In the first edition of White Mythologies (1990) Robert Young challenged the status of history, asking whether in this postmodern era we should consider it a Western myth, with an uncertain status. Is it, he asked, possible to write history that avoids the trap of Eurocentrism?
Investigating the history of History, from Hegel to Foucault, White Mythologies calls into question traditional accounts of a single 'World History' which leaves aside the 'Third World' as surplus to the narrative of the West. Young goes on to consider questionings of the limits of Western knowledge in the work of Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi Bhabha. For Young, these thinkers have been involved in a project to decolonize History and to deconstruct 'the West'. In exploring these issues, he shows us the relation of history to theory and of politics to knowledge.
White Mythologies has proved to be one of the most important critical works in post-colonial theory of the last two decades. It has engendered much debate and inspired countless critical responses. Twelve years after publication, Robert Young returns to the issues raised in this book to offer fresh perspectives and to reflect upon developments in the post-colonial debate since White Mythologies was first published.