policies reduced state support for universities, foreign students became attractive revenue sources for universities and human resources for corporations. As Paul Kramer summarizes, "Over these decades, among the other new tasks that universities took on as service providers for corporations, they emerged as major recruitment centers and markets for highly trained labor. For many observers, the United States' very success in attracting, training and employing foreign students in a progressively more competitive, global educational environment was both an index and precondition of 'American' national strength."32

The material and political infrastructure that governs his entry to the United States is unapparent to Changez when he first arrives at Princeton: "my life was a film in which I was the star and everything was possible" (3). Admitted as a Pakistani student with a full scholarship, he accepts the "fantasy bribe" of meritocracy as a way of managing his anxiety and shame at being from a developing country at a wealthy institution.33 His initial elation fades, however, and a radically different view of his educational opportunities crystallizes a few years later on a return flight from Lahore to the US. As Changez scans his fellow passengers, he quite literally sees the human capital flows that determined his own journey to the West: "On the flight I noticed how many of my fellow passengers were similar to me in age: college students and young professionals, heading back after the holidays. . . . it was the fittest and the brightest who were leaving, those who in the past would have been most expected to remain" (129; my emphasis). In a glance, he discerns the twin routes of post-65 knowledge migration out of Pakistan, education and immigration, in the numbers of college students and young professionals on board. In lieu of his heroic self-image as exceptional achiever is a realization of his part in the brain drain from Pakistan, the postcolonial term for the leaching of investment that developing countries make in the education of their nationals, only to lose them through migration to the developed world, at the very moment when they become productive workers.34

Changez's description of the brain drain as the loss of Pakistan's "fittest and . . . brightest" revises his boss Jim's Darwinian description of the shift to a knowledge economy as a survival of the fittest, recasting the evolutionary temporal metaphor in geo-spatial terms. Jim's valorization of knowledge work is redescribed as a neocolonial transfer of human capital that rests on and exacerbates underdevelopment in Pakistan. Framed thus, Changez's scholarship to study at Princeton constitutes an asymmetrical exchange of finance capital for human capital. The university's provision of aid repeats on an individual level the long history of development aid that bound Pakistan to the US as a client state.35 Moreover, as Changez points out about this system of aid, the increase in an international student's human capital through education and training disproportionately benefits elite universities and US companies:

Looking back now, I see the power of that system, pragmatic and effective, like so much else in America. We international students were sourced from around the globe, sifted . . . until the best and brightest of us had been identified. . . . Students like me were given visas and scholarships, complete financial aid, mind you, and invited into the ranks of the meritocracy. In return, we were expected to contribute our talents to your society, the society we were joining. And for the most part, we were happy to do so. I certainly was, at least at first" (4; my emphasis).

The phrase, "complete financial aid, mind you" indicates the significant wealth differential between benefactor and recipient that makes financial support nearly impossible to refuse. It also indexes a power difference that allows the dominant party to characterize the transaction as "aid." Indeed, the system obviates the need for coercion by constituting neocolonial subjects whose compliance proceeds from being first "invited" and then "expected" to join the meritocracy. The slight shift between the two verbs registers an increase in the gradient of pressure before and after a debt has been incurred by the neocolonial subject. Student aid represents the soft "power of that system," a system invisible to Changez at the point of induction, but apparent later. The benefits of aid and the affirmations of meritocratic recognition enable the "affective capture" of international students that Walter Lippmann enunciated decades earlier. By making visible the transnational circuits of human and financial capital that undergird the individual success stories of multiculturalism and meritocracy at US universities, Changez exposes the workings of the military-industrial-academic complex and counterposes Jim's celebratory US-centric narrative of the shift to a knowledge economy with material exchanges anchored in neocolonialism.

Changez points to the disjunction between the intellectual aura of his Princeton education and the growing influence of corporate values on the university's mission and culture. He quickly learns that the fastest route to the upper reaches of the economy is through an Ivy League degree. Banished is his earlier vision of the campus as a training ground for "philosopher-kings" who will be prepared for a life of the mind by faculty who are "intellectual titans." These classical allusions contrast starkly with his later characterization of the Ivy-industry partnership as a sexual marketplace: "Every fall, Princeton raised her skirt for the corporate recruiters who came onto campus and . . . showed them some skin" (4). The gendered and sexualized metaphors reflect the power of corporations over Ivy League universities, which are partly rated on their student placements in lucrative professions like financial services. A more subtle expression of market influence is the unexpected compatibility between his liberal arts education and the financial rationality of his workplace: "At Princeton, learning was imbued with an aura of creativity; at Underwood Samson, creativity was not excised it was still present and valued but ceded its primacy to efficiency. Maximum return was the maxim to which we returned, time and again" (37). Tellingly, Changez's defiance of this company credo on an assignment to Chile leads to his dismissal and abrupt return to Pakistan. At the crux of his refusal to assess the "drag" the literary division of a publishing company in Valparaiso produces on its profitability is his recognition of the violence and disruption inflicted by his valuation activities for the firm. The values are the weapons.

At the end of the novel, Changez re-enters the university system, but this time as a lecturer and activist in Lahore. The contrast between the metropolitan and the peripheral university indicates that although neoliberal financialization is global in extent, it is "disunified and nonidentical with itself in space and over time."36 Far removed from the centers of financial and imperial power, under-resourced and understaffed, and subject to surveillance by the university administration and shifting military and civilian governments, the campus is nevertheless the site of heterogenous forms of student activism and dissent. While Changez's Ivy education primarily enhances his professionalization, the same is not true of the education he provides as a lecturer-activist. Angry and disillusioned by the war on terror, politicized by his experiences with Islamophobia, awakened to the exploitation and upheaval inflicted by financialization, and radicalized by his conversations with Valparaiso publisher Juan-Bautista, he "made it my mission on campus to advocate a disengagement from [the US government] by mine" (179). He strives to pass on "my ex-janissary skills, which I imparted to them in my courses on finance and . . . to persuade them of the merits of participating in demonstrations for greater independence in Pakistan's domestic and international affairs, demonstrations that the foreign press would later . . . come to label anti-American" (179).

Changez treats instruction in finance as part of his efforts to decolonize the consciousness of his students. At the same time, in teaching his students the workings of finance from below, he reworks the strategies of contemporary anti-imperial struggles to grapple with global financialization. While describing his teaching, Changez nevertheless avoids presenting the Pakistani university as an idealized space of radical dissent antithetical to the US neoliberal university. On the contrary, the university administration tries to curb his activities but is too resource-strapped to enforce compliance. He receives numerous "official warnings" about his activism, but the effects of the brain drain make him a valuable resource in Pakistan, despite his politics. Ironically, the demand for his finance courses shields him from suspension.

Indeed, the need to fight Empire becomes Changez's central preoccupation when he returns to Pakistan. He takes the battle to the classroom by imparting his ex-janissary skills to his students, but he is able to do so because the university's dependence on labor creates an opening for an activist like Changez to enter and transform the activity and scope of teaching. He treats his students as "comrades" and advises them on a host of issues "not only on their papers and their rallies, but also on matters of the heart and a vast range of other topics from drug rehabilitation and family planning to prisoners' rights and shelters for battered spouses" (180). Instructing them in finance, advising them on love, and attending to the brokenness of being in relation to domestic violence or substance abuse or incarceration, he works with and for them in a pedagogy that stretches beyond the classroom into a social world reeling from the disruptive effects of imperial war and financialization.

Our last glimpse of Changez is as an activist and lecturer. His experiences as a student and an analyst in a post-9/11 world, and his encounters with other postcolonial subjects in Chile and the Philippines, have shaped a comparative framework for understanding a host of seemingly disparate social, economic, and political problems financialization, developing world debt, drone warfare, nuclear proliferation, the drug crisis in Pakistan, Islamophobia, deindustrialization, racism, and staggering economic inequality as the effect of Empire. However, this decolonial critique is deliberately presented as nascent and geopolitically discontinuous. Tellingly, the narrative threads relating to these subjects are disconnected and emanate from disparate locales, never coalescing as an autonomous story line. As an activist, he joins his students and others in a heterogeneous coalition of "thousands . . . of all possible affiliations communists, capitalists, feminists, religious literalists" (179). Hamid keeps alive in the ambiguous conclusion of the novel the dream of a broader horizon for the struggle against Empire. The creation of that politics lies in the future to the very brink of which the novel brings its readers.

Joyful Collaborators

Capitalism must therefore be grasped not only in its structures but also as a certain regime of desire . . . an epithumè. To speak of epithumè is another way of recalling that objective structures . . . extend necessarily into subjective structures, and that in addition to being external, social things, they must also exist as inscriptions inside individual psyches. In other terms, social structures find expression as configurations of desires and affects, and thus have their own specific imaginary.

Frédéric Lordon

Through Changez's first-person narrative, in which he appears as both critic and case study of the captivating powers of finance, the novel interweaves its structural and affective analysis. If Changez's activities and movements offer a macro-level cartography of the military-industrial-academic complex, his affective states reveal how this assemblage operates at the subjective level, through the specific configuration of desires, attachments, adjustments, and fears it engenders.

Changez's inner life as an Underwood Samson employee illuminates what critics see as a defining feature of the contemporary capitalist epithumè or affective regime: the condition of "passionate servitude" that dominates the workplace, most notably among the professional-managerial class.37 Frédéric Lordon examines this workplace culture of affective subjection through the figure of the joyful collaborator, an employee whose attributes closely resemble Changez's traits as a janissary.38 The joyful collaborator is a self-motivated employee who identifies symbolically with capital rather than labor and assumes the demands of "total vocation."39 Lordon situates the ascendance of this figure in the political-economic shift from manufacturing to knowledge work in the 1970s, a period marked by the declining power of labor in relation to capital, market de-regulation, the erosion of social safety nets, the weakening of unions, and growing shareholder pressures to maximize short-term returns.40 In the workplace, the greater affective engagement, flexibility, and creativity required of service work, in contrast to the delimited or routinized tasks that were the lot of most workers in the Fordist economy, produced profound mutations in the "passionate complex of the employment relation."41 What emerged from these changes was a professional who worked 24/7, held in thrall through their desires for mobility and financial security, and constantly fearful of job loss or replacement.

Changez, whose affective capture drives the novel, offers a racialized and gendered rearticulation of Lordon's joyful collaborator. Through his continuous affective adaptations to the norms of his workplace, his strained disavowals about the consequences of the war on terror, and his rationalizations about the nature of his work, the novel plumbs the racial and neocolonial affects that secure the enlistment of minority subjects of capital, and it delves into the racial and gendered states that passionate servitude breeds. While offering a dark view of the affective hold that imperial strategies of manifest diversity exert on minority subjects, the novel also probes the possibilities for breaking such affective bonds and making openings for alternative visions of collectivity in a precarious world.

Changez's emotional states reveal the efficacy of corporate techniques for cultivating passionate servitude, especially in a tier of the workforce, the managerial class, that is closely allied to the capitalist class, and within a sector of the economy, financial services, where this alliance is the tightest.42 The firm's ability to mobilize the desire of workers so that they find fulfilment through advancing the interests of capital obviates coercion by auto-mobilizing the subject on Empire's behalf. As an ambitious Pakistani migrant seeking to escape economic stagnation in his home country and reverse his family's waning fortunes, Changez's "hunger" makes him an eager enlistee into this class fraction and occupation (9). His journey to Princeton is propelled by a desire that he proudly takes as a sign of his singular ambition and abilities. Yet the narrative continuously undercuts the mythification of the self-motivated individual. The fact that Changez's desire is fixated like that of so many others across the globe on the same object, a career in finance, points to the structural inducement of such desire. As Lordon points out, since desire is externally determined but experienced as internally produced, affective enlistment is particularly resistant to critique: "Desire is never of me and yet always mine, in other words, it never originates exclusively within desiring individuals but is nevertheless absolutely theirs the 'I am the one desiring' is incontestable."43 Changez's sense that his desire springs from himself impedes his understanding of the external sources of his subjection. Here, Lordon's observation that "determining the distribution of the desirable is therefore perhaps domination's most characteristic effect" powerfully clarifies how financial service mobilizes recruits on a world scale.44 That two figures as far removed from each other in national, racial, cultural, and class terms as Jim and Changez should be compelled by the same object of desire, a job in finance, suggests the power of finance to create a global "imaginary of fulfillment," while replacing the process of determination with the spectacle of self-motivated job seekers like Changez.45 The novel shows how a career in finance permeates new diasporic imaginaries of fulfillment, thereby inspiring a multitude of aspirants eager to serve capital. The migrant attraction to such objects of desire is induced by the validation that professional attainment, especially in finance, offers. In addition to the rewards of high income, it offers proof of talent and ability in a world where minority excellence is always in need of re-confirmation.

For Changez, his prestigious job confers the affirmation he craves, especially after years of shamefully hiding his status as a scholarship student at Princeton. His professional identity mitigates his shame and defensiveness about his country's poverty, neocolonial status, and underdevelopment by providing him a deracinated identity with global currency. He exults in becoming a member of "the officer class of global business" (65). On his first day of work, Changez marvels at his transfiguration: "On that day, I did not think of myself as a Pakistani, but as an Underwood Samson trainee, and my firm's impressive offices made me proud" (34). Working as an Underwood Samson analyst redeems his masculine pride, gives him proximity to white power and restores him to a class position he feels his family is losing in Pakistan. All these racial, gendered, and class compensations paradoxically transform his subordination to the firm into a feeling of dominance: "I remember my sense of wonder on the day I reported for duty. . . . nothing had prepared me for the drama, the power of the view from their lobby. This, I realized, was another world from Pakistan; supporting my feet were the achievements of the most technologically advanced civilization our species had ever known" (34). His paean to the epic scale and size of the building, its aerial view, and its technological superiority stages his fantasy of entry into the commanding heights of the economy. He absorbs the power of the firm vicariously and feels invigorated and dominant.

In linking Changez's economic mobility to his affective servitude as a minority subject, the novel emphasizes the critical role played by the seductive affirmations of meritocracy and assimilation. Despite their promise of inclusion, however, these ideals operate through gate-keeping standards and norms that simultaneously solicit and exclude minority subjects.46 Meritocratic affirmation regulates minority difference materially by controlling access to resources and opportunities and affectively by extending the psychic gratifications of recognition to some kinds of difference, while stigmatizing or disqualifying others. If the fantasy of meritocracy is the fantasy of being worthy and the fantasy of assimilation is the fantasy of belonging, as fantasies, they beget desires in minority subjects that remain elusive under existing material and historical conditions and distort subjectivity. Furthermore, the unfulfillable desire for recognition keeps the aspiring minority subject striving, performing the invisible labor of reproducing dominant cultural norms by seeking inclusion, and performing the visible labor of producing goods and services by demonstrating merit. Changez's futile attempts to win Erica's love and his relentless productivity reveal the labor-intensive nature of such yearning.

The pressure to assimilate and to outperform others is particularly acute in the domains of business and academy through which Changez moves because these institutions were the labs where the ideal of meritocracy and its key criteria of excellence and competence were invented and honed at the national level in the 1960s. The metrics of excellence through which Changez and his peers are evaluated at Princeton and Underwood Samson took shape through institutional efforts to regulate the entrance of formerly excluded groups into the university. Thus, the meritocratic ideal of excellence bears the imprint of racial genealogies of exclusion rooted in colonialism, slavery, and neocolonialism.47 As Roderick Ferguson argues, the discourse of excellence, the linchpin of meritocracy, was developed "amid the struggle over rights and inclusion . . . to reconcile the disqualifications of liberal democracy with the pressures of antiracism."48 He describes the scope and contradictory nature of this project of racial inclusion thus:

A discourse of excellence, whether implicit, as in the periods of the Civil War or Reconstruction periods, or explicit, as in the days of civil rights, has always been a means of producing a partnership between state, capital, and academy, a partnership that took as a principal task that of negotiating the racial diversity within the United States. As a way of engaging diversity, excellence would ingratiate minorities by making ability not only a standard of incorporation but a mode of surveillance, exclusion, and measurement, one that June Jordan would decry along with other ideals such as 'efficiency' and 'competence'  as a "deadly, neutral" word.49

The standards of efficiency and competence that Jordan adds to the university's "dubious repertoire of affirmations" were often subsumed within the ideal of excellence, but their genealogy was more closely tied to the technological priorities and needs of the US war-making state.50 June Jordan's reference to these ideals as "deadly" and "neutral" was literally true about the aims of the war in Vietnam and the other wars in Asia that would follow it, but it also alludes to the destructive subjective capacity of these categories and metrics of bureaucratic, administrative power.51 The discourses of excellence, efficiency, and competence reflect the coordination between the state, military, academy, and industry in the production of neoliberal modes of manifest diversity. Changez's detailed descriptions of the content of his performance assessments, his job interviews, and his orientation sessions both at Princeton and at his firm, indicate their prominence in the landscape of his aspirations. The gratification and sense of vindication he derives from all the accolades and rankings is testimony to their power to subject through affirmation. At the same time, the need to keep demonstrating his merit and excellence, both to himself and to his employer, suggests the subjective pressures created by the fantasy of being deserving.

The disciplinary pressures of meritocracy and assimilation extend well beyond the workplace or the campus, entering into the intimate recesses of Changez's life. Rendering worth and achievement in individualizing terms, they disembed subjects from social ties and cultural formations that enable their success. In short, they "privatize the social individual."52 Thus, even as cultural difference is affirmed in neoliberal strategies of cultural pluralism and in expectations of cultural competence, the terms of valorization are determined by the needs of corporations, the security state, and dominant knowledges. Jim's comment to Changez that a career in finance will enable him to escape a place that is destined to atrophy is vivid example of the disciplining of cultural and historical difference in the process of racial assimilation. In this way, meritocracy and assimilation function as twin "malignancies of recognition" that work to attenuate bonds to social collectivities and transfer allegiance to the firm and the state.53

At the root of Changez's enthrallment with finance are meritocratic and assimilationist ideologies that operate at the affective level by dissolving or shrinking social ties and displacing prior attachments and affinities. At the same time, by putting individualism into overdrive, these ideals feed "negative solidarities" such as a pervasive disidentification with those in distress and an eagerness to preserve individual gains by displacing costs and risk onto others.54 At Underwood Samson, meritocracy serves as a goad to performance and productivity. It fosters competitive individualism, undermines solidarity among employees, and diverts loyalty to the firm. The gladiatorial individualism and competitiveness of the orientation activities and company ethos galvanizes Changez to constantly prove himself the equal or superior of his American colleagues. The system of performance rankings pits recruits against each other and metes out rewards not just in wages, but also in staffing and bonuses: "We're a meritocracy, . . . We believe in being the best. . . . But meritocracy doesn't stop with recruiting. We'll rank you every six months. You'll know your rankings. Your bonuses and staffing will depend on them. If you do well, you'll be rewarded. If you don't you'll be out the door. It's that simple" (35). "It's that simple" is the corporate credo for the radical reduction of the human being to performance quotients. Looming over the meritocratic competitive frenzy is the threat of dismissal. For a migrant whose visa status is contingent on his employment, and whose remittances help support his family in Pakistan, this threat carries dire force. Further, the system of remuneration through wages, staff, and bonuses quite literally increases the recruits' investment in the firm. The line between his individual advancement and the firm's blurs. The incentive system rewards recruits for their loyalty to the firm, while fracturing their relationships with each other. In this way, the neoliberal enterprise preempts collective challenges to company directives and raises the threshold for individual acts of rebellion.

As a model minority and a good Muslim, Changez embodies all the desiderata of corporate diversity. He is cosmopolitan, credentialed, and understands and plays by all the rules. As Ash Amin explains, the post-9/11 emergency polity distinguishes between good and bad Muslims based on their capacity to assimilate and make economic contributions: "The cosmopolitan when urbane, culturally dexterous, articulate, light-footed, well-connected is largely left alone to contribute to the multicultural nation as doctor, nurse, engineer, teacher, waiter, cleaner, knowledge worker. . . . Instead, it is the most visible, vulnerable, needy, ill-equipped stranger who is most at risk."55 These distinctions suggest that capitalist rationality valorizes cultural dexterity in relation to productivity, but otherwise treats cultural difference as a liability or hindrance. The prized attributes of the "cosmopolitan" Muslim are cultural versatility and light-footedness, the former signaling a flexible strategic relation to difference, and the other a detachment from cultural entanglements.

Changez exhibits all the qualities of the cosmopolitan Muslim at the start of his career and is rewarded for his conformity to dominant norms. After 9/11, even when he hears rumors about raids on mosques, businesses, and homes, and stories of Pakistani cabdrivers beings attacked and Muslim men being detained and deported, he convinces himself that the stories are mostly untrue or exaggerated. He will only allow that "those rare cases of abuse that regrettably did transpire were unlikely ever to affect me because such things invariably happened, in America as in all countries, to the hapless poor, not to Princeton graduates earning eighty thousand dollars a year" (94-95). He explains the incidents of violence as instances of a class hazard. What he is unwilling to admit is the extent to which the immunity provided by his professional standing is dependent on his performance of racial and religious identity in appropriate ways.

Juan-Bautista issues the most serious warning to Changez about the sources and dangers of passionate servitude and the difficulty of overcoming it. To resist such conditioning, Juan-Bautista observes, requires the recollection of other objects and attachments that counter the values of Empire: "The janissaries were always taken in childhood. It would have been far more difficult to devote themselves to their adopted empire, you see, if they had memories they could not forget" (151). Changez realizes later that despite his infatuation with his life at Princeton, his memories of Pakistan kept alive yearnings for other pleasures, places, and social relations: "Princeton made everything possible for me. But it did not, could not, make me forget such things as how much I enjoy the tea in this, the city of my birth, steeped long enough to acquire a rich, dark color, and made creamy with fresh, full-fat milk" (15). This reflection condenses a keen insight. The cup of tea conjures forms of sociality and pleasure that do not conform to the capitalist order of things and act as a counterweight to the dazzling material opportunities the US offers.

Towards the end of his assignment in Chile, Changez comes to realize the extent of his affective capture, the price of the ticket for inclusion and mobility. His yearning for recognition produces subjective states of what legal theorist Kenji Yoshino calls "covering." To cover, Yoshino explains, borrowing the term from sociologist Erving Goffman, "is to tone down a disfavored identity to fit into the mainstream."56 Yoshino contends that the "covering demand" beckons minority individuals but rejects minority cultures, a pattern that reinforces the tendency of financialization to privatize the social individual at every level. In other words, covering demands are consonant with the epithumè of passionate servitude within neoliberal capitalism because it detaches individuals from social formations and collectivities. Yoshino's description of the dynamic of covering shows that it operates as a form of "discrimination [that] directs itself not against the entire group, but against the subset of the group that fails to assimilate to mainstream norms. This new form of discrimination targets minority cultures rather than minority persons. Outsiders are included, but only if we behave like insiders that is, only if we cover."57 The analytic of covering exposes the fallacy of Changez's fantasy that class mobility can offer him empowerment and freedom or that allegiance to Empire will leave his earlier national and social affiliations and attachments intact. Rather, as Juan-Bautista suggests, the janissary's subjection and loyalty depend on severing the associations and ties that connect him to another social world.

That Changez's first overt act of rebellion takes the form of a refusal to cover suggests the pivotal role it plays in maintaining his subjection to the firm. As Changez explains about his decision to keep his beard after returning from Pakistan: "For despite my mother's request, and my knowledge of the difficulties it could well present me at immigration, I had not shaved my two-week-old beard. It was, perhaps, a form of protest on my part, a symbol of my identity, or perhaps I sought to remind myself of the reality I had just left behind; I do not now recall my precise motivations. I know only that I did not wish to blend in with the army of clean-shaven youngsters who were my coworkers, and that inside me, for multiple reasons, I was deeply angry" (130; my emphasis). Once Changez stops covering, he is able to acknowledge and act on the anger and political passion he had earlier repressed. His lucid comparison of his fellow employees to an army is clearly indebted to Juan-Bautista's lessons about the janissaries. His decision to reclaim other realities and attachments by returning to Pakistan strengthens his defiance and recalcitrance. His subsequent actions, dedicated to freeing Pakistan from financial imperialism, point toward a decolonial vision of his own and his country's future.

Terrifying Proximity: A Decolonial Fable of Financialization

The confession that implicates its audience is . . . a devilishly difficult ball to play (70).

If Changez's movements as a postcolonial migrant trace the networks of the military-industrial-academic apparatus and elucidate its modes of affective capture, his ethical conflicts call attention to a growing concern in the face of contemporary imperialism  the problem of long-distance complicity. The ethical complexities of remote complicity are opened up by the new diasporic figure at the center of the story and through Hamid's cunning adaptation of the fable, the preeminent genre for addressing questions of responsibility. Structured as a monologue addressed to a "you" identified only as an American in Lahore, and by extension to "you" the reader, the address reaches across the boundary between narrator and reader, fiction and reality, to unsettle and draw in the reader. These formal designs are telegraphed in Changez's comment, "The confession that implicates its audience is . . . a devilishly difficult ball to play" (70). Working thus through figure and form, The Reluctant Fundamentalist calls on the reader to resist the governing regime of responsibility after 9/11, premised on the dream of an unassailable securitized subject defined by pre-emptive violence towards and impunity from the claims of the other. Against the mirage of securitization and risk control promulgated by US financial imperialism, the decolonial fable proposes an ethics of responsibility predicated on quantum entanglement with and unchosen exposure to the other.

The novel's depiction of the global migrant subject disturbs the conventional binaries of innocence and guilt, or oppressor and oppressed, and reframes the question of responsibility in structural and affective terms rather than as moral deficit. Slowly and insistently, this figure brings to light the deep and disavowed interdependences of the North and the South, the global reach and destructive powers of finance and techno-scientific warfare, and the proliferating and inescapable entanglements of lives here with lives elsewhere. With the radical abolition of distance and the eruption of unforeseen proximities at so many different scales, the novel suggests, we are all irrevocably involved in each other's lives. To be thus implicated, without consent, without certainty, without control, through histories and structures that precede and exceed any individual subject is shattering, but it can paradoxically create the conditions for a renewed vision of justice and responsibility.

The complicitous subject at the heart of the narrative invokes a Levinasian vision of responsibility and justice. The Levinasian conception of justice, grounded in a non-reciprocal, asymmetrical, and affective experience of responsibility for the other, gains an uncanny material density and political urgency in the fictional world of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. As Levinas explains: "Justice is impossible without the one that renders it finding himself in proximity. His function is not limited to the 'function of judgment,' the subsuming of particular cases under a general rule. The judge is not outside the conflict, but the law is in the midst of proximity. . . . This means that nothing is outside the control of the responsibility of the one for the other."58 Thomas Keenan elaborates on this statement by noting that the "contaminated implication in the conflict" envisioned by Levinas "erodes any pretense to interpret something with the status of an object for a subject, some fact outside of our investments. There's no there there, because all theres are too unavoidably here, others fracturing our present, proximately interfering with the self-sameness and self-certainty of our interpretations."59

In the novel, ideas of contaminated implication and proximity take on potent geopolitical and material dimensions in a world ruled by finance and ravaged by the legacy of imperial wars. They counter visions of globality generated by the ideological forces of contemporary capitalism and the security imperatives of the terror war. As a member of the "officer class of global business," Changez is a remote agent for restructuring local businesses in conformity with models of profitability and performance favored by global financial markets. Far from being an objective activity, valuation enables financial companies to set the rules of the game and determine which businesses will survive and which will not. Valuation activities, then, not only reflect the dominance of financial markets over states, but also of financial capital over industrial capital. The rush Changez feels as he completes his report on the music company in Manila captures this disruptive power: "I felt enormously powerful on these outings, knowing my team was shaping the future. Would these workers be fired? Would these CDs be made elsewhere? We, indirectly of course, would help decide" (66). The discreetly italicized "we" and the deft deflection of responsibility in "indirectly of course," point to a mode of violence that is stealthy, unlocatable, yet massive. Furthermore, the modes of administrative power he exercises abstract the violence of downsizing, redundancy, and precarity into quantitative, algorithmic models opaque to non-experts.

When he flies in with his team to assess a music business in Manila, all his activities favor dissociation and abstraction, both from the human costs and consequences of his decisions and from the social worlds where the businesses are located. He recounts: "We interviewed suppliers, employees, and experts of all kinds; we passed hours in closed rooms with accountants and lawyers; we gathered gigabytes of data; we compared indicators of performance to benchmarks; and, in the end, we built a complex financial model with innumerable permutations" (66). His financial models dematerialize social difference, inequality, and locality and erase the economic legacies of neocolonial and racial expropriation. Yet his off-site interactions with Filipinos are rife with the colonial histories left out of his valuation reports. The pretense of objectivity and distance collapses suddenly and unexpectedly in these encounters. He is eviscerated by the hostile stare of a jeepney driver that feels "so intimate, that it got under my skin" (67). The glance pierces his "armor of denial" (95) in an experience of "others fracturing our present, proximately interfering with the self-sameness and self-certainty of our interpretations." Face-to-face with Filipinos, he catches himself flaunting his company affiliation with an "extraterritorial smile" and declaring that he is "from" New York. These messy, extramural interactions reveal the inexorable "partitioning" processes at work separating subjects and groups from each other and reconnecting them in ways that abet capitalist exploitation and imperialism (65).

When the divisions and dissociations created by the social relations of production are compounded and refracted by the us-them distinctions of the terror war's security imperatives, the potential for disengagement and disavowal is unleashed on a massive scale. Speaking of the deep political fissures created by 9/11, Changez tells his American listener that what recedes from view in the shadow of catastrophe is the untapped potential of pervasive feelings of vulnerability produced by the events: "As a society, you were unwilling to reflect upon the shared pain that united you with those who attacked you. You retreated into myths of your own difference, assumptions of your own superiority. And you acted out these beliefs on the stage of the world, so that the entire planet was rocked by the repercussions . . ." (168). Instead of securitization or pre-emption, Changez proposes vulnerability and shared suffering as the ground of responsibility and justice. His vision of commonality strenuously repudiates the governing ethos of the Empire of Finance. As Randy Martin has argued in An Empire of Indifference, present-day financial imperialism is constituted by a fear of involvement and seeks "a comprehensive rejection of the difference that previous imperial enterprises had wrought. . . . treat[ing it] as a menacing entanglement from which imperial might must flee."60 Unlike earlier empires which classified and proliferated difference, financial imperialism avoids sustained engagement with difference and pursues race-neutral futures. The practices of manifest diversity at Underwood Samson allow the firm to incorporate visible markers of difference while stripping them of cultural thickness or collective political claims. Rejecting the imperial negativity of a flight from involvement, the decolonial fable calls instead for an ethics of responsibility grounded in irrecusable entanglement.

The narrative also shows how the weakening of national, economic, cultural, and political boundaries on the one hand and the defensive upsurge of isolationism, Islamophobia, sectarianism, and nationalisms on the other, place the dilemmas of entanglement at the center of contemporary ethics and politics. Indeed, the permeable boundaries between people, cultures, and nations forms a key theme in the text, one that grounds its aesthetics, politics, and ethics. The transformative potential of cross-border encounters is captured in an intimate register in Changez's relationship with Erica. His relationship with Erica (and with America) ends unexpectedly and abruptly, but it leaves Changez exposed and irrevocably altered: "it is impossible to restore one's boundaries after they have been blurred and made permeable by a relationship: try as we might, we cannot reconstitute ourselves as the autonomous beings we previously imagined ourselves to be. Something of us is now outside, and something of the outside is now within us" (174).

In a political register, the perils and possibilities of "terrifying proximity" are most dramatically evoked through responses to 9/11.61 In that disaster and its aftermath, an inchoate alternative vision of responsibility and community glimmers, if fleetingly, its possibilities so embryonic they take the form of an unasked question: "A community of the question, therefore, within that fragile moment when the question is not yet determined enough . . . for its voice to have been already and fraudulently articulated within the very syntax of the question. A community of decision, of initiative, of absolute initiality, but also a threatened community, in which the question has not yet found the language it has decided to seek, is not yet sure of its own possibility within the community."62 This Derridian community-of-the-question, which Keenan notes, is neither bound by likeness nor a universal law and shelters within it what Derrida calls "an unbreachable responsibility," vividly evokes the ruptural imaginings of responsibility that 9/11 brought forth, but which were soon eclipsed by the military and security imperatives of the global war on terror.63 In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the affordances of the fable, with its hospitality to enigma and aporia, create a space for (rather than give expression to) the fragility and "absolute initiality" of visions of responsibility arising out of that moment.

Although the narrative portrays the escalation of xenophobia and paranoia after 9/11, it also sees in this historical rupture a real-time opening to imagine the world otherwise. Thus, The Reluctant Fundamentalist both analyzes 9/11 and performatively inserts itself into this moment. Driven by the fable's "distinct metatextual orientation, a pointing beyond to another text, a context that enlarges and assimilates the instance," the story seeks to act on and change the world.64 In several interviews and essays, Hamid recounts how he drafted the novel before 9/11, but had to revise it extensively to address the seismic shifts produced by the event. Finally published in 2007, the work is a concerted attempt to counter the dominant discourse of paranoia and fear and reimagine global collectivity in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. In a collection of essays, Discontent and Its Civilizations, Hamid emphasizes the pivotal role of reader response-ability in his stories:

At some level, I suppose my personal need to write fiction comes from my inability entirely to accept our world as it is. When I write a novel, I am disappearing into another world, one of my own devising. But I don't desire to remain there, alone, apart, forever. I want to bring my imagined world back into our world, to share it, to have a reader enter it and shape it, to open a space for experimentation and imagination that crosses the boundaries of the self, of the real, of time. I believe that the hope of invention animates the arts. And I feel that same hope as I think of people coming together to invent a world that is post-civilization, and hence infinitely more civilized.65

Here, Hamid explicitly ties the formal experiments in his fiction to his ethical and political vision. He also argues that the "hope of invention" turns literary works and political movements into active forces in the world, inspiring people to create better worlds. In this vein, The Reluctant Fundamentalist fends off the gathering forces of vengeance and hatred that dominate public discourse in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks and taps feelings of grief and vulnerability, channeling them to transformative visions of global community.

The fable's combination of simplicity of form and irreducible moral complexity re-trains the reader in the difficult task of reading and responding to the other in a world overtaken by paranoia and pre-emption. In an environment in which deadly miscues, misinformation, and misperceptions abound, the text prepares the reader in two ways. First, Changez's narrating situation66 the fraught encounter between a Pakistani activist and an unnamed American in Lahore stages the loaded consequences of real-time decisions. The situation, a protracted cat-and-mouse game between two strangers, is volatile and can at any instant produce outcomes that are either deadly or utterly mundane. The narrative situation stages the propulsive force of paranoid reading, its escalatory, compulsive, and self-confirming dynamics that bind the antagonists to each other in a delirium of mounting hostility and fear.

For the reader, open to identification or disidentification with either or both the participants in this encounter, reading becomes perilously difficult. The reader must continuously counterfocalize since the veracity of Changez's account cannot be confirmed, the American's words and actions are filtered through Changez's narrative, and their meeting takes place in an atmosphere of dread and suspicion. The effort to counterfocalize makes reading uneasy, drawing the reader into making inferences, but denying a final ground on which to do so. Furthermore, the exposure to divergent perspectives on financialization over the course of Changez's travels, to Empire as seen from inside and outside the United States, from above and from below, denies easy recourse to the official justifications of the war on terror. It encourages counterfocalization of dominant geopolitical narratives of the World Trade Center attacks. In the act of reading, certainties come undone. Pakistani, American, terrorist, fundamentalist: the categories implode in the gravitational field of the decolonial fable.

As a contemporary fable of responsibility, The Reluctant Fundamentalist teaches about and tests our response to the terrifying proximity of the other. However, the lessons of responsibility held out by the fable are not simply handed down but (l)earned through the act of reading which is turned into a test of judgment. Defining reading as a practice in which "our exposure to the singularity of a text," yields unanticipated and unruly meanings, Keenan likens reading to responsibility. Both offer instances where rules cannot be applied or fall short, yet a decision must be made: "it is when we do not know exactly what we should do, when the effects and conditions of our actions can no longer be calculated, and when we have nowhere else to turn, not even back to our own 'self,' that we encounter something like responsibility."67 Such is Changez's position at the end of the story; and the reader's; and presumably, the American's. Changez's response depends on his reading of the American's intentions and motivations, and he can neither be certain that he is right nor how or when the other will react to him. This scenario simulates the paranoid post-9/11 context for which pre-emption was proposed as a solution, a perpetual state of hyper-vigilance and rapid-strike capability that hedges against catastrophic future outcomes. For the protagonist as much as for the readers, this potentially deadly situation tests their abilities to read the situation and respond in a setting rife with uncertainty. It also dramatizes the costs of living in a state of perpetual fear. In an unremitting state of emergency, the future is profaned.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist offers no reprieve from undecidability as it hurtles towards its conclusion. As if to drive home the pressures of the decision, in the last few pages, the narrative shifts from past to present tense as the definite contours of narrative event give way to the pulsing uncertainties of a still-unfolding situation. Abruptly, Changez's voice is cut off and the story ends without disclosing his fate. Deprived of this knowledge, the reader has to speculate, to judge. The fable, in keeping with La Fontaine's description, has turned into a "dangerous snare."68 Lured into assuming responsibility for discerning Changez's fate, the reader is implicated in a story they did not author but must conclude. This form of co-creation offers an aesthetic analog for implication and responsibility after 9/11. As Hamid explains, in revising the text after 9/11 he was searching for "an appropriately permeable form" for his drama "involving the reader as a kind of character, indeed as a kind of co-writer" that stretched to the limits "what I knew how to do with 'you.'" His purpose was "to try to show, after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, how feelings already present inside a reader - fear, anger, suspicion, loyalty - could colour a narrative so that the reader, as much as or even more than the writer, is deciding what is really going on. I wanted the novel to be a kind of mirror, to let readers see how they are reading, and, therefore, how they are living and how they are deciding their politics."69 The 9/11 fable's porous boundary between fictional time and real time and between narrator and reader produces a surge of self-reflexivity about the shaping power of fear, anger, suspicion, and loyalty in the interconnected activities of reading, living, and deciding. The genre promotes self-reflection to combat passive consent to a vast incomprehensible system in which responsibility is diffused and all too easily relinquished. As Randy Martin astutely observes of public participation in imperialism, "empire is at once an unseeable totality and an unreflective implication of folks back home in the desire to rule."70 Such structural implication does not require active consent; just acquiescence. To break the sway of such forces, The Reluctant Fundamentalist reclaims remote complicity as the inescapable condition for a contemporary politics of responsibility.

As a result, the reader cannot remain a lurker in the story; instead, they are pressed into making judgments, considering possibilities, and deciding outcomes. The fable's "ethical summons" to the reader, its capacity to elicit engagement, stems from its exemplarity: "The rhetorical force of example is to impose on the audience or interlocutor an obligation to judge. Whether it be in argument or narrative, the rhetoric of example stages an instance of judgment, and the reader, in order to grasp the point at issue, must be capable of occupying, however provisionally, the seat of judgment. The reader does not simply occupy a post of reception, as in a communicative transmission, but is drawn into the process of weighing alternative arguments or cases."71 What makes such involvement "ethical" is what Gelley calls "the scandal of example," namely, that the example calls forth a judgment that is not predicated on a rule but "on the instance in its particularity, an instance that cannot in itself suffice to justify the principle in question."72 When the example is embedded in literary structures as in the case of the fable, and especially one in which the circumstances and intentions are murky and dire, the necessity of judging on indefinite grounds is particularly acute. In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, undecidability is brought to "an infinite and intolerable acceleration" to highlight the stakes of the example for the reader.73

A form of beguiling simplicity that purports to teach clear-cut lessons, the fable reveals instead the difficult practice of justice and responsibility. Louis Marin's observation that the fable offers in the end "an uncertain model of praxis" identifies exactly the enigmatic staging of exemplarity in the genre, which teaches responsibility by inviting identification and confounding it.74 Thus, Changez solicits identification as the protagonist. But he troubles identification by presenting the new migrant figure in the disturbing guise of an agent of Empire, a role that is disavowed in the annals of neoliberal multiculturalism and radical politics alike. This is the example no one wants to know about, least of all to learn from. He is not just the bad example, he is the dreaded one: the collaborator, the janissary. But in the fabulist grammar this is precisely what makes him a good example. Speaking of the "aporias of exemplarity and identification . . . at the heart of any theory of responsibility," Keenan asks, "What would we humans do without bad examples without the example of the bad example, and without our regular inoculation by and against it? Responsibility begins in the bad example: one could even say that the only good example, the only one worthy of the imitation, interiorization, and identification that the example calls for, is the bad example."75 If Changez's example exposes the reader to the paradoxes of responsibility, his dilemmas also speak urgently and directly to their political moment. Through the fable's injunction to generalize, the genre renders the example incandescent.

The decolonial fable depicts Changez's painful confrontation with his culpability and his eventual choice to return to Pakistan and continue the struggle against neocolonialism there. Yet, even if Changez has taken up a fervently anti-imperialist position at the end, the paranoid context in which his monologue unfolds and the ambiguity of his fate at the end of the novel make him a murky exemplar. What his story leaves us with is not the shining example, but the implicated one. The decolonial fable presents the flawed complicitous subject as the necessary ground of responsibility and justice in our time.

As Keenan so eloquently observes, "What this fragility of the genre means is not that it is incoherent or somehow 'simple' but rather that it opens the possibility of another kind of reading, less the search for a lesson or a rule to be applied than our exposure to something that breaks with the regimes of meaning and sense it purports to offer."76 What might "the possibility of another kind of reading" involve? The answer lies in the fable's heterodox commingling of literature and philosophy. It takes up questions of justice and responsibility that are the province of philosophy and renders them in the tropes, figures, and forms of literature. In doing so, The Reluctant Fundamentalist as decolonial fable activates the reader's critical and creative faculties simultaneously, offering an "explanatory-diagnostic" account and seeding an "anticipatory-utopian" response to the post 9/11 global order.77 Operating in both these registers, the story anatomizes the present and prompts readers to imagine "new forms/figures of the thinkable."78

The genre's expressive affinity for marginal perspectives offers resources that Hamid deftly deploys for decolonial ends. As Louis Marin explains: "It could very well be that the fable, the story of the weak and the marginal, generally constitutes a particular kind of apparatus within the medium of discourse itself. The function of this apparatus is to allow the weak to displace and reverse the power contained in the discourse of the strong."79 As Marin indicates, the fable functions not simply to thematize resistance to unjust power, but also to shift the balance of power in the discursive formation of which its narrative acts are a part. Written in the wake of 9/11, circulating in an Anglophone public sphere dominated by US narratives of an absolute enmity and a primal civilizational divide between us and them, the civilized world and the Muslim other, the decolonial fable takes up the Herculean task of seizing and displacing hegemonic accounts of globality and responsibility after the World Trade Center attacks.

The diegetic reversal of discursive authority between Changez and the American listener is a striking example of such fabular inversions of power. The American is quite literally silenced and framed within Changez's narrative. This strategy gives primacy to the marginalized perspective of a suspect figure, the Bad Muslim. But in wresting discursive authority, the fable seeks not to monopolize it but to redistribute it through the address to the reader. Changez's second-person address, refracted through the American listener, replaces the us-them pronouns of allegiance and enmity with the I-you pronouns of ethical encounter with the other. As Emile Benveniste explains, the second-person pronoun "you," unlike the third-person pronouns "he" "she" or "they", automatically refers back to an "I" against whom the "you" is set up in a contrastive relationship. The "you" is necessarily positioned as "the non-I person."80 In the narrative situation of the fable, the reader is positioned as the other to Changez, but also as a third party to the paranoid exchange between Changez and the American. Therefore, the reader's responsibility has to be defined in relation to this prior dyad and to the narrator. Called to respond, the reader is implicated in the confrontation between Changez and the American and enjoined to judge.

As a contemporary fable of responsibility, The Reluctant Fundamentalist disrupts the fantasy of securing oneself against the other. Instead, the text thematizes and performs our unavoidable exposure to other lives and claims, past, present, and to come. In seeking to transform dominant understandings of justice and responsibility, to overturn discursive power through the medium of discourse itself, it serves, like all fables, as "a model of the practical effectivity of literature."81 The call to the reader is a timely one that works against partitions which "especially in the contemporary era, normalize devolved imaginations and shrunken affinities when expansiveness seems absolutely necessary."82 The novel offers intimations of the expansive form that decolonial solidarities and collectivities might take: in the anti-imperial protests including thousands of "all possible affiliations" in Pakistan, in the "prophetic organization" of collective knowledge-making passed on in Juan-Bautista's mentorship of Changez and Changez's of his students, and in the unfulfilled possibilities of the love between Changez and Erica (179). At each of these scales, within the nation, across the global South, and between center and periphery, the hope of transformation arises from the quantum entanglements that sow division and, when reimagined, can foster solidarity. Those imperiled possibilities are conjured in the decolonial fable but can only be realized outside it.

Susan Koshy is associate professor of English and Asian American Studies, Faculty Fellow at the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (OVCRI) and former director of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Sexual Naturalization (Stanford, 2004), winner of the Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award and co-editor of three edited collections, Transnational South Asians (Oxford, 2008), Colonial Racial Capitalism (Duke, 2022), and "Monolingualism and Its Discontents" (PMLA, 2022). She is currently completing work on her book titled Manifest Diversity. Her articles on Asian American literature, postcolonial studies, immigration and naturalization law, neoliberal racialization, human rights, transnational feminist theory, and diaspora studies, have appeared in PMLA, ALHYale Journal of CriticismBoundary 2, Differences, Diaspora and Social Text. She completed her BA and MA from Delhi University and her PhD from UCLA. 

Banner Image: Financial District, NYC by Epicgenius, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


  1. See Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (New York: Riverhead, 1995); Han Ong, Fixer Chao (New York: Picador, 2002); Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (New York: Riverhead, 2008); Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth (New York: Random House, 2009); Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (New York: Penguin, 2011); Percival Everett, Erasure (Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2011); Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer (New York: Grove Press, 2015); Paul Beatty, The Sellout (New York: Picador, 2015).[]
  2. Quoted in Jonah Weiner, "Jordan Peele is the New Master of Suspense," Wall Street Journal Magazine, March 4, 2019. []
  3. Cathy J Cohen, The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 9; Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), 79. []
  4. Susan Koshy, Lisa Marie Cacho, Jodi A. Byrd, and Brian Jordan Jefferson, "Introduction," Colonial Racial Capitalism, ed. Koshy et al. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2022), 1-30. []
  5. Jodi Melamed, "Racial Capitalism," Critical Ethnic Studies 1, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 78. []
  6. Fiona Probyn-Rapsey, "Putting Complicity to Work for Accountability," in Commitment and Complicity in Cultural Theory and Practice, ed. Begüm Özden Firat, Sarah De Mul, and Sonja van Wichelen (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan), 154-66; Michael Rothberg, The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2019). []
  7. Anna Tsing, "Supply Chains and the Human Condition," Rethinking Marxism 21, no. 2 (2009): 150. []
  8. Miranda Trimmier, "Called to Account," interview with Miranda Joseph, The New Inquiry, February 22, 2016. Italics mine. []
  9. Probyn-Rapsey, "Putting Complicity to Work," 161. []
  10. Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007). Hereafter cited parenthetically in the text. []
  11. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 3. []
  12. Ibid., 357. []
  13. Ibid., 402. For an excellent genealogy of neoliberal multiculturalism, see Jodi Melamed, Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011). []
  14. Mahmood Mamdani offers a detailed account of the Good Muslim/Bad Muslim binary in the US imaginary. Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror (New York: Pantheon, 2004). []
  15. Ananya Roy, Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (New York: Routledge, 2010), 143 []
  16. I am indebted to Md. Alamgir Hossain's excellent analysis of the neoliberal university and the "undercommons" in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. His paper examines the contradictions between the corporatization of US universities and the insurgent potential of the "undercommons" as a space within and beyond the university. Mohammed Alamgir Hossain, "University, Neoliberalism, and the Undercommons: Resistance in Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist," unpublished paper, December 2017; []
  17. Étienne Balibar, "Politics of the Debt," Postmodern Culture 23, no. 3 (May 2013). []
  18. Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, 357. []
  19. Michel Foucault, "The Confession of the Flesh," Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-77, ed. Colin Gordon, trans. Colin Gordon et al. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), 195. []
  20. Quoted in Henry A Giroux, The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (Boulder: Paradigm, 2007), 14. Giroux points out that Eisenhower initially used the phrase "military-industrial-academic complex" in his speech but substituted the narrower term "military-industrial complex" when he actually delivered the speech. The body of scholarship on the relationship between the military, business, the government and higher education is extensive: see Long T. Bui, "A Better Life? Asian Americans and the Necropolitics of Higher Education," Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader, ed. Nada Elia et al. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016), 161-74; Noam Chomsky et al., The Cold War and the University: Toward an Intellectual History of the Postwar Years (New York: New Press, 1998); Sigmund Diamond, Compromised Campus: The Collaboration of Universities with the Intelligence Community, 1945-1955 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), Stuart W. Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), Rebecca S. Lowen, Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of Stanford. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); Sophia, McClennen, "The Geopolitical War on U.S. Higher Education," College Literature 33, no. 4 (Fall 2006): 45-75, Christopher Newfield, Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University1880-1980 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004); and Christopher Simpson, ed., Universities and Empire: Money and Politics in the Social Sciences During the Cold War (New York: New Press, 1998). []
  21. Bui, "A Better Life?" 164. []
  22. Changez's anti-imperialist critique resonates with the political critiques of the social movements of the 1960s, though as an international student, he seems unaware of these prior struggles and their role in diversifying the university that he enters nearly three decades later. []
  23. Walter D. Mignolo, "Introduction: Coloniality of Power and Decolonial Thinking," Cultural Studies 21, no. 2-3 (2007): 159. []
  24. Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (New York: Zone Books, 2015), 35. []
  25. Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, 402. []
  26. Consequently, in these regions, awareness of the dangers of the new financial imperialism anticipated by several decades its sustained critique in the West (Amin; Mamdani; Grandin). []
  27. David Harvey, The New Imperialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 146; Paula Chakravartty and Denise Ferreira da Silva. "Accumulation, Dispossession, and Debt: The Racial Logic of Global Capitalism An Introduction," in "Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime," ed. Paula Chakravartty and Denise Ferreira da Silva, special issue, American Quarterly 64, no. 3, (September 2012): 366. []
  28. Paul A. Kramer, "Is the World Our Campus? International Students and U. S. Global Power in the Long Twentieth Century," Teaching America to the World and the World to America: Education and Foreign Relations since 1870, ed. Richard Garlitz and Lisa Jarvinen (London: Palgrave, 2012), 12. []
  29. Ibid., 15. []
  30. Ibid., 17. []
  31. Quoted in Ibid., 32. []
  32. Ibid., 37-38. []
  33. Frederic Jameson, "Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture," Social Text 1 (1979): 144. []
  34. The expropriation of human capital and labor from the developing world is seldom acknowledged in metropolitan debates about immigration. []
  35. Baldev Raj Nayar, Superpower Dominance and Military Aid: A Study of Military Aid to Pakistan (New Delhi: Manohar, 1991). []
  36. Brown, Undoing the Demos, 21. []
  37. Frédéric Lordon, Willing Slaves of Capital: Spinoza and Marx on Desire, trans. Gabriel Ash (London: Verso, 2014), 17; Balibar, "Politics of the Debt"; Michael Hardt, "Affective Labor," Boundary 2 26, no. 2 (1999): 89-100; Axel Honneth, "Recognition as Ideology: The Connection between Morality and Power," The I in We: Studies in the Theory of Recognition, trans. Joseph Ganahal (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012), 75-97; Maurizio Lazzarato, The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition, trans. Joshua David Jordan (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2012). []
  38. Lordon, Willing Slaves of Capital, 33. []
  39. Ibid., 38. []
  40. Ibid., 21-48. []
  41. Ibid., 29. []
  42. Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy, The Crisis of Neoliberalism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011), 85-86. Duménil and Lévy note that neoliberalism benefited managerial classes through higher incomes and assets, and more importantly created a "tight collaboration" between capitalist and managerial classes. They attribute the alliance to the rise of financial management in the 1980s and the joint objectives and ownership of capital of both classes in a neoliberal order. Financial institutions, in particular, reflect "the new configuration of class power and income relations" (85). []
  43. Lordon, Willing Slaves of Capital, 92. []
  44. Ibid., 108. []
  45. Ibid., 109. []
  46. Roderick A. Ferguson, The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012); Melamed, Represent and Destroy. []
  47. Ferguson, The Reorder of Things, 78. []
  48. Ibid., 76. []
  49. Ibid., 86. []
  50. Ibid., 76. []
  51. As Ferguson explains, "The war in Vietnam suggested that individual excellence was needed not only in academy and government but in military operations as well. Such was the wide and universal application of this ideal, which helped to constellate the diverse arrangements of academy, state, and capital over the simultaneous legal enfranchisement and affirmation of U.S. minorities" (93). []
  52. Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (New York: Autonomedia, 2013), 38. []
  53. Ferguson, The Reorder of Things, 14. []
  54. Balibar, "Politics of Debt." []
  55. Ash Amin, "The Remainders of Race," Theory, Culture & Society 27, no. 1 (Jan. 2010): 12-13. []
  56. Kenji Yoshino, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights (New York: Random House, 2007), ix. Yoshino argues that covering has not been taken as seriously as outright exclusion because its injuries are hidden and coexist with material success or class mobility. []
  57. Ibid., 22. []
  58. Emmanuel Levinas, Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence, trans. Alphonso Lingis (New York: Springer, 1981), 159. []
  59. Thomas Keenan, Fables of Responsibility: Aberrations and Predicaments in Ethics and Politics (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1997), 34. []
  60. Randy Martin, An Empire of Indifference: American War and the Financial Logic of Risk Management (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007), 5. []
  61. Keenan, Fables of Responsibility, 37. []
  62. Jacques Derrida, "Violence and Metaphysics," Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 80. []
  63. Ibid.; Keenan, Fables of Responsibility, 37. []
  64. Alexander Gelley, "Introduction," Unruly Examples: On the Rhetoric of Exemplarity, ed. Alexander Gelley (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1995), 7. []
  65. Mohsin Hamid, Discontent and Its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London (New York: Riverhead, 2015), 9-10. []
  66. "Narrating situation" is Gérard Genette's term for the orientation of the narrator to him/herself and to the narratee who maybe present, absent, or implied. It refers to the context in which the story is narrated. Gérard Genette, Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method, trans. Jane E. Lewin (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980), 255-59. []
  67. Keenan, Fables of Responsibility, 2. []
  68. Quoted in Gelley, "The Pragmatics of Exemplary Narrative," Unruly Examples, 151. []
  69. Mohsin Hamid, "Mohsin Hamid on His Enduring Love of the Second-Person Narrative," The Guardian, March 22, 2013. []
  70. Martin, An Empire of Indifference, 125. []
  71. Gelley, "Introduction," 14. []
  72. Ibid. []
  73. Keenan, Fables of Responsibility, 126. []
  74. Quoted in Ibid., 46. []
  75. Ibid., 45. []
  76. Ibid., 2. []
  77. Seyla Benhabib, Critique, Norm, and Utopia: A Study of the Foundations of Critical Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 142. []
  78. Cornelius Castoriadis, Figures of the Thinkable, trans. Helen Arnold (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2007). []
  79. Louis Marin, Food for Thought, trans. Mette Hjort (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), 53. []
  80. Émile Benveniste, Problems in General Linguistics, trans. Mary Elizabeth Meek (Miami: University of Miami Press, 1971), 201. []
  81. Keenan, Fables of Responsibility, 46. []
  82. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, "Abolition Geography and the Problem of Innocence," Futures of Black Radicalism, ed. Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin (London: Verso, 2017), 240. []