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Introduction to postcolonial studies and african literature

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INTRODUCTION TO POST COLONIAL & AFRICAN LITERATURE

INTRODUCTION TO POST COLONIAL & AFRICAN LITERATURE

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  • dear muhammad, thanks for sharing this useful slide. congratulations for your conceptual clarity for this complex topic.
    i wanted to down load it but u hv restricted this application. i hv recently started studying post colonialism. it would be great if can email me the same to: nanavati68@gmail.com.
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  • 1. Introduction to Postcolonial Studies<br />The field of Postcolonial Studies has been gaining prominence since the 1970s. Some would date its rise in the Western academy from the publication of Edward Said's influential critique of Western constructions of the Orient in his 1978 book, Orientalism. The growing currency within the academy of the term "postcolonial" (sometimes hyphenated) was consolidated by the appearance in 1989 of The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. Since then, the use of cognate terms "Commonwealth" and "Third World" that were used to describe the literature of Europe's former colonies has become rarer. Although there is considerable debate over the precise parameters of the field and the definition of the term "postcolonial," in a very general sense, it is the study of the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized in the modern period. The European empire is said to have held sway over more than 85% of the rest of the globe by the time of the First World War, having consolidated its control over several centuries. The sheer extent and duration of the European empire and its disintegration after the Second World War have led to widespread interest in postcolonial literature and criticism in our own times.   <br />The list of former colonies of European powers is a long one. They are divided into settler (eg. Australia, Canada) and non-settler countries (India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka). Countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe which were partially settled by colonial populations complicate even this simpledivision between settler and non-settler. The widely divergent experiences of these countries suggest that "postcolonial" is a very loose term. In strictly definitional terms, for instance, the United States might also be described as a postcolonial country, but it is not perceived as such because of its position of power in world politics in the present, its displacement of native American populations, and its annexation of other parts of the world in what may be seen as a form of colonization. For that matter, other settler countries such as Canada and Australia are sometimes omitted from the category "postcolonial" because of their relatively shorter struggle for independence, their loyalist tendencies toward the mother country which colonized them, and the absence of problems of racism or of the imposition of a foreign language. It could, however, be argued that the relationship between these countries to the mother country is often one of margin to center, making their experience relevant to a better understanding of colonialism. <br />The debate surrounding the status of settler countries as postcolonial suggests that issues in Postcolonial Studies often transcend the boundaries of strict definition. In a literal sense, "postcolonial" is that which has been preceded by colonization. The second college edition of The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "of, relating to, or being the time following the establishment of independence in a colony." In practice, however, the term is used much more loosely. While the denotative definition suggests otherwise, it is not only the period after the departure of the imperial powers that concerns those in the field, but that before independence as well. <br /> <br />The formation of the colony through various mechanisms of control and the various stages in the development of anti-colonial nationalism interest many scholars in the field. By extension, sometimes temporal considerations give way to spatial ones (i.e. in an interest in the postcolony as a geographical space with a history prior or even external to the experience of colonization rather than in the postcolonial as a particular period) in that the cultural productions and social formations of the colony long before colonization are used to better understand the experience of colonization. Moreover, the "postcolonial" sometimes includes countries that have yet to achieve independence, or people in First World countries who are minorities, or even independent colonies that now contend with "neocolonial" forms of subjugation through expanding capitalism and globalization. In all of these senses, the "postcolonial," rather than indicating only a specific and materially historical event, seems to describe the second half of the twentieth-century in general as a period in the aftermath of the heyday of colonialism. Even more generically, the "postcolonial" is used to signify a position against imperialism and Eurocentrism. Western ways of knowledge production and dissemination in the past and present then become objects of study for those seeking alternative means of expression. As the foregoing discussion suggests, the term thus yokes a diverse range of experiences, cultures, and problems; the resultant confusion is perhaps predictable.   <br />The expansiveness of the "postcolonial" has given rise to lively debates. Even as some deplore its imprecision and lack of historical and material particularity, others argue that most former colonies are far from free of colonial infuence or domination and so cannot be postcolonial in any genuine sense. In other words, the overhasty celebration of independence masks the march of neocolonialism in the guise of modernization and development in an age of increasing globalization and transnationalism; meanwhile, there are colonized countries that are still under foreign control. The emphasis on colonizer/colonized relations, moreover, obscures the operation of internal oppression within the colonies. Still others berate the tendency in the Western academy to be more receptive to postcolonial literature and theory that is compatible with postmodern formulations of hybridity, syncretization, and pastiche while ignoring the critical realism of writers more interested in the specifics of social and racial oppression. The lionization of diasporic writers like Salman Rushdie, for instance, might be seen as a privileging of the transnational, migrant sensibility at the expense of more local struggles in the postcolony. Further, the rise of Postcolonial Studies at a time of growing transnational movements of capital, labor, and culture is viewed by some with suspicion in that it is thought to deflect attention away from the material realities of exploitation both in the First and the Third World. <br />Major Issues <br />Despite the reservations and debates, research in Postcolonial Studies is growing because postcolonial critique allows for a wide-ranging investigation into power relations in various contexts. The formation of empire, the impact of colonization on postcolonial history, economy, science, and culture, the cultural productions of colonized societies, feminism and postcolonialism, agency for marginalized people, and the state of the postcolony in contemporary economic and cultural contexts are some broad topics in the field. <br />The following questions suggest some of the major issues in the field: <br />How did the experience of colonization affect those who were colonized while also influencing the colonizers? How were colonial powers able to gain control over so large a portion of the non-Western world? What traces have been left by colonial education, science and technology in postcolonial societies? How do these traces affect decisions about development and modernization in postcolonies? What were the forms of resistance against colonial control? How did colonial education and language influence the culture and identity of the colonized? How did Western science, technology, and medicine change existing knowledge systems? What are the emergent forms of postcolonial identity after the departure of the colonizers? To what extent has decolonization (a reconstruction free from colonial influence) been possible? Are Western formulations of postcolonialism overemphasizing hybridity at the expense of material realities? Should decolonization proceed through an aggressive return to the pre-colonial past (related topic: Essentialism)? How do gender, race, and class function in colonial and postcolonial discourse? Are new forms of imperialism replacing colonization and how? <br />Along with these questions, there are some more that are particularly pertinent to postcolonial literature: Should the writer use a colonial language to reach a wider audience or return to a native language more relevant to groups in the postcolony? Which writers should be included in the postcolonial canon? How can texts in translation from non-colonial languages enrich our understanding of postcolonial issues? Has the preponderance of the postcolonial novel led to a neglect of other genres? <br />Major Figures <br />Some of the best known names in Postcolonial literature and theory are those of Chinua Achebe, Homi Bhabha, Buchi Emecheta, Frantz Fanon, Jamaica Kincaid, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. A more comprehensive although by no means exhaustive list follows.   <br />LITERATURE: Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Peter Abrahams, Ayi Kwei Armah, Aime Cesaire, John Pepper Clark, Michelle Cliff, Jill Ker Conway, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Anita Desai, Assia Djebar, Marguerite Duras, Buchi Emecheta, Nuruddin Farah, Amitav Ghosh, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Merle Hodge, C.L.R. James, Ben Jelloun, Farida Karodia, Jamaica Kincaid, Hanif Kureishi, George Lamming, Dambudzo Marechera, Rohinton Mistry, Ezekiel Mphahlele, V. S. Naipaul, Taslima Nasrin, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Flora Nwapa, Grace Ogot, Molara Ogundipe-Leslie, Gabriel Okara, Ben Okri, Michael Ondaatje, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Allan Sealy, Shyam Selvadurai, Leopold Senghor, Vikram Seth, Bapsi Sidhwa, Wole Soyinka, Sara Suleri, M.G.Vassanji, Derek Walcott, etc.   <br /> THEORY: Aijaz Ahmad, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Bill Ashcroft, Homi Bhabha, Amilcar Cabral, Partha Chatterjee, Rey Chow, Frantz Fanon, Gareth Griffiths, Ranajit Guha, Bob Hodge, Abdul JanMohamed, Ania Loomba, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Vijay Mishra, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Arun Mukherjee, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Benita Parry, Edward Said, Kumkum Sangari, Jenny Sharpe, Stephen Slemon, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Aruna Srivastava, Sara Suleri, Gauri Viswanathan, Helen Tiffin, etc. <br />Overview <br />Post-colonial studies apply the insights of hermeneutics and left-wing political theory to the literature of countries emerging from colonialism. {1} Equally pertinent is the literature of the colonizing power — the unspoken and sometimes superior attitudes of European writers towards the culture of countries they control or once controlled. {2} <br />Introduction <br />Now a complex and a rapidly expanding field of study, post-colonialism was largely initiated by Edward Said {3}, a Palestinian writer concerned about what he saw as the subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture, something he called Orientalism. Though his work was one-sided, encumbered with jargon, and involved some subterfuges on its author's part, Said raised matters important in literature, international relations, trade agreements and third world aid. <br />Theory <br />Everyone has their own view of themselves and their surroundings, a view into which is mixed a good deal of unexamined prejudice, self-worth and popular mythology. And doubtless the language in which we write or talk supports and perpetuates those views. Post-colonial studies go further than simply documenting the unavoidable, however: they use the strategies of hermeneutics, Bakhtin, Derrida, Foucault and others to discern and often denounce such harmful prejudices. Post-colonial studies overlap the concerns of feminism {4} and political correctness, and are couched in the language of radical theory, dense with reference and specialized terminology.Researchers point out, uncontroversially, that the west tends to: <br />1. view matters wholly through their own culturally-determined and often limited historical perspectives. {5}<br />2. lump countries together in geographical or economic blocks, which overlooks vital differences in history, outlook and cultural practices. <br />3. oblige writers to adopt the language of the former colonial power, for practical convenience and/or economic control of the media or publishing houses. In many cases, the foreign language has traditions, social structures and textures that are not appropriate to what the new writers wish to say. {6} {7}<br />4. apply economic or political coercion. Countries are often given or denied aid on the basis of democratic assessments that are very simplistically applied. {8} Worse, countries often need aid only because they are denied a proper market for their goods by trade organizations that perpetuate the old colonial rule. {9} {10} {11} {12}<br />Post-colonial studies use a concept called Otherness {13}, a somewhat flexible concept, deriving from Freudian psychiatry, which argues that human beings inevitably define themselves against what they are not: the 'other'. Inevitably, given that resistance to a colonial past helps define new writers, the unwanted colonial attitudes reappear, even if as despised negatives. In short, there is no privileged viewpoint, nothing that is free from earlier prejudice or subsequent reaction. We work within an horizon of understanding, which itself shifts as we think more deeply, and the age itself moves on. <br />Critique <br />Post-colonial studies have some telling points to make. For all its humanity, the poetry of Jonson, Pope, Byron, Kipling, etc. has views that we wouldn't expect to read in contemporary work. However enlightened by the standards of their day, the attitudes are dissonant now, perhaps even offensive, and they intrude in any possible reading. We have to isolate and take them into account, just as the prejudices in today's literature will be picked over by later generations. That said, post-colonial studies can also be one-sided, ignoring the obvious, that: <br />1. however distorted the image the west imposes on the third world, an equally distorted view of the west prevails in many third world countries: perception is a larger problem than colonialism. {14} <br />2. governments in third world countries often show colonial attitudes to their own peoples: blaming their colonial history is not the answer to more complex problems. {15} {16} <br />3. the European colonizing powers are unfairly singled out. More coercive and self-perpetuating, for example, were the Chinese and Ottoman Empires. {17} {18}<br />4. the record of colonialism is more mixed than many theorists allow, with some good and some bad. {19} {20} {21} {22} {23} {24} {25}<br />5. theorists enjoy an intellectual freedom unknown in the countries before their 'occupation' by the colonial powers — one that has sometimes disappeared after Independence. {26}<br />6. study is excessively theoretical, reliant on dubious Marxist ideology, and can be imperialistic in its turn, setting itself up as the ultimate (and necessarily western) vantage point. {27} {28}<br />7. theory becomes an end in itself. In general, the immense problems of the third world do not need such sophistry: they need action. {29} {30} {31} {32}<br />8. examples have been pushed to extremes, which has given the whole subject a bad name, perhaps as a ready way of securing tenure in difficult academic times. {33} {34} {35} <br />It may well be true that "History is always ambiguous. Facts are hard to establish, and capable of being given many meanings. Reality is built on our prejudices, misconceptions and ignorance as well as our perceptions and knowledge." {36} But it is another matter to posit a wholesale, deep-seated and entirely European failing, and fasten the blame on the colonial record. History is complex, and the Marxist thesis of exploitation doesn't meet the facts.<br />The real difficulties arise when we look for evidence. Said's Orientalism made three assertions. Firstly, that oriental studies functioned to serve political ends. Secondly, that Orientalism has produced a false description of Arabs and Islamic culture. And thirdly, that Orientalism helped define Europe’s self-image. None seems true. {37} Colonial rule was not justified in advance by oriental studies but in retrospect. Second, if the views of oriental scholars were so wrong, it is hard to see how their adoption by the colonizing powers proved so successful, or why they are still used by native academics. Finally, Europe did not definine itself against an oriental 'other': Europeans may well have thought themselves superior, but they did not construct an 'other' and define themselves against it. The accusation indeed commits the same stereotyping, now of the Europeans powers, that Said himself castigates. Matters are much more complicated, varying with period and countries concerned.The issues are contentious, and it is difficult to find a balanced position. The overarching faults of post-colonial studies are those of radical theory generally: belief in simple answers to complex matters, disdain for evidence, and a prose style {38} that obscures the issues and sometimes prevents discussion altogether. <br />The term "Postcolonialism" refers broadly to the ways in which race, ethnicity, culture, and human identity itself are represented in the modern era, after many colonized countries gained their independence. However, some critics use the term to refer to all culture and cultural products influenced by imperialism from the moment of colonization until today. Postcolonial literature seeks to describe the interactions between European nations and the peoples they colonized. By the middle of the twentieth century, the vast majority of the world was under the control of European countries. At one time, Great Britain, for example, ruled almost 50 percent of the world. During the twentieth century, countries such as India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Canada, and Australia won independence from their European colonizers. The literature and art produced in these countries after independence has become the object of "Postcolonial Studies," a term coined in and for academia, initially in British universities. <br />This field gained prominence in the 1970s and has been developing ever since. Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said's critique of Western representations of the Eastern culture in his 1978 book, Orientalism, is a seminal text for postcolonial studies and has spawned a host of theories on the subject. However, as the currency of the term "postcolonial" has gained wider use, its meaning has also expanded. Some consider the United States itself a postcolonial country because of its former status as a territory of Great Britain, but it is generally studied for its colonizing rather than its colonized attributes. In another vein, Canada and Australia, though former colonies of Britain, are often placed in a separate category because of their status as "settler" countries and because of their continuing loyalty to their colonizer. Some of the major voices and works of postcolonial literature include Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children (1981), Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart (1958), Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient (1992), Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth (1961), Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place (1988), Isabelle Allende's The House of the Spirits (1982), J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians and Disgrace (1990), Derek Walcott's Omeros (1990), and Eavan Boland's Outside History: Selected Poems, 1980-1990.<br /> <br />Mimicry, Ambivalence and Hybridity<br />When Robinson Crusoe set foot on the island and declared it his own, a new page was inscribed in the history of colonialism. The shipwreck becomes a historical moment in this history. Defoe is able to create a textual plantation with the undaunted Robinson at its center, involved in a double (d) divine action of invention and original self-invention. The footprint, however, will unsettle his undisturbed tranquility, and fear enters the stage. Neither the bible nor his guns will bring him peace. Crusoe will undergo the painful experience of recurrent traumatic nightmares before the event. The silence is broken. The Other has already inhabited the Self prior to the uncanny encounter: anxiety invades the body and mind of the stranded hero. The "textual empire" is shaken by the unknown: "The island is full of noises." The captured absent/present utterances are therefore unbounded; authority is de-authorized (is it?), and writing hybridized. <br />What is hybridization?, Bakhtin asks: <br />It is a mixture of two social languages within the limits of a single utterance, an encounter, within the arena of an utterance, between two different linguistic consiousnesses, separated from one another by an epoch, by social differentiation, or by some other factor. (358)<br />When on a certain Friday, the encounter actually happens, Crusoe will demonstrate to the highest degree of perfection the noble qualities of an English tradesman-Gentleman: those of making and self-making, prowess and determination. Driven by an instinctive sense of a charitable concern for the meek, he rescues a young criolos cannibal from being devoured by other cannibals. Faithful to the already-established Spanish tradition, he names him Friday, teaches him English, the words of God, and above all, the basics of humanity; in other words, he has driven him out of utter darkness to an overwhelming whitening light.<br />Under these conditions, however, Crusoe paradoxically is more isolated than ever since the words he hears are his words --the very words he wanted Friday to say, to repeat. Crusoe is blinded by his narcissism. He seems, Brantlinger states, "almost to will his isolation, and to cling to it even when it is being invaded" (Brantlinger 3). Friday does not exist. Friday is a lie, an illusion created by a mad masterly imagination. He is an ever incomplete, insubstantial image, a mere inorganic shadow, a dark spot on the ground, an image. Friday is filling an empty space cynically prepared and strategically organized by the colonizer as a speaking subject. The mirror-image that Friday is striving to see reflected will be a distorted one, a neither-nor : one that is ambivalent, doubled. "It was one of the tragedies of slavery and of the conditions under which creolization had to take place," Kamau Brathwaite states, <br />that it should have produced this kind of mimicry; should have procduced such "mimic-men." But in the circumstances this was the only kind of white imitation that would have been accepted, given the terms in which the slaves were seen .<br />Nevertheless, some postcolonial critics argue that it is precisely this kind of mimicry that disrupts the colonial discourse by doubling it. For them, the simple presence of the colonized Other within the textual structure is enough evidence of the ambivalence of the colonial text, an ambivalence that destabilizes its claim for absolute authority or unquestionable authenticity. Hence, today, the term hybridity has become one of the most recurrent conceptual leitmotivs in postcolonial cultural criticism. It is meant to foreclose the diverse forms of purity encompassed within essentialist theories. Homi Bhabha is the leading contemporary critic who has tried to disclose the contradictions inherent in colonial discourse in order to highlight the colonizer's ambivalence in respect to his position toward the colonized Other.<br />Along with Tom Nairn, Homi Bhabha considers the confusion and hollowness that resistance produces in the minds of such imperialist authors as Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, and E. M. Forster. But while Nairn sees their colonialist grandiose rhetoric as disproportionate to the real decadent economic and political situation of late Victorian England, Bhabha goes as far as to see this imperial delirium forming gaps within the English text, gaps which are <br />the signs of a discontinuous history, an estrangement of the English book.They mark the disturbance of its authoritative representations by the uncanny forces of race, sexuality, violence, cultural and even climatic differnces which emerge in the colonial discource as the mixed and split texts of hybridity. If the English book is read as a production of hybridity, then it no longer simply commands authority. <br />His analysis, which is largely based on the Lacanian conceptualization of mimicry as camouflage focuses on colonial ambivalence. On the one hand, he sees the colonizer as a snake in the grass who, speaks in "a tongue that is forked," and produces a mimetic representation that "... emerges as one of the most elusive and effective strategies of colonial power and knowledge " (Bhabha 85). Bhabha recognizes then that colonial power carefully establishes highly-sophisticated strategies of control and dominance; that, while it is aware of its ephemerality, it is also anxious to create the means that guarantee its economic, political and cultural endurance, through the conception, in Macaulay's words in his "Minute on Indian Education" (1835),"of a class of interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern --a class of persons Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect"--that is through the reformation of that category of people referred to by Frantz Fanon in the phrase, "black skin/white masks," or as "mimic men" by V.S.Naipaul.<br />On the other hand, Bhabha immediately diverts his pertinent analysis by shifting the superlative certainty of the colonizer and the strategic effectiveness of his political intentions into an alarming uncertainty. Macaulay's Indian interpreters along with Naipaul's mimic men, he asserts, by the very fact that they are authorized versions of otherness, "part-objects of a metonymy of colonial desire, end up emerging as inappropriate colonial subjects...[who], by now producing a partial vision of the colonizer's presence (88), de-stabilize the colonial subjectivity, unsettle its authoritative centrality, and corrupt its discursive purity. Actually, he adds, mimicry repeats rather than re-presents....(author's emphases ), and in that very act of repetition, originality is lost, and centrality de-centred. What is left, according to Bhabha, is the trace, the impure, the artificial, the second-hand. Bhabha analyses the slippages in colonial political discourse, and reveals that the janus-faced attitudes towards the colonized lead to the production of a mimicry that presents itself more in the form of a "menace " than "resemblance"; more in the form of a rupture than consolidation. <br />Hybridity, Bhabha argues, subverts the narratives of colonial power and dominant cultures. The series of inclusions and exclusions on which a dominant culture is premised are deconstructed by the very entry of the formerly-excluded subjects into the mainstream discourse. The dominant culture is contaminated by the linguistic and racial differences of the native self. Hybridity can thus be seen, in Bhabha's interpretation, as a counter-narrative, a critique of the canon and its exclusion of other narratives. In other words, the hybridity-acclaimers want to suggest first, that the colonialist discourse's ambivalence is a conspicuous illustration of its uncertainty; and second, that the migration of yesterday's "savages" from their peripheral spaces to the homes of their "masters" underlies a blessing invasion that, by "Third-Worlding"the center, creates "fissures" within the very structures that sustain it.<br />Frantz Fanon<br />Frantz Fanon's relatively short life yielded two potent and influential statements of anti-colonial revolutionary thought, Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961), works which have made Fanon a prominent contributor to postcolonial studies. <br />Fanon was born in 1925, to a middle-class family in the French colony of Martinique. He left Martinique in 1943, when he volunteered to fight with the Free French in World War II, and he remained in France after the war to study medicine and psychiatry on scholarship in Lyon. Here he began writing political essays and plays, and he married a Frenchwoman, Jose Duble. Before he left France, Fanon had already published his first analysis of the effects of racism and colonization, Black Skin, White Masks (BSWM), originally titled "An Essay for the Disalienation of Blacks," in part based on his lectures and experiences in Lyon. <br />BSWM is part manifesto, part analysis; it both presents Fanon's personal experience as a black intellectual in a whitened world and elaborates the ways in which the colonizer/colonized relationship is normalized as psychology. Because of his schooling and cultural background, the young Fanon conceived of himself as French, and the disorientation he felt after his initial encounter with French racism decisively shaped his psychological theories about culture. Fanon inflects his medical and psychological practice with the understanding that racism generates harmful psychological constructs that both blind the black man to his subjection to a universalized white norm and alienate his consciousness. A racist culture prohibits psychological health in the black man. <br />For Fanon, being colonized by a language has larger implications for one's consciousness: "To speak . . . means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization" (17-18). Speaking French means that one accepts, or is coerced into accepting, the collective consciousness of the French, which identifies blackness with evil and sin. In an attempt to escape the association of blackness with evil, the black man dons a white mask, or thinks of himself as a universal subject equally participating in a society that advocates an equality supposedly abstracted from personal appearance. Cultural values are internalized, or "epidermalized" into consciousness, creating a fundamental disjuncture between the black man's consciousness and his body. Under these conditions, the black man is necessarily alienated from himself. <br />Fanon insists, however, that the category "white" depends for its stability on its negation, "black." Neither exists without the other, and both come into being at the moment of imperial conquest. Thus, Fanon locates the historical point at which certain psychological formations became possible, and he provides an important analysis of how historically-bound cultural systems, such as the Orientalist discourse Edward Said describes, can perpetuate themselves as psychology. While Fanon charts the psychological oppression of black men, his book should not be taken as an accurate portrait of the oppression of black women under similar conditions. The work of feminists in postcolonial studies undercuts Fanon's simplistic and unsympathetic portrait of the black woman's complicity in colonization. <br />In 1953, Fanon became Head of the Psychiatry Department at the Blida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria, where he instituted reform in patient care and desegregated the wards. During his tenure in Blida, the war for Algerian independence broke out, and Fanon was horrified by the stories of torture his patients -- both French torturers and Algerian torture victims -- told him. The Algerian War consolidated Fanon's alienation from the French imperial viewpoint, and in 1956 he formally resigned his post with the French government to work for the Algerian cause. His letter of resignation encapsulates his theory of the psychology of colonial domination, and pronounces the colonial mission incompatible with ethical psychiatric practice: "If psychiatry is the medical technique that aims to enable man no longer to be a stranger to his environment, I owe it to myself to affirm that the Arab, permanently an alien in his own country, lives in a state of absolute depersonalization. . . . The events in Algeria are the logical consequence of an abortive attempt to decerebralize a people" (Toward the African Revolution 53). <br />Following his resignation, Fanon fled to Tunisia and began working openly with the Algerian independence movement. In addition to seeing patients, Fanon wrote about the movement for a number of publications, including Sartre's Les Temps Modernes, Presence Africaine, and the FLN newspaper el Moudjahid; some of his work from this period was collected posthumously as Toward the African Revolution (1964). But Fanon's work for Algerian independence was not confined to writing. During his tenure as Ambassador to Ghana for the Provisional Algerian Government, he worked to establish a southern supply route for the Algerian army. <br />While in Ghana, Fanon developed leukemia, and though encouraged by friends to rest, he refused. He completed his final and most fiery indictment of the colonial condition, The Wretched of the Earth, in 10 months, and the book was published by Jean-Paul Sartre in the year of his death. Fanon died at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where he had sought treatment for his cancer, on December 6, 1961. At his request, his body was returned to Algeria and buried with honors by the Algerian National Army of Liberation. <br />In The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon develops the Manichean perspective implicit in BSWM. To overcome the binary system in which black is bad and white is good, Fanon argues that an entirely new world must come into being. This utopian desire, to be absolutely free of the past, requires total revolution, "absolute violence" (37). Violence purifies, destroying not only the category of white, but that of black too. According to Fanon, true revolution in Africa can only come from the peasants, or "fellaheen." Putting peasants at the vanguard of the revolution reveals the influence of the FLN, who based their operations in the countryside, on Fanon's thinking. Furthermore, this emphasis on the rural underclass highlights Fanon's disgust with the greed and politicking of the comprador bourgeoisie in new African nations. The brand of nationalism espoused by these classes, and even by the urban proletariat, is insufficient for total revolution because such classes benefit from the economic structures of imperialism. Fanon claims that non-agrarian revolutions end when urban classes consolidate their own power, without remaking the entire system. In his faith in the African peasantry as well as his emphasis on language, Fanon anticipates the work of Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, who finds revolutionary artistic power among the peasants. <br />Given Fanon's importance to postcolonial studies, the obituaries marking his death were small; the two inches of type offered by The New York Times and Le Monde inadequately describe his achievements and role. He has been influential in both leftist and anti-racist political movements, and all of his works were translated into English in the decade following his death. His work stands as an important influence on current postcolonial theorists, notably Homi Bhabha and Edward Said. <br />British director Isaac Julien's Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1996) has recently been released by California Newsreel. Weaving together interviews with family members and friends, documentary footage, readings from Fanon's work, and dramatizations of crucial moments in his life, the film reveals not just the facts of Fanon's brief and remarkably eventful life but his long and tortuous journey as well. In the course of the film, critics Stuart Hall and Françoise Verges position Fanon's work in his own time and draw out its implications for our own.<br />Homi Bhabha<br />Mimicry; Hybridity; Third Space; Postcolonial Culture<br />Mimicry "Of Mimicry and Man"  from The Location of Culture.  NY: Routledge, 1994.  p. 86   <br />Mimicry is, then, the sign of a double articulation; a complex strategy of reform, regulation and discipline, which "appropriates' the Other as it visualizes power. Mimicry is also the sign of the inappropriate, however, a difference or recalcitrance which coheres the dominant strategic function of colonial power, intensifies surveillance, and poses an immanent threat to both 'normalized' knowledges and disciplinary powers.   <br />It is from this area between mimicry and mockery, where the reforming, civilizing mission is threatened by the displacing gaze of its disciplinary double, . . .   <br />mimicry is at once resemblance and menace.   <br />p. 88 The menace of mimicry is its double vision which in disclosing the ambivalence of colonial discourse also disrupts its authority. And it is a double vision that is a result of what I've described as the partial representation/recognition of the colonial object. <br /> <br />Hybridity "Signs Taken for Wonder"  from The Location of Culture.  NY: Routledge, 1994. <br />". . . the colonial presence is always ambivalent, split between its presence as original and authoritative and its articulation as repetition and difference" (107). <br />"Hybridity is a problematic of colonial representation and individuation that reverses the effects of the colonialist disawal, so that other 'denied' knowledges enter upon the dominant discourse and estrange the basis of its authority -- its rule of recognition" (114).   . . . "This partializing process of hybridity is best described as a metonymy of presence" (115) <br />"Colonial doubling. . .a strategic displacement of value through a process of metonymy of presence.  It is through  this partial process, represented in its enigmatic, inappropriate signifiers --stereotypes, jokes, multiple and contradictory belief, the 'native' Bible-- that we begin to get a sense of a specific space of cultural colonial discourse.  It is a separate space, a space of separation -- less than one and double -- which has been systematically denied by both colonialists and nationalists who have sought authority in the authenticity of 'origins' (120). <br /> <br />The Third Space   "The intervention of the Third Space of enunciation, which makes the structure of meaning and reference an ambivalent process, destroys this mirror of representation in which cultural knowledge is customarily revealed as integrated, open, expanding code.  Such an intervention quite properly challenges our sense of the historical identity of culture as homogenizing, unifying force, authenticated by originary Past, kept alive in the national tradition of the People" (37). "The non-synchronous temporality of global and national cultures opens up a cultural space -- a third space--where the negotiation of incommensurable differences creates a tension peculiar to borderline existences. . . Hybrid hyphenisations emphasize the incommensurable elements as the basis of cultural identities" (218)   <br /> <br />on Transnational/Tranlational Culture from  Greenblatt and Gun's Redrawing the Boundaries,   <br />Culture as a strategy of survival is both transnational and translational. It is transnational because         contemporary postcolonial discourses are rooted in specific histories of cultural displacement, whether they are the middle passage of slaver and indenture, the voyage out of the civilizing mission, the fraught accommodation of Third World migration to the West after the Second World War, or  the traffic of economic and political refugees within and outside the Third World. Culture is translational because such spatial histories of displacement -- now accompanied by the territorial  ambitions of global media technologies -- make the question of how culture signifies, or what is signified by culture , a rather complex issue. It becomes crucial to distinguish between the semblance and similitude of the symbols across diverse cultural experiences -- literature, art, music, ritual, life, death -- and the social specificity of each of these productions of meaning as they circulate as signs within specific contextual locations and social systems of value. The transnational dimension of cultural transformation -- migration, diaspora, displacement, relocation -- makes the process of cultural  translation a complex form of signification. the natural(ized), unifying discourse of nation , peoples , or authentic folk tradition, those embedded myths of cultures particularity, cannot be readily referenced.  The great, though unsettling, advantage of this position is that it makes you increasingly aware of the construction of culture and the invention of tradition.<br />Bhabha on Multiculturalism, cultural diversity and cultural difference <br />from Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. Ed. Jonathan Rutherford. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1990.<br />a creation of cultural diversity and a containment of cultural difference p. 208 ...we really do need the notion of a politics which is based on unequal, uneven, multiple and potentially antagonist, political identities. ...whatis at issue is a historical moment in whihc these multiple identites do actually articulate in challenging ways, either positively or negatively, either in progressive or regressive ways, often conflictually, sometimes even incommensurably <br />Multiculturalism represented an attempt both to respond to and to control the dynamic process of the articulation of cultural difference, administering a consensus based on a norm that propagates cultural diversity. <br />...p. 209 This kind of liberal relativist perspective is inadequate in itself and doesn't generally recognise the universalist and normative stance from which it constructs its cultural and political judgements. <br />p. 210 the act of signification ...must always ...have within them a kind of self-alienating limit. Meaning is constructed across the bar of difference and separation between the signifier and the signified.  So it follows that no culture is full unto itself, no culture is plainly ...not only because there are other cultures which contradict its authority, but also because its own symbol-forming activity, ...always underscores the claim to an originary, holistic, organic identity. <br />By translation I first of all mean a process by which, in order to objectify cultural meaning, there always has to be a process of alienation and of secondariness in relation to itself. <br />..translation is also a way of imitating..<br />    <br />Representation1. Presence, bearing, air; Appearance; impression on the sight. 2. An Image, likeness, or reproduction in some manner of a thing; A material image or figure; a reproduction in some material or tangible form; in later use, a drawing or painting. (of a person or thing); The action or fact of exhibiting in some visible image or form; The fact of expressing or denoting by means of a figure or symbol; symbolic action or exhibition. 3. The exhibition of character and action upon the stage; the performance of a play; Acting, simulation, pretense. 4. The action of placing a fact, etc., before another or others by means of discourse; a statement or account, esp. one intended to convey a particular view or impression of a matter in order to influence opinion or action. 5. A formal and serious statement of facts, reasons, or arguments, made with a view to effecting some change, preventing some action, etc.; hence, a remonstrance, protest, expostulation. 6. The action of presenting to the mind or imagination; an image thus presented; a clearly conceived idea or concept; The operation of the mind in forming a clear image or concept; the faculty of doing this. 7. The fact of standing for, or in place of, some other thing or person, esp. with a right or authority to act on their account; substitution of one thing or person for another. 8. The fact of representing or being represented in a legislative or deliberative assembly, spec. in Parliament; the position, principle, or system implied by this; The aggregate of those who thus represent the elective body. <br />Representation is presently a much debated topic not only in postcolonial studies and academia, but in the larger cultural milieu. As the above dictionary entry shows, the actual definitions for the word alone are cause for some confusion. The Oxford English Dictionary defines representation primarily as "presence" or "appearance." There is an implied visual component to these primary definitions.Representations can be clear images, material reproductions, performances and simulations. Representation can also be defined as the act of placing or stating facts in order to influence or affect the action of others. Of course, the word also has political connotations. Politicians are thought to 'represent' a constituency. They are thought to have the right to stand in the place of another. So above all, the term representation has a semiotic meaning, in that something is 'standing for' something else. These various yet related definitions are all implicated in the public debates about representation. Theorists interested in Postcolonial studies, by closely examining various forms of representations, visual, textual and otherwise, have teased out the different ways that these "images" are implicated in power inequalities and the subordination of the 'subaltern'. <br />Representations-- these 'likenesses'--come in various forms: films, television, photographs, paintings, advertisements and other forms of popular culture. Written materials--academic texts, novels and other literature, journalistic pieces--are also important forms of representation. These representations, to different degrees, are thought to be somewhat realistic, or to go back to the definitions, they are thought be 'clear' or state 'a fact'. Yet how can simulations or "impressions on the sight" be completely true? Edward Said, in his analysis of textual representations of the Orient in Orientalism, emphasizes the fact that representations can never be exactly realistic: <br />In any instance of at least written language, there is no such thing as a delivered presence, but a re-presence, or a representation. The value, efficacy, strength, apparent veracity of a written statement about the Orient therefore relies very little, and cannot instrumentally depend, on the Orient as such. On the contrary, the written statement is a presence to the reader by virtue of its having excluded, displaced, made supererogatory any such real thing as "the Orient". (21) <br />Representations, then can never really be 'natural' depictions of the orient. Instead, they are constructed images, images that need to be interrogated for their ideological content.<br />In a similar way, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak  makes a distinction between Vertretung and Darstellung. The former she defines as "stepping in someone's place. . .to tread in someone's shoes." Representation in this sense is "political representation," or a speaking for the needs and desires of somebody or something. Darstellung is representation as re-presentation, "placing there." Representing is thus "proxy and portrait," according to Spivak. The complicity between "speaking for" and "portraying" must be kept in mind ("Practical Politics of the Open End," The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues.) Elsewhere, Spivak addresses the problem of "speaking in the name of": "It is not a sulution, the idea of the disenfranchised speaking for themselves, or the radical critics speaking for them; this question of representation, self-representation, representing others, is a problem." Spivak recommends "persistent critique" to guard against "constructing the Other simply as an object of knowledge, leaving out the real Others because of the ones who are getting access into public places due to these waves of benevolence and so on" ("Questions of Multi-Culturalism" The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues).<br />If there is always an element of interpretation involved in representation, we must then note who may be doing the interpreting. Ella Shohat claims that we should constantly question representations: <br />Each filmic or academic utterance must be analyzed not only in terms of who represents but also in terms of who is being represented for what purpose, at which historical moment, for which location, using which strategies, and in what tone of address. ("The Struggle over Representation: Casting, Coalitions, and the Politics of Identification," Late Imperial Culture, 173) <br />This questioning is particularly important when the representation of the subaltern is involved. The problem does not rest solely with the fact that often marginalized groups do not hold the 'power over representation' (Shohat 170); it rests also in the fact that representations of these groups are both flawed and few in numbers. Shohat asserts that dominant groups need not preoccupy themselves too much with being adequately represented. There are so many different representations of dominant groups that negative images are seen as only part of the "natural diversity" of people. However, "representation of an underrepresented group is necessarily within the hermeneutics of domination, overcharged with allegorical significance." (170) The mass media tends to take representations of the subaltern as allegorical, meaning that since representations of the marginalized are few, the few available are thought to be representative of all marginalized peoples. The few images are thought to be typical, sometimes not only of members of a particular minority group, but of all minorities in general. It is assumed that subalterns can stand in for other subalterns. A prime example of this is the fact that actors of particular ethnic backgrounds were often casted as any ethnic "other". (Some examples include Carmen Miranda in The Gang's All Here (1943), Ricardo Mantalban in Sayonara (1957), and Rudolph Valentino in The Son of the Sheik ). This collapsing of the image of the subaltern reflects not only ignorance but a lack of respect for the diversity within marginalized communities.<br />Shohat also suggests that representations in one sphere--the sphere of popular culture--effects the other spheres of representation, particularly the political one:<br />The denial of aesthetic representation to the subaltern has historically formed a corollary to the literal denial of economic, legal, and political representation. The struggle to 'speak for oneself' cannot be separated from a history of being spoken for, from the struggle to speak and be heard. (173)<br />It cannot be ignored that representations effect the ways in which actual individuals are perceived. Although many see representations as harmless likenesses, they do have a real effect on the world. They are meant to relay a message and as the definition shows, 'influence opinion and action'. We must ask what ideological work these representations accomplish. Representations or the 'images or ideas formed in the mind' have vast implications for real people in real contexts. <br />Both the scarcity and the importance of minority representations yield what many have called " the burden of representation". Since there are so few images, negative ones can have devastating affects on the real lives of marginalized people. We must also ask, if there are so few, who will produce them? Who will be the supposed voice of the subaltern? Given the allegorical character of these representations, even subaltern writers, artists, and scholars are asking who can really speak for whom? When a spokesperson or a certain image is read as metonymic, representation becomes more difficult and dangerous. <br />Solutions for this conundrum are difficult to theorize. We can call for increased "self representation" or the inclusion of more individuals from 'marginalized' groups in 'the act of representing', yet this is easier said then done. Also, the inclusion of more minorities in representation will not necessarily alter the structural or institutional barriers that prevent equal participation for all in representation. Focusing on whether or not images are negative or positive, leaves in tact a reliance on the "realness' of images, a "realness" that is false to begin with. <br />Finally, I again turn to Spivak and her question, 'Can the Subaltern Speak'. In this seminal essay, Spivak emphasizes the fact that representation is a sort of speech act, with a speaker and a listener. Often, the subaltern makes an attempt at self-representation, perhaps a representation that falls outside the 'the lines laid down by the official institutional structures of representation' (306). Yet, this act of representation is not heard. It is not recognized by the listener, perhaps because it does not fit in with what is expected of the representation. Therefore, representation by subaltern individuals seems nearly impossible. <br />Despite the fact that Spivak's formulation is quite accurate, there must still be an effort to try and challenge status quo representation and the ideological work it does. The work of various 'Third world' and minority writers, artists, and filmmakers attest to the possibilities of counter-hegemonic, anti-colonial subversion. <br />It is obvious that representations are much more than plain 'likenesses'. They are in a sense ideological tools that can serve to reinforce systems of inequality and subordination; they can help sustain colonialist or neocolonialist projects. A great amount of effort is needed to dislodge dominant modes of representation. Efforts will continue to be made to challenge the hegemonic force of representation, and of course, this force is not completely pervasive, and subversions are often possible. 'Self representation' may not be a complete possibility, yet is still an important goal.  <br />  <br />Postcolonial Literature": Problems with the Term<br />"Postcolonial Literature" is a hot commodity these days. On the one hand writers like Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy are best-selling authors; and on the other hand, no college English department worth its salt wants to be without a scholar who can knowledgeably discourse about postcolonial theory.<br />But there seems to be a great deal of uncertainty as to just what the term denotes. Many of the debates among postcolonial scholars center on which national literatures or authors can be justifiably included in the postcolonial canon. Much of the discussion among postcolonial scholars involves criticisms of the term "postcolonial" itself. In addition, it is seldom mentioned but quite striking that very few actual authors of the literature under discussion embrace and use the term to label their own writing.<br />It should be acknowledged that postcolonial theory functions as a subdivision within the even more misleadingly named field of "cultural studies": the whole body of generally leftist radical literary theory and criticism which includes Marxist, Gramscian, Foucauldian, and various feminist schools of thought, among others. What all of these schools of thought have in common is a determination to analyze unjust power relationships as manifested in cultural products like literature (and film, art, etc.). Practitioners generally consider themselves politically engaged and committed to some variety or other of liberation process.<br />It is also important to understand that not all postcolonial scholars are literary scholars. Postcolonial theory is applied to political science, to history, and to other related fields. People who call themselves postcolonial scholars generally see themselves as part of a large (if poorly defined and disorganized) movement to expose and struggle against the influence of large, rich nations (mostly European, plus the U.S.) on poorer nations (mostly in the southern hemisphere).<br />Taken literally, the term "postcolonial literature" would seem to label literature written by people living in countries formerly colonized by other nations. This is undoubtedly what the term originally meant, but there are many problems with this definition.<br />First, literal colonization is not the exclusive object of postcolonial study. Lenin's classic analysis of imperialism led to Antonio Gramisci's concept of "hegemony" which distinguishes between literal political dominance and dominance through ideas and culture (what many critics of American influence call the "Coca-Colanization" of the world). Sixties thinkers developed the concept of neo-imperialism to label relationships like that between the U.S. and many Latin American countries which, while nominally independent, had economies dominated by American business interests, often backed up by American military forces. The term "banana republic" was originally a sarcastic label for such subjugated countries, ruled more by the influence of the United Fruit Corporation than by their own indigenous governments.<br />Second, among the works commonly studied under this label are novels like Claude McKay's Banjo and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart which were written while the nations in question (Jamaica and Nigeria) were still colonies. Some scholars attempt to solve this problem by arguing that the term should denote works written after colonization, not only those created after independence; but that would be "postcolonization" literature. Few people understand the term in this sense outside a small circle of scholars working in the field.<br />Third, some critics argue that the term misleadingly implies that colonialism is over when in fact most of the nations involved are still culturally and economically subordinated to the rich industrial states through various forms of neo-colonialism even though they are technically independent.<br />Fourth, it can be argued that this way of defining a whole era is Eurocentric, that it singles out the colonial experience as the most important fact about the countries involved. Surely that experience has had many powerful influences; but this is not necessarily the framework within which writers from--say--India, who have a long history of precolonial literature, wish to be viewed. <br />For instance, R. K. Narayan--one of the most popular and widely read of modern Indian writers--displays a remarkable indifference to the historical experience of colonialism, a fact which results in his being almost entirely ignored by postcolonial scholars. V. S. Naipaul is so fierce a critic of the postcolonial world despite his origins as a descendant of Indian indentured laborers in Trinidad that he is more often cited as an opponent than as an ally in the postcolonial struggle.<br />In fact, it is not uncommon for citizens of "postcolonial" countries to accuse Americans and Europeans of practicing a form of neocolonialism themselves in viewing their history through this particular lens. Postcolonial criticism could be compared to the tendency of Hollywood films set in such countries to focus on the problems of Americans and Europeans within those societies while marginalizing the views of their native peoples.<br />Fifth, many "postcolonial" authors do not share the general orientation of postcolonial scholars toward engaging in an ongoing critique of colonialism. Nigerian writers Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, for instance, after writing powerful indictments of the British in their country, turned to exposing the deeds of native-born dictators and corrupt officials within their independent homeland. Although postcolonial scholars would explain this corruption as a by-product of colonialism, such authors commonly have little interest in pursuing this train of thought.<br />Although there has been sporadic agitation in some African quarters for reparations for the slavery era, most writers of fiction, drama, and poetry see little point in continually rehashing the past to solve today's problems. It is striking how little modern fiction from formerly colonized nations highlights the colonial past. Non-fiction writers often point out that Hindu-Muslim conflicts in South Asia are in part the heritage of attempts by the British administration in India to play the two groups of against each other (not to mention the special role assigned to the Sikhs in the British army); yet Indian fiction about these conflicts rarely points to such colonial causes. A good example is Kushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan (1956) which deals directly with the partition of India from an almost exclusively Indian perspective.<br />Indeed, "postcolonial" writers often move to England or North America (because they have been exiled, or because they find a more receptive audience there, or simply in search of a more comfortable mode of living) and even sometimes--like Soyinka--call upon the governments of these "neocolonialist" nations to come to the aid of freedom movements seeking to overthrow native tyrants.<br />Sixth, "postcolonialism" as a term lends itself to very broad use. Australians and Canadians sometimes claim to live in postcolonial societies, but many would refuse them the label because their literature is dominated by European immigrants, and is therefore a literature of privilege rather than of protest. According to the usual postcolonial paradigm only literature written by native peoples in Canada and Australia would truly qualify.<br />Similarly, the label is usually denied to U.S. literature, though America's identity was formed in contradistinction to that of England, because the U.S. is usually viewed as the very epitome of a modern neo-colonial nation, imposing its values, economic pressures, and political interests on a wide range of weaker countries.<br />The Irish are often put forward as an instance of a postcolonial European people, and indeed many African writers have been inspired by Irish ones for that reason. Yet some of the more nationalist ones (like Yeats) tended toward distressingly conservative--even reactionary--politics, and James Joyce had the utmost contempt for Irish nationalism. It is not clear how many Irish authors would have accepted the term if they had known of it.<br />Although postcolonial theory generally confines itself to the past half-century, it can be argued that everyone has been colonized at some time or other. Five thousand years ago Sumer started the process by uniting formerly independent city-states, and Narmer similarly subjugated formerly independent Upper and Lower Egypt. Rushdie likes to point out that England itself is a postcolonial nation, having been conquered by Romans and Normans, among others.<br />Not only is the term "postcolonial" exceedingly fuzzy, it can also be argued that it is also often ineffective. A good deal of postcolonial debate has to do with rival claims to victimhood, with each side claiming the sympathies of right-thinking people because of their past sufferings. The conflicts between Bosnians and Serbs, Palestinians and Jews, Turks and Greeks, Hindu and Muslim Indians, and Catholic and Protestant Irish illustrate the problems with using historical suffering as justification for a political program. It is quite true that Europeans and Americans often arrogantly dismiss their own roles in creating the political messes of postcolonial nations around the world; but it is unclear how accusations against them promote the welfare of those nations. In addition, when they are made to feel guilty, countries--like individuals--are as likely to behave badly as they are to behave generously.<br />It may make American and European scholars feel better to disassociate themselves from the crimes of their ancestors (which are admittedly, enormously bloody and oppressive, and should be acknowledged and studied--see resources below), but people struggling for freedom in oppressed nations are more likely to draw inspiration from the quintessentially European Enlightenment concept of rights under natural law than they are to turn to postcolonial theory. Similarly, European capitalist market theory is far more attractive to most people struggling against poverty in these nations than are the varieties of socialism propounded by postcolonial theoreticians.<br />"Postcolonial" is also a troublesome term because it draws some very arbitrary lines. South African writers Athol Fugard and Nadine Gordimer are often excluded from postcolonial courses, although their works were powerful protests against apartheid and they have lived and worked far more in Africa than, say, Buchi Emicheta, who emigrated to England as a very young woman and has done all of her writing there--because they are white. A host of fine Indian writers is neglected simply because they do not write in English on the sensible grounds that India has a millennia-long tradition of writing which should not be arbitrarily linked to the British imperial episode.<br />Of those who write in English, Anita Desai is included, though she is half German. Ngugi wa Thiong'o is included even though he now writes primarily in Gikuyu. Bharati Mukherjee specifically rejects the label "Indian-American," though she is an immigrant from India, and Rushdie prefers to be thought of as a sort of multinational hybrid (though he has, on occasion, used the label "postcolonial" in his own writing). Hanif Kureishi is more English than Pakistani in his outlook, and many Caribbean-born writers living in England are now classed as "Black British." What determines when you are too acculturated to be counted as postcolonial: where you were born? how long you've lived abroad? your subject matter? These and similar questions are the object of constant debate.<br />In fact, postcolonial theoretician Homi Bhabha developed the term "hybridity" to capture the sense that many writers have of belonging to both cultures. More and more writers, like Rushdie, reject the older paradigm of "exile" which was meaningful to earlier generations of emigrants in favor of accepting their blend of cultures as a positive synthesis. This celebration of cultural blending considerably blurs the boundaries laid down by postcolonial theory.<br />In practice, postcolonial literary studies are often sharply divided along linguistic lines in a way which simply reinforces Eurocentric attitudes. Latin American postcolonial studies are seldom explored by those laboring in English departments. Francophone African literature is generally neglected by Anglophone African scholars. Because of these failures to cut across linguistic boundaries, the roles of England and France are exaggerated over those of the colonized regions.<br />It can even be asked whether the entire premise of postcolonial studies is valid: that examining these literatures can give voice to formerly suppressed peoples. This is the question asked by Gayatri Spivak in her famous essay, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" Using Antonio Gramsci's arcane label for oppressed people, she points out that anyone who has achieved enough literacy and sophistication to produce a widely-read piece of fiction is almost certainly by that very fact disqualified from speaking for the people he or she is supposed to represent. The "Subaltern Group" of Indian scholars has tried to claim the term to support their own analyses (a similar project exists among Latin American scholars), but the nagging question raised by Spivak remains. <br />It is notable that whenever writers from the postcolonial world like Soyinka, Derek Walcott, or Rushdie receive wide recognition they are denounced as unrepresentative and inferior to other, more obscure but more "legitimate" spokespeople. <br />This phenomenon is related to the question of "essentialism" which features so largely in contemporary political and literary theory. Usually the term is used negatively, to describe stereotypical ideas of--to take as an example my own ancestors--the Irish as drunken, irresponsible louts. However, protest movements built on self-esteem resort to essentialism in a positive sense, as in the many varieties of "black pride" movements which have emerged at various times, with the earliest perhaps being the concept of "négritude" developed by Caribbean and African writers living in Paris in the 1930s and 40s. However, each new attempt to create a positive group identity tends to be seen by at least some members of the group as restrictive, as a new form of oppressive essentialism. <br />Faced with the dilemma of wanting to make positive claims for certain ethnic groups or nationalities while simultaneously acknowledging individualism, some critics have put forward the concept of "strategic essentialism" in which one can speak in rather simplified forms of group identity for the purposes of struggle while debating within the group the finer shades of difference. <br />There are two major problems with this strategy, however. First, there are always dissenters within each group who speak out against the new corporate identity, and they are especially likely to be taken seriously by the very audiences targeted by strategic essentialism. Second, white conservatives have caught on to this strategy: they routinely denounce affirmative action, for instance, by quoting Martin Luther King, as if his only goal was "color blindness" rather than real economic and social equality. They snipe, fairly effectively, at any group which puts forward corporate claims for any ethnic group by calling them racist. Strategic essentialism envisions a world in which internal debates among oppressed people can be sealed off from public debates with oppressors. Such a world does not exist.<br />Similarly, "strategic postcolonialism" is likely to be a self-defeating strategy, since most writers on the subject publicly and endlessly debate the problems associated with the term. In addition, the label is too fuzzy to serve as a useful tool for long in any exchange of polemics. It lacks the sharp edge necessary to make it serve as a useful weapon. <br />However, those of us unwilling to adopt the label "postcolonial" are hard put to find an appropriate term for what we study. The old "Commonwealth literature" is obviously too confining and outdated as well as being extremely Eurocentric. "Anglophone literature" excludes the many rich literatures of Africa, for instance, written in European languages other than English, and taken in the literal sense, it does not distinguish between mainstream British and American writing and the material under discussion. "New literature written in English" (or "englishes" as some say) puts too much emphasis on newness (McKay is hardly new) and again excludes the non-English-speaking world. "Third-world" makes no sense since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Communist "second world." "Literature of developing nations" buys into an economic paradigm which most "postcolonial" scholars reject.<br />The more it is examined, the more the postcolonial sphere crumbles. Though Jamaican, Nigerian, and Indian writers have much to say to each other; it is not clear that they should be lumped together. We continue to use the term "postcolonial" as a pis aller, and to argue about it until something better comes along.<br />Conrad's image of Africa: Recovering African voices in Heart of Darkness <br />Peter Mwikisa University of Botswana <br />When Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness first appeared exactly a century ago, it was unlikely that the author, the publishers or the critics who showered it with accolades envisaged an African readership. Indeed among all the various themes it has pleased the critics to read in the novella, the subjectivity of the Africans is conspicuously absent. It was as if, the Africans, like the women were "out of it - should be out of it"(49). HYPERLINK "http://motspluriels.arts.uwa.edu.au/MP1300pmw.html" l "fn0" t "_blank" [1] However in recent years the novel has come increasingly under interrogation from the very people whose silence the author assumed and upon which the novel possibly depended for much of its moral and artistic integrity. Chinua Achebe, for instance, in an essay I shall return to in due course, inaugurating what Robert Kimbrough (xv) regards as a new moment in Conrad criticism, argues that Conrad's image of Africa, appropriated uncritically from Victorian England, nullifies the novella's liberal and humanitarian pretensions and compromises its artistic merit. My aim in this paper is to extend interrogation of dominant readings of Heart of Darkness beyond Achebe's recognition that racism underpins Conrad's image of Africa. I offer a reading of the novella that seeks to recuperate the African voices that are silenced in both dominant critical approaches to it as well as in the novella itself. Reading the novella from such a postcolonial perspective, I argue, enables us to see that in Heart of Darkness justice and humanitarian concerns for the victims of Europe's colonial expansion overseas are incidental themes. Its central concern, I contend, is to sound apocalyptic warnings about what might happen to European imperialist ambitions if its agents did not uphold certain virtues which Conrad considered essential to the enterprise. The novel is a delineation of the virtues that Europeans need to cultivate in order to justify extending their civilization and culture to other parts of the world. It is not an attack on colonialism and imperialism themselves. <br />Until Achebe's essay, critics generally seemed to collude, perhaps unwittingly, in preventing African voices from emerging in their reading of Heart of Darkness . Some critics do not see Heart of Darkness as a novel about Africa at all. To them Africa is merely the incidental setting in which Conrad depicts the Western ego as it disintegrates from isolation and loneliness. From the perspective of such critics Kurtz in Heart of Darkness is simply an embodiment of the weak idealism that is incapable of sustaining the ideals of European imperialism in the face of "the horror of tropical forests and loneliness among savages" (Russell 87). The image of Africa presented in the novella thus evokes, not a real place, but a phantasmagoria of an unexplored territory that serves as an apt metaphor of the unexplored innermost regions of the European soul. Others have argued that the novel specifically attacks Belgian atrocities in the Congo, or that it is a moral tract written in the context of the on-going debates on imperialism's so-called civilizing mission. The novel is praised for exposing imperialism as a mere pretexts for the vilest scramble for loot that has ever disfigured the history of human conscience and geographical exploration (Zins 115). Such views, of course, reflect non-European evaluations of the novel, which explains why there is such scant regard for the African characters in the novel. Africans are seen merely as objects of this debate and not subjects. <br />Even when the presence of the Africans is conceded, misreading of the novel nevertheless denies them any real voice or agency. It is hard to imagine, for example, in what sense Heart of Darkness could be seen as "a symbolic picture of inborn antagonisms of two races, the white and the black" (The Bookman , qtd in Haugh 239). This is an incomprehensible judgement considering that nowhere in the book do blacks pose an obvious threat to whites. All the threats that the Africans pose to Europeans in the novella are products of the white man's imagination, invented to justify his own aggression. The image of Africa that is figured in such a reading of the novel buttresses the fiction that violence against natives in the colonies is justified defense of civilized values. Equally difficult to see as rising from an accurate reading of the novel is Edward Garnett's view that Heart of Darkness is about the white "man's system seen from the black man's comprehension"(qtd in Haugh 239). Marlow, nowhere even pretends to speak for Africans and of course the Africans themselves do not speak in the novel. It is no clear, therefore, how the black man's comprehension is articulated in the novel. <br />Heart of Darkness , therefore, enacts a trial in which the white man qua Kurtz is the criminal, the prosecutor, and the judge. Indeed what constitutes Kurtz's triumph in Marlow's eyes is precisely his having retained the ability to carry out these three roles simultaneously. "He had judged. The horror! He was a remarkable man."(69). Africans are not called in even as witnesses, let alone as judges. The image of Africa Conrad deploys to provide a backdrop to the drama of Kurtz's moral dissolution and ultimate redemption is not Conrad's own invention, of course. As Achebe points out, "it was and is the dominant image of Africa in the Western imagination" (Achebe 261). Its function, he argues, seems to be to allay the West's anxieties about its own civilization by providing it with a foil against which its own superior virtues can be made manifest. Thus Achebe: "Africa is to Europe as the picture is to Dorian Grey - a carrier onto whom the master unloads his physical and moral deformities so that he may go forward, erect and immaculate (Achebe 261). As I have hinted above and as I shall try to show in due course, there is also an apocalyptic function in Conrad's image of Africa). Needless to say, it is an image of Africa that could not bear much resemblance to what the Africans themselves think, since they could hardly be expected to have participated in the construction of an image of themselves that dehumanized and depersonalized them. <br />African critics too were to some extent implicated in sustaining the code of silence that seems to have protected Heart of Darkness from charges of racism for over three quarters of a century until Achebe finally drew attention to the King's absent clothes. In general, they accepted too readily European assurances that Heart of Darkness was, in the words of one critic, "exceptional in its condemnation of colonialism and in its humane attitude towards the African victims of imperialism." (Zins 145). They were prepared to accept Conrad in much the same way as they accepted other white liberal philanthropists, like Albert Schweitzer, about whom the Sierra Leonean, Davidson Nicol, wrote in 1964: <br />His importance to Africa lies in the fact that because of his great European reputation his presence in Africa drew the attention of the Western world to the enormous needs for medical care and development in Africa (Nicol 23). <br />Even as radical a writer as he is Ngugi is prepared to overlook the racism in Heart of Darkness for the sake of the anti-imperialist sentiment with which the novel disturbs the conscience of the Western world. The novel's moral indignation, Ngugi explains, rises to the level of a severe critique of the colonialism and even of the racism that underlay all its historical variations from ancient times to the present. And for the sake of this moral indignation Ngugi is prepared to put up with Heart of Darkness despite his own admission that "the narrative itself was rooted in the assumption of the inherent savagery of Africa and the Africans that even the best minds and hearts of Europe were in danger of being contaminated." (Ngugi 13). <br />Achebe's strictures against the racist conduct of narrative in Heart of Darkness , first published in a 1974 lecture at the University of Massachusetts, went against the grain of entrenched critical positions on Conrad even among Africans and people one would have expected to be sympathetic to it. Conrad, Achebe pointedly declared, was a thoroughgoing racist, and this detracted from his novella's literary merit. The question, he argues, "is whether a novel which celebrates this dehumanization, which depersonalizes a portion of the human race, can be called a great work of art. My answer is: No, it can not" (Achebe 257). It is therefore little surprising that Achebe's remarks drew some of his severest detractors from critics one would have expected to have African sympathies. Henryk Zins, a pole who taught for many years in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana, defends Conrad against Achebe thus: <br />He is (...) definitely doing an injustice to Conrad when writing about his alleged racism and antipathy to black people, which makes no sense when we remember Conrad's words full of sympathy and pity about the enslavement of Africans in the Congo (Zins, 122).<br />Zins further accuses Achebe of committing the sin of anachronism by demanding from Conrad our contemporary knowledge and experience (Zins, 122). Zins is himself guilty of a selective reading of both Conrad and Achebe, because he does not refute any of the specific charges that Achebe levels against Conrad. To argue that Conrad's racist imagery should be overlooked because Conrad merely used attitudes and images which were conventional in his day and does not reflect his own antipathy towards Africans is not to refute the charge of recycling racist stereotypes that Achebe lays against Conrad. <br />Similarly Charles Sarvan and Wilson Harris patronizingly assume that Achebe failed to grasp Conrad's real intention in Heart of Darkness . Sarvan, the less severe of the two detractors, thinks that Achebe is rather rash in identifying Conrad with Marlow, his narrator. Particularly pernicious is Harris Wilson's conclusion that precisely because he is an African, Achebe may have had difficulties appreciating the sophistication of Conrad's vision, which requires that Kurtz be seen as a symbolic expression of the danger of idealism being used to cover up and legitimate tyranny. The point that Achebe makes in his lecture and which his detractors do not seem to appreciate sufficiently, of course, is that Conrad does make all these humanitarian and liberal claims. His point is that in doing so Conrad relies on stereotypes that dehumanize and insult Africans. The problem then becomes how to endorse the liberal ideals in his work without reinforcing at the same time the prejudices that its stereotypes recycle. It is my contention in this paper that the two cannot be separated and that to endorse the book on grounds of its humanitarian pretensions is at the same time to recycle stereotypes that reinforce racist reinventions of Africa. <br />The young journalists on their first tour of duty to Africa, be it in Somalia, Liberia, South Africa or the Democratic Republic of Congo still look at Africa, not only as the Dark Continent, but continue the practice of seeing Africans as Conrad's Marlow sees them - " they howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces and are not quite human" (37). It would not be surprising at all if at his or her first assignment to Africa each intrepid reporter and diplomats to various parts of Africa were given a copy of Heart of Darkness as part of their orientation for the tasks ahead of them. Although the novella is still widely read as a critique of imperialist barbarism evident even in-today's expansion of finance capital in search of global markets, it is on account of its image of Africa that it stakes its claim to more or less permanent tenure in the Western literary canon. It seems as if the more the West changes the more its view of Africa remains the same. It is largely Conrad's image of Africa that we encounter forming the backdrop to news dispatches, television footage, films and even in new novels about Africa. It is an image of a continent peopled by archetypal figures: howling savages, faithful servants, sinister half-breeds, white hunters and gallant colonial officials or their modern counterparts such as aid-workers, animal documentary film makers etc. <br />To argue, as I have done above, that Heart of Darkness peddles an image of Africa that is dominant in European thinking about Africa is not, of course, to suggest that his is the only image of Africa operative in Europe. It is not either to suggest that all Europeans necessarily share this view of the continent. On the contrary, it seems to be a view of the continent that some contemporary Europeans, consciously at any rate (for what happens at the subconscious level may be another matter altogether), perceive as "a fantasy of a continent and a people that never were and could never be" (Hammond and Jablow 14), from which they are anxious to dissociate themselves. However as Hammond and Jablow have pointed out, Conrad like Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) and Sir Rider Haggard (author of King Solomon's Mines ) is part of a literary tradition which is still very powerful to-day and continues to recycle the same fantasy about Africa. <br />With a few exceptions, no matter how different in style, form, or content the books - and naturally the films based upon them - present the same fantasy of Africa. With remarkable consistency the fantasy is expressed through the same idioms and figures of speech (Hammond and Jablow 14).<br />Reference has been made above to the fact that there are some readers, among Africans, that are prepared to tolerate Conrad's racist imagery as a small price to pay for the moral blows he strikes on behalf of anti-imperialism and humanitarianism. A variation on this argument is one that takes this racist imagery simply as rhetorical devices, a mere manner or style of writing about Africa. The view adopted in this paper is that through persistent reiteration these rhetorical devices have become the substance of thinking and talking about Africa and that they severely compromise the merit of the works in which they are used. <br />In book after book about Africa identical images appear expressing similar attitudes and concepts, often similarly phrased. Literary license allows every author to depict Africa in much the same way as every other author. Such conformity can not be a result of chance. It clearly indicates a governing literary tradition (Ibid. 14).<br />It is a tradition, one might add, in which although the number of bad writers, like Edgar Rice Burrouhgs, exceeds the number of so-called good writers, like Conrad, one can well understand an African like Achebe rejecting such a distinction because the better writers only handle the dehumanizing and depersonalizing images with greater skill and subtlety. All conform to the same tradition. <br />The question of what function a negative image of Africa performs in the European imagination has been answered in a variety of ways. Hammond and Jablow, talking about British imaginations of Africa specifically, put it to ethnocentrism: <br />The British view of Africa appears to be, at best, quite absurd, and at worst, the results of malice and cynicism. Yet the British have been neither malicious nor cynical; they have merely been ethnocentric. The absurdity lies in the nature of ethnocentrism itself (Ibid. 16). <br />They define ethnocentrism as a way of thinking in which all perception is made through the lenses of ones own system of values and beliefs. Since an ethnocentric point of view admits only ones own way of thinking as valid, cultures that differ from ones own are perceived as negations of that single set of values. It produces myths of aliens that often seem to be antagonistic, even if hostility was not intended. <br />While it seems reasonable to posit ethnocentrism as the instinct behind the human habit of negatively stereotyping groups other than one's own, the explanation seems too general to account for the specific ways in which Africa is stereotyped in Conrad and in the tradition that he represents. In other words, it is necessary to understand why ethnocentrism stereotypes different groups of people, not uniformly, but differently. What we need to account for is why certain attributes and not others are projected onto one group of aliens and not another. <br />Chinua Achebe, in a view I have alluded to earlier on in the paper, thinks that Europe needs a negative image of Africa to set up as foil against which its own civilized virtues can be made manifest. From his perspective Europe is the African's burden because Europe off-loads all its imperfections on Africa. Ngugi thinks that an image of a primitive and savage Africa is vital to European self-imagination as a place of inevitable physical and moral corruption that must be avoided by all means. In short, for Ngugi, the image of Africa in Conrad serves the function of frightening Europeans into pretending that Africa does not exist except as a dangerous no go area. To accept its reality or even to think about it is to bring upon oneself all manner of physical and moral contamination. Ngugi and Achebe surely suggest that the projection of negative qualities on Africa that we see exemplified in Heart of Darkness is not random, but reflect a deep-seated need among Europeans. To Achebe and Ngugi it is an image of Africa the West clings to tenaciously, for the simple reason that to-day, as in Conrad's day, the Western world today still needs a place to set up as its antithesis - to be both proof of its own advancement and a warning against the dangers of excursions into cultures beyond ones own. Even if Africa did not exist it would have to be invented. The fragile idealism, such as that embodied by Kurtz's Intended, is desperate for just such an image of Africa to serve both as a foil against which the virtues upon which it is based will glow brightly, and as a bogey to prevent any one putting these virtues to the test by going to places where they may be challenged. <br />Conrad's image of Africa has a further function in the Western imagination in addition to the two that Achebe and Ngugi suggest. It is usual in Conrad criticism to encounter tributes to his philanthropy (justice and human rights for the victims of colonial subjugation and commercial exploitation). When Marlow sees the pathetically suffering Africans at the trading station on the Congo, he is outraged. It is therefore possible to argue that Conrad's image of Africa is intended to appeal to humanitarian idealism in Europe which sets up an image of Africa as an object of its civilizing mission. However, it is important to note also that what is uppermost in Marlow's mind when he encounters the misery of the Africans along the Congo is not what he can do to help them, but how their suffering, like the pointless tasks, the broken pieces of equipment and other parodies of progress that he sees are products of inefficiency. Marlow's concern, really is not with the humanitarian aspect of African suffering, but the fact that it is evidence of the inefficiency as one of the qualities that detracts from the whitemen's fitness to carry out the civilizing mission. The Africans are simply neglected bits of equipment like the scrap iron and other items originally imported for the great work on progress in Africa. If Heart of Darkness is a moral tract on colonialism, what is certain is that Conrad does not urge his countrymen to abandon it. Rather he urges them towards higher standards of moral virtue, namely efficiency and restraint, which alone make them fit emissaries of the light. In other words Africa serves as a setting upon which to demonstrate an apocalyptic warning against the danger Europe faces of losing its empires if its agents do not uphold the virtues upon which empire building depends. Humanitarianism and justice for the Africans are not among those virtues. <br />J. Hillis Miller reads Heart of Darkness and its image of Africa in almost the same apocalyptic terms suggested above (Miller, 209-221) Heart of Darkness is perhaps explicitly apocalyptic, he suggests, in announcing the imminent end of Western civilization or of Western imperialism, and the possibility of the reversal of idealism into savagery. In order to appreciate J. Hillis Millers point we have to remember that then colonialism and imperialism were not instantly objectionable phenomena that they are to-day. They were then seen as the taking of the benefits of progress to backward parts of the world. The enterprise itself was seen as noble, what endangered Western civilization were the "unsound methods" with which it was carried out. It is these methods which threatened a break up of Western civilization, anxieties about which are evident in T. S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" (1925) W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming" (1919) and which the outbreak of WW1 seemed to validate. My divergence with Miller consists in the fact that he sees Heart of Darkness as suggesting that Africa is both a symbol of, and the source of the darkness that threatens to engulf Europe. He subscribes to the idea that Heart of darkness expresses the fear that European civilization is vulnerable to corruption if it admits the validity of the validity of the values of other cultures. My own view is that read from a postcolonial perspective it is also possible to see a subliminal reversal of these terms so that Europe itself is the muddy "heart of darkness", of which Kurtz is only a splutter that lands in Africa. Like E. M. Forster's A Passage to India , Conrad's Heart of Darkness thus comes to expresses an unacknowledged early stirring among Europeans of the suspicion that the civilization that they were ramming down other people's throats, and in the interest of which they were razing other people's civilizations, may have been fundamentally flawed. <br />Two moments in Heart of Darkness can be re-read from a postcolonial perspective to show how they point to the hollowness or the fundamental flaws in Western civilization upon which Conrad's apocalyptic anxieties about it are based. The first moment occurs towards the end of Marlow's mission in Africa, when having found Kurtz and having thwarted his subsequent attempt to escape to rejoin his African lover; Marlow becomes the sole witness to his dying moment. Marlow hears Kurtz cry out twice in "a cry that was no more than a breath": <br />The horror! The horror! (68) <br />What fizzles out with these barely whispered words is not just Kurtz's magnificent eloquence and the adventure of his soul on earth, but also something that Kurtz had stood for in Marlow's mind. Marlow calls it "a belief in mankind"(66). That something dies inside Marlow with Kurtz's death is attested to by the fact that when Kurtz is buried as "something in a muddy hole", Marlow adds, "they very nearly buried me" (69). <br />Kurtz is an enigma. We are at first liable to judge him in terms of the extent to which he seemed to have used violence, deceit and other despicable methods, instead of legitimate trade to acquire the ivory that makes him the outstanding agent he is. In this he betrayed the ideals of the civilizing mission with which he set out from Europe. However, Marlow convinces us that in this, Kurtz is no different from the other white men, who only lacked the courage to do the same. So the flaw in Western civilization is not greed per se. The flaw seems to be the lack of "restraint", not in the face of loot, but in the face of the seduction of cultures other than one's own. <br />Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts, there was something wanting in him - some small matter which when the pressing need arose could not be found under his magnificent eloquence (57).<br />It is not necessary, therefore, to go into speculations about what exactly Kurtz had done that made him the degraded monster that he is made out to be in the novel. Suffice it to stress that Marlow's chronicle of charges against Kurtz is based in hearsay and malicious gossip of envious competitors. Marlow, a green horn, is in no position to assess these charges critically. His depiction of Kurtz and the revulsion he feels at what he concludes are evidence of Kurtz's depravity are no more than a knee-jerk reaction, which ethnocentric people exhibit when one of their member embraces an alien culture or even dares to respect it. The vilification of Mr. Fielding in A Passage to India is a case in point too. To a postcolonial reader it seems possible to argue that even though Conrad through Marlow does not permit himself the thought, Kurtz's fall from grace may well suggest that ethnocentrism is the fatal flaw against which Europe must guard. <br />The second apocalyptic moment in Heart of Darkness is in the novella's final scene. A year after his return to Europe Marlow finally summons the strength and courage to visit Kurtz's Intended She seems to be the only reason why Marlow did not die with Kurtz. Kurtz had entrusted him with some letters to deliver to her, "for the furthering of my ideas"(69) he had said. From the way Kurtz had talked about her, Marlow found cause to believe that she would restore the "belief in mankind," which had withered in him under Kurtz's "magnificent eloquence"(66). He finds the woman still mourning after a year and "she seemed as though she would remember and mourn forever"(73). Although touched by this fidelity to her departed lover, Marlow is troubled by a tinge of sham and sentimentality in it. <br />She certainly comes across as a latter day Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night who: <br />But like a cloistress she will veiled walk, And water once a day her chamber roundWith eye-offending brine; all this to seasonA brother's dead love, which she would keep freshAnd lasting in her sad remembrance (1.1.26-33). <br />The intended, we are told, "carried her sorrowful head as if she was proud of that sorrow" (75). <br />Although she believes that she alone knew how mourn Kurtz "as he deserves" (75) Marlow has seen through her weak and sentimental idealism and come to the conclusion that hers was, in fact, a travesty of the kind of remembrance Kurtz deserved. Marlow arrives at this conclusion almost as soon as he sees the Intended in her drawing room. Overhung with an ossifying pall of a well-preserved grief, her lofty drawing room is uncannily reminiscent of Mrs Havisham's "pretty large dressing room"(Dickens 85), which was encrusted with the fossilized sadness of a broken romance long in the past. The affinity between Dicken's scene and Conrad's are so striking that it would not be at all surprising if Conrad had intended to fill Marlow with the same dread and revulsion towards the Intended that Pip feels towards Mrs Havisham. To match Dickens's "waxwork and skeleton that seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me" (Dickens 87) that Havisham appears to be to Pip, Marlow describes the Intended thus: <br />This fair hair, this pale visage, this pure brow, seemed surrounded by an ashy halo from which the dark eyes looked out at me (.73).<br />The pall of death that seems to emanate from both women is due to the fact that everything in their respective rooms had stopped, like the watch in Mrs Havisham's dressing room, in the interest of remaining faithful to the memory of a pain or grief which alone seemed to give their lives meaning. It is no surprise at all that like Pip who lies in order to preserve Mrs Havisham's sentimental image of herself as a "woman who has never seen the sun since you were born" (Dickens 88), Marlow lies to Kurtz's Intended in order to preserve her sentimental idealism, and tells her that her name was the last word he spoke just before he died. The Intended had only been at it for a year, but she is surely a latter day Mrs Havisham determined to "remember and mourn for ever"(73). <br />The lie that Marlow utters in lieu of the justice that he had set out to do Kurtz in the encounter with his Intended is Marlow's own version of the view that he alone knew how to mourn Kurtz as he deserves" (75). It would appear Marlow had expected, or at any rate hoped, to find in the Intended one other human being who, like himself, could peer into the impenetrable darkness, into the horror that was Kurtz, and understand that "The Horror!" he repeats with his dying breath made him triumphant against the degradation to which he had succumbed. Instead he finds in her an embodiment of a weak idealism that could not withstand any view of Kurtz that even slightly deviated from its own. If Heart of Darkness is an apocalyptic novel, it is surely, at least in part, because it warns against the naïve, sentimental devotion to a weak idealism, embodied in the Intended's fossilized image of an uncorrupted Kurtz. Such naive idealism, Conrad seems to warn, is responsible for lack of the restraint, the greed and the inefficiently which compromise Europe's fitness to lead a civilizing mission, as is the stupid complacence of the rest of the inhabitants of the "sepulchral city." <br />Like Pip in Great Expectations , who finds the pall of death exuded by Mrs Havisham's frozen world sickening, Marlow is revolted by the similar effect that Kurtz's Intended has on him. <br />I asked myself what I was doing there, with a sensation of panic in my heart as though I had blundered in a place of cruel and absurd mysteries (73)<br />And when in the course of the interview Marlow explains that with each word she spoke, the world was growing darker, Conrad leaves us in no doubt that the "Heart of Darkness" is not really in Africa; that it does not consist so much of the evil practices of the white colonizers in Africa, but of the stupid and naïve idealism which flourishes in Europe, blissfully unaware of its responsibility for what happens in Africa in its name. In this sense the darkness is in Europe and its heart is the Intended. Note how her forehead, which is the centre of the deepening darkness of her room, is smooth and white, the colour of Kurtz's skull, and also the colour of ivory which sparks the expanding gloom of an inverted civilizing mission. <br />The apocalyptic epiphanies that Conrad discloses in the two encounters that Marlow has first with the dying Kurtz and later with his Intended depend on precisely the image of Africa that Conrad recycles in Heart of Darkness . In the first case, Kurtz's "hollowness" or lack of restraint would have been impossible to enact convincingly without the myth of a mysterious land, among whose simple inhabitants Kurtz is taken for a God, and is therefore free to exercise restraint and choose to be a mere mortal or opt to throw restraint to the wind and choose to be a god. The horror is that he chooses the latter. In the second case, the lustre of the Intendend's idealism, which seems to impress Marlow so immensely when he first arrives at her home that it seems to survive the pall of death hanging over the "sepulchard city" depends on the existence of African depravity at its antithesis. African primitivity becomes an indispensable foil to this idealism, which needs Africa, both, as an object of its civilizing mission as well as a testing ground for its resilience. <br />Frances Coppola's 1986 film Apocalypse Now recycles the same apocalyptic anxieties and the same images of Africa for 1980's Western audiences. I do not believe there are many African or Vietnamese viewers who would speak as glowingly of the film as do J. Hillis Miller, E.N. Dorral or Mike Wilmington to name but three among the Western critics who think highly of the film. Like Conrad's Heart of Darkness upon which it is based, Apocalypse Now recycles comforting images Africa which suggest that despite their exploitation and victimisation Africans/Vietnamese are too simple-minded and backward to pose any real threat of a fight back. against Europeans who kill them as indiscriminately as do Conrad's Pilgrims. The helmsman in Coppola's film is an African American, but the film makes him the same sort of "reclaimed specimen" that Conrad's helmsman was in the Congo all those decades ago. The sight of natives shrieking in terror and melting into the jungle because of the blast of a steamboat's whistle is rather hard to take in 1986. Similarly, the shower of arrows raining on Captain Willard's steamboat, unlikely even in Conrad' time, is plainly ridiculous, for 1986, especially after the napalm, the helicopter raids and the bazookas of the opening parts of the film. Of course as in Conrad's novel the natives do not speak in Apocalypse Now . No more than the river and the jungle, they are merely part of the perennially mute, chaotic, brooding immensity that the West, for the sake of its own sanity, must not disturb. The fiction of the African's silence in Coppolla's film is the equivalent of the lie that Pip tells Mrs Havisham, and with which Marlow lays Kurtz's ghost to rest before his Intended. <br />In Conrad's and Coppola's apocalyptic vision of western civilization, the metropole understands itself as determining the periphery in the emanating glow of its civilizing mission. From this point of view of this apocalyptic vision "the Heart of Darkness" does not consist of the backwardness, barbarism and ignorance themselves which the West gives itself the noble mission to banish from the face of the continent, but as I have pointed out earlier on this paper, of the stupid complacency and weak idealism in Europe which lead to the betrayal of the mission. <br />The vision is dependent upon a peculiar form of blindness to what Africa really is; and a deafness to what Africa is saying. Conrad and Coppola are blind to the ways in which Africa and the Africans continually interrogate their definition and implementation of the enterprise of progress. As pointed out above, in both works the natives hardly speak. The image of Africa that Europe has worked with during the past hundred years or so is amazingly insulated from what is actually happening in Africa and what the Africans themselves think. It is preserved, much like Mrs Havisham's and The Intended's sentimental griefs, by lies. <br />It is possible that the need to preserve that image is at the heart of the fact that some Western readers find Chinua Achebe's attack on the novel as racist both shocking and hard to take. When Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness , he did not foresee an African readership. Although he may have written from the best liberal and humanitarian intentions, he was unaware that the stereotypes and conventional attitudes about Africa that he took for granted would one day, be confronted by a readership that would not instantly recognize itself in them. It would probably have shocked Conrad to hear that these images that he took for granted as a natural way of talking about Africa may be "the Heart of Darkness." They are the source of the unexamined idealism upon which the civilizing mission was based and the seeds from which its betrayal among its agents in Africa inevitably grew. Achebe was simply pointing Heart of Darkness towards a long overdue dialogue with people it projects as Europe's "others." <br />However, a postcolonial interrogation of Heart of Darkness need not be restricted to pointing out the racist stereotypes and assumptions, which underpin its image of Africa. One could also try to recuperate the narratives that Conrad suppresses. I shall conclude this paper by considering the implications of two such narratives. The first is that of Marlow's helmsman. <br />The helmsman, it will be recalled when still alive arouses only contempt in Marlow. He, like the Captain's insolent "boy" and the boilermaker, is all that Europe has to show for its civilizing work in Africa. "He steered with no end of swagger while you were by", Marlow tells us, "but if he lost sight of you he became instantly prey of an abject funk and would let that cripple of a steam-boat get the upper hand of him in a minute" (.45). When he dies from an arrow shot from some bushes on the riverbank, Marlow blames it on the "poor fools" lack of restraint. <br />Poor fool! He had no restraint, no restraint - just like Kurtz (51). <br />However, throughout Marlow struggles to suppress rumbling intimations of kinship to the blackman. At one point he suggests that Kurtz may not have been worth the life of the helmsman which was the cost of finding him. What is striking, of course, is that Marlow suppresses his human feelings of grief and loss at the helmsman's death. Instead he talks of his anxieties about whether or not he would find Kurtz still alive. It is as if he were determined not to see the dead man. He suppresses an imminent eruption of kindred feelings for the black man under a crust of apparently digressive and unrelated talk about Kurtz. But the strategy fails and he admits: <br />The intimate profundity of that look he gave me when he received his hurt remains to this day in my memory - like a claim of distant kinship affirmed in a supreme moment (51).<br />It is only after the unspoken communication of "the look" from the dead man that Marlow tears his mind away from fears about Kurtz mortality and recognizes the grief that he has so far suppressed at the helmsman's death. He conducts a funeral or rather mourns for the helmsman like he does later for Kurtz because he was the only one who knew how to mourn them both the ways they deserved. The Pilgrims, in a show of sentimental and sham respect for the dead, are shocked that Marlow seems to peremptorily tip him over board. <br />Earlier on in the episode the helmsman's gaze is described as an inquiring glance : <br />I declare it looked as though he would presently put to us some question in an understandable language, but he died without uttering a sound (47).<br />To Marlow, the helmsman's lack of restraint is simply a marker of the depravity to which Kurtz hand descended. This is why even the expression of his face at the moment of death is almost identical to that on Kurtz's face when he in turn dies. <br />He frowned heavily and that frown gave to his black death mask an inconceivable, sombre, brooding and menacing expression (47).<br />In Marlow's mind, as well as in the story as a whole, the questioning gaze, the interrogating gaze that the colonial subject casts fades swiftly into "vacant glassiness" (47). In Coppola's film, the helmsman, a ventriloquist's dummy, who articulates the hate that white men imagine blacks must feel for them, tries with his dying breath to kill Captain Willard, but dies before he can be a real danger to a triumphant imperial narrator. <br />If the helmsman is in some ways Kurtz's counterpart as I suggest above, Kurtz's African lover is Marlow's mirror image. She is his doppelganger. Like Marlow she struggles for the possession of Kurtz. Like Marlow she most certainly has peered into the impenetrable darkness that was Kurtz and understood it. When Marlow talks of Kurtz's Intended being out of it, he really means that the struggle to reclaim Kurtz's soul from his African lover was not for the Intended but for himself. <br />Throughout the scenes that depict Marlow's capture of Kurtz from his African hosts the African woman is described as a silent gorgeous figure - "a wild and gorgeous apparition of a woman" (60). The emphasis is always on her silence and her gaze, which seem to pose questions that neither Marlow nor any of his fellow whites are prepared to acknowledge, let alone try to answer. <br />When she comes to the steamer in which, to her, her lover is held captive and faces them, Marlow can only allow himself half formed thoughts of the possibility that this may be after all a lover who wants to know why and where her lover is being taken, obviously against his and her own wishes. <br />Her face had a tragic and fierce aspect of wild sorrow and of dumb pain mingled with some struggling, half-shaped resolve (60).<br />What intrudes to overwhelm everything in Marlow's mind is the imaginary danger that she poses. However, as we have seen already, throughout the novel, no African poses any real danger to white people. So the aura of evil and threat that shrouds Kurtz's African Intended is imaginary, invoked in order to enhance the impression of the intrepidity of Marlow's mission. <br />She was superb, wild eyed and magnificent; there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate progress. (60).<br />Examining Heart of Darkness from the point of view of its suppressed narratives such as those of the helmsman and Kurtz's African mistress enables us to see how the novel contributes to the ethnocentrism that pretends that other cultures have nothing to contribute to human development and with which it is not worthwhile engaging in dialogue. From the point of view of such ethnocentrism, civilization means the spread of ones own values to the rest of the world that does not interrogate them. Kurtz's redemptive self-judgment in "The horror! The horror!" suggests that colonizing Europe's motives and actions are not subject to interrogation and judgement from the point of view of the colonized subjects but only from its own. The Captain's overfed boy's announcement "Mistah Kurtz - he dead!"(69) is not so much a judgement passed on Kurtz's adventures in Africa, but a specimen of the spoilt and deformed natives that humanitarianism and kindness towards Africans spawns. In any case, one wishes the boy had kept a diary. <br />Recuperating the voices of the Africans in Heart of Darkness in the way I suggest in this paper, it means that we can which judge Kurtz from another point of view besides the official Eurocentric one provided by Marlow. We can judge him from the point of view of the people that were his hosts. We certainly do not have to share the horror that his fellow whites feel at his having turned his back on their "civilization." We are also wont to be just a little wary of accepting notions of Kurtz's wickedness based on the accounts of people who were more outraged at the fact that he saw through their pretending, greedy motives than by what he did to or for the natives. <br />Towards the end of his life, virtual prisoner in Marlow's ship, Kurtz tells Marlow defiantly: <br />You are interrupting my plans now. Sick. Sick. Not so sick as you would like to believe. Never mind. I'll carry my ideas out yet - I will return. I'll show you what can be done. You with your little peddling notions - you are interfering with me. I will return I... (.61).<br />Marlow explains that Kurtz was merely expressing his lusts for which he found gratification among the Africans. However, since what Kurtz actually does for which he is being demonized is never really shown, we must leave open the possibility that Kurtz's crime was no more than "going native." Going native, of course, should be understood here in the sense of abandoning the original ethnocentric ideal of exterminating the Africans as the brutes. It means having arrived at the recognition that the brutes that needed extermination were the white imperialists themselves whose "little peddling notions" see progress as ramming their own cultures down the throats of other people - without talking to them to hear what they think of being "civilized." Kurtz may well need re-interpretation not as the weak idealist who disintegrates in the jungle, but as Europe's vilification of the true idealism that transgresses ethnocentric boundaries and dares to accept the validity of the value systems of other cultures. He challenges imperialism's subjugating of the rest of the world under its own subordinating gaze (Pratt 34). I have earlier referred in passing to Kurtz's African lover as his "African Intended." The point I mean to suggest is that if the Intended is understood, not only as Kurtz's fiancee, but also as his intentions in Africa, then it is possible that Kurtz has reinterpreted his civilizing mission. He no longer sees it as the ramming of Western values down the throats of other people. It is for this attitude that Kurtz is demonized. Marlow's account presents an apocalyptic vision of Europe being corrupted by Africa, which is valid, only because he has ignored the voice s of the Africans whom he meets Africa. Recuperating their voices the way suggested in this paper opens to a reading that renders Heart of Darkness the great lost opportunity to depict dialogue between Africa and Europe at a crucial moment in the development of both continents. <br />