frican American Studies and Postcolonial studies in the Academy similarly flesh out suchissues as representation, essentialism, and nationalism. Under the rubric of these disciplines,literature and literary theory often become vehicles for social commentary. While nation- makingand redefining ³nation,´ along with the blurring between public and private spaces are amongcommon themes, critics in both fields are quick to point to the dangers of hastily dismissing thisliterary work as ³political.´ Gates writes of a need to dispel the myth of alleged primacy of ³Western tradition´ over the ³so-called non-canonical tradition such as that of the Afro-American.´ Especially conscious of the dangers of essentialism in his The Signifying Monkey,Gates studies the need ³to create a new narrative space for representing the recurring referent of Afro-American literature, the so called Black Experience´ (xx, 111). Similarly critical of essentialism, Homi Bhabha, a prominent Cultural Studies and Postcolonial critic, connects thetwo fields together as he remarks ³The intervention of postcolonial or black critique is aimed attransforming the conditions of enunciation at the level of the sign . . . not simply setting up newsymbols of identity, new µpositive images¶ that fuel an unreflective µidentity politics¶´ (247).Bhabha even conducts a detailed reading of Toni Morrison¶s Beloved in the introduction to TheLocation of Culture.Scholarship does indeed overlap in interesting ways between these two fields. Much in the sameway Toni Morrison¶s Playing in the Dark analyses and enumerates the ways in which whiteselfhood in literary America is further constituted by objectifying ³black´ presence, EdwardSaid¶s Orientalism seeks ³to show that European culture gained in strength and identity bysetting itself off against the Orient as a sort of surrogate and even underground self´ (3). ³Race,´Writing and Difference (1986), edited by Henry Louis Gates includes prominent postcolonialcritics like Gayatri C. Spivak and Abdul R. JanMohamed. In fact, a more recent anthologyedited by Gates, entitled Identities, is co-edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah, a scholar of Afro-American Studies who has also written on postcolonial theory. Such examples of overlap inscholarship compels us to reconsider deeper questions of the politics of reading and writing, theapplicability of scholarly methods which enhance an understanding and emphasis on culturallysensitive modes of carving out scholarly discourse.