I spent much of my life in Oxford until moving to New York in 2005. I have always identified with people who live on the margins or peripheries of society--whether nationally or globally--who live their lives in difficult and uncertain conditions. What forms of knowledge do such communities produce? In what ways do they represent themselves and articulate their specific concerns--personal, social, political, and aesthetic? Under what conditions, material and cultural, do they live? How might we retrieve their histories when they often seem to have almost disappeared without trace in the past? How might we revise the forms of knowledge authorised by the academy in order to learn from and to validate their experiences? Can we find places where such knowledge and experience has already emerged from within? How does our writing contribute to the righting of injustice? Trying to answer such questions requires us to rethink some of our practices of literary, cultural and historical analysis, and constantly challenges us to ask what the objects of our analysis should be. What does this mean in practice? One answer can be found in my 'Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction' (OUP, 2003) which also forms an introduction to the questions, as well as the ethical and political values, that guide my own work.