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Postcolonial Studies, Feminism, Poststructuralism Literature in English III Mariel Amez
POSTCOLONIALISM <ul><li>new writing in English? </li></ul><ul><li>world fiction? </li></ul><ul><li>international or transc...
POSTCOLONIALISM <ul><li>Postcolonial studies/ theory: Reading </li></ul><ul><li>vs </li></ul><ul><li>Postcolonial literatu...
<ul><li>Colonial literature :  concerned with colonial perceptions and experience,   written by metropolitans, creoles and...
Colonialist literature <ul><li>Eurocentric discourse   that assumed the normality and preeminence of everything &quot;occi...
Postcolonial literature <ul><li>Counter-narrative in which the colonial cultures fight their way back into a world history...
Colonialist and Postcolonial literature <ul><li>did not simply  articulate  colonial or nationalist preoccupations;  </li>...
Colonialist vs Postcolonial literature <ul><li>A valid dichotomy? </li></ul><ul><li>An overgeneralisation?   </li></ul><ul...
Otherness    Difference <ul><li>Marginalised </li></ul><ul><li>Disempowered </li></ul><ul><li>Robbed of their voice and id...
<ul><li>Chapter 1 “Imperialism and Textuality” in  Boehmer, Elleke.  Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. Migrant Metapho...
How was the  colonized other  characterized?   <ul><li>in need of civilization  </li></ul><ul><li>savages lacking the powe...
Representations   of white men <ul><li>hard and careful workers  </li></ul><ul><li>sensible, rational </li></ul><ul><li>ca...
Purposes of Othering <ul><li>construct superiority  of  the West  </li></ul><ul><li>justify the dispossession of  natives ...
“ Mainstream realist novels could be  of  imperial domination even if they were not  about  it”.   <ul><li>a commodity (im...
Which “forms of self-validation” of the Empire in the 19th century are mentioned? <ul><li>ideologies of moral, cultural, a...
<ul><li>Chapter 2 “Colonialist Concerns” (provided on paper) from  Boehmer, Elleke.  Colonial and Postcolonial Literature....
What is the attitude towards other cultures in colonialist texts?   <ul><li>sources of contamination: infectious and bewit...
What is the “colonial gaze”? <ul><li>gaze </li></ul><ul><li>to look at someone or something for a long time, giving it all...
What is the “colonial gaze”? <ul><li>gaze </li></ul><ul><li>psychological relationship of power </li></ul><ul><li>gazer: s...
What is the “colonial gaze”? <ul><li>normative gaze </li></ul><ul><li>Eurocentric racial identity: lens to view and constr...
What is the “colonial gaze”? <ul><li>Commanding perspective assumed by the European in the text   </li></ul><ul><li>high v...
How is the white hero characterised in colonialist texts?   <ul><li>youth and virility </li></ul><ul><li>model of Christia...
How are women characterised in colonialist texts? <ul><li>seductive distraction or harmful presence </li></ul><ul><li>unma...
How is the colonised characterised in colonialist texts? <ul><li>fossilised survival of earlier evolutionary stages   </li...
How are the colonised countries   characterised in colonialist texts? <ul><li>vast and shapeless </li></ul><ul><li>savage ...
<ul><li>Frantz Fanon  (1925 – 1961) – Martinique </li></ul><ul><li>Black Skin, White Masks  (1952)  </li></ul><ul><li>The ...
<ul><li>Frantz Fanon  (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speaking French means accepting the collective consciousness of the F...
<ul><li>Edward Said  (1935-2003) – Jerusalem </li></ul><ul><li>Orientalism  (1978)  </li></ul><ul><li>Culture and Imperial...
<ul><li>Edward Said  (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The European invention of the fiction of the Orient and the Orientals ...
<ul><li>Edward Said  (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By constructing the ‘Orient’ as culturally static, eternally uniform a...
<ul><li>Binary oppositions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The West: dynamic, rational, peaceful, liberal, logical, capable of holdi...
<ul><li>Homi K. Bhabha  (b. 1949) – India </li></ul><ul><li>Nation and Narration  (1990)  </li></ul><ul><li>The Location o...
<ul><li>Homi K. Bhabha  (cont’d.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Criticises the supposedly homogenous, innate, and historically con...
<ul><li>Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak </li></ul><ul><li>(b. 1942) – India </li></ul><ul><li>In Other Worlds  (1988)  </li></u...
<ul><ul><li>Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak  (cont’d) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Criticises European literary and philosophical...
<ul><ul><ul><li>Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak  (cont’d) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Postcolonial theory focuses too m...
Postcolonial literature <ul><li>Writing from the Empire (before political independence) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>white settle...
Postcolonial literature <ul><li>Writing after Independence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cancelling colonial stereotypes </li></ul...
Postcolonial literature <ul><li>Genres </li></ul><ul><li>Themes  or  Motifs </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies </li></ul>
Postcolonial literature: Strategies <ul><li>Appropriation </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous myth </li></ul><ul><li>Language </l...
Feminism <ul><li>First wave :  equality, rights, liberation and emancipation.   </li></ul><ul><li>Second wave :  sex is ou...
Feminist literary criticism   <ul><li>starts in late 1960’s </li></ul><ul><li>not a unitary theory or procedure   </li></u...
Shared Assumptions <ul><li>Western civilization is pervasively  patriarchal   </li></ul><ul><li>sex is determined by anato...
Anglo-American Feminist Crit. <ul><li>do  justice  to female points of view, concerns, and values   </li></ul><ul><li>enla...
French Feminist Crit. <ul><li>theory  of the role of gender in writing   </li></ul><ul><li>fundamental  distinction  based...
Post-structuralism <ul><li>late 1960’s </li></ul><ul><li>critiques structuralism  </li></ul><ul><li>complements  structura...
Post-structuralism <ul><li>signifier and signified are not only oppositional but  plural </li></ul><ul><li>incommensurate ...
Deconstruction <ul><li>language operates in subtle and often contradictory ways:  no certainties   </li></ul><ul><li>desta...
Deconstruction <ul><li>différance :  ( French  différer ) </li></ul><ul><li>to  defer , postpone, delay and also  </li></u...
Deconstruction <ul><li>aporia:  tension between what a text manifestly means to say and what it is nonetheless constrained...
Deconstruction <ul><li>a way of highlighting things that texts do to themselves and each other   </li></ul><ul><li>questio...
Literature in English III Mariel Amez
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Postcolonial studies/ lit. , feminism, poststructuralism

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Some key concepts in these three critical approaches, and an overview of postcolonial lit.

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Transcript of "Postcolonial studies/ lit. , feminism, poststructuralism"

  1. 1. Postcolonial Studies, Feminism, Poststructuralism Literature in English III Mariel Amez
  2. 2. POSTCOLONIALISM <ul><li>new writing in English? </li></ul><ul><li>world fiction? </li></ul><ul><li>international or transcultural writing? </li></ul><ul><li>Commonwealth literature? </li></ul><ul><li>Postcolonial literature? </li></ul>
  3. 3. POSTCOLONIALISM <ul><li>Postcolonial studies/ theory: Reading </li></ul><ul><li>vs </li></ul><ul><li>Postcolonial literature: Writing </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Colonial literature : concerned with colonial perceptions and experience, written by metropolitans, creoles and indigenes during colonial times </li></ul><ul><li>Colonialist literature : concerned with colonial expansion, written by and for colonizing Europeans about non-European lands dominated by them. </li></ul>POSTCOLONIALISM
  5. 5. Colonialist literature <ul><li>Eurocentric discourse that assumed the normality and preeminence of everything &quot;occidental,&quot; correlatively with its representations of the &quot;oriental&quot; as an exotic and inferior other. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Postcolonial literature <ul><li>Counter-narrative in which the colonial cultures fight their way back into a world history written by Europeans. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Colonialist and Postcolonial literature <ul><li>did not simply articulate colonial or nationalist preoccupations; </li></ul><ul><li>also contributed to the making , definition , and clarification of those same preoccupations </li></ul>
  8. 8. Colonialist vs Postcolonial literature <ul><li>A valid dichotomy? </li></ul><ul><li>An overgeneralisation? </li></ul><ul><li>A rewriting of hegemony and domination? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Otherness Difference <ul><li>Marginalised </li></ul><ul><li>Disempowered </li></ul><ul><li>Robbed of their voice and identity </li></ul><ul><li>BUT </li></ul><ul><li>Self cannot exist without the other </li></ul><ul><li>Self and other are mirror images connected by their reflection </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Chapter 1 “Imperialism and Textuality” in Boehmer, Elleke. Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. Migrant Metaphors. </li></ul>
  11. 11. How was the colonized other characterized? <ul><li>in need of civilization </li></ul><ul><li>savages lacking the power and ability to think and rule </li></ul><ul><li>useless, lazy, avoiding to do work through pretence </li></ul><ul><li>Agency, diversity, resistance, voices </li></ul><ul><li>screened out </li></ul>
  12. 12. Representations of white men <ul><li>hard and careful workers </li></ul><ul><li>sensible, rational </li></ul><ul><li>careful builders </li></ul><ul><li>intellectuals </li></ul><ul><li>profit-makers </li></ul><ul><li>colonial officers part of an elite </li></ul>
  13. 13. Purposes of Othering <ul><li>construct superiority of the West </li></ul><ul><li>justify the dispossession of natives </li></ul><ul><li>represent the degradation of other human beings as natural </li></ul><ul><li>foster nationalism </li></ul>
  14. 14. “ Mainstream realist novels could be of imperial domination even if they were not about it”. <ul><li>a commodity (images of riches and trade ) </li></ul><ul><li>a new beginning (transportation; exile) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The forbidden”: fascination or fear </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly </li></ul><ul><li>took for granted the integrity, superiority, and strength of the West </li></ul><ul><li>showed acceptance of the Empire </li></ul>
  15. 15. Which “forms of self-validation” of the Empire in the 19th century are mentioned? <ul><li>ideologies of moral, cultural, and racial supremacy </li></ul><ul><li>responsible, kind, gentle and morally uplifting ruling </li></ul><ul><li>selfless, serious, above blame, good government and peace under the law </li></ul><ul><li>inevitable and historically important: a new history </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Chapter 2 “Colonialist Concerns” (provided on paper) from Boehmer, Elleke. Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. Migrant Metaphors. </li></ul>
  17. 17. What is the attitude towards other cultures in colonialist texts? <ul><li>sources of contamination: infectious and bewitching </li></ul><ul><li>create vulnerability: closeness to savage passions ; apprehension at racial mixing </li></ul><ul><li>interpreting reality in a European way </li></ul><ul><li>empty of indigenous cultures </li></ul><ul><li>objects of study </li></ul><ul><li>accepting British rule as part of the order of things </li></ul>
  18. 18. What is the “colonial gaze”? <ul><li>gaze </li></ul><ul><li>to look at someone or something for a long time, giving it all your attention, often without realizing you are doing so </li></ul><ul><li>Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English </li></ul>
  19. 19. What is the “colonial gaze”? <ul><li>gaze </li></ul><ul><li>psychological relationship of power </li></ul><ul><li>gazer: superior to object of gaze </li></ul><ul><li>Schroeder, J.E. Consuming Representation: A Visual Approach to Consumer Research. Representing Consumers: Voices Views and Vision. Routledge Publishers, 1998. </li></ul>
  20. 20. What is the “colonial gaze”? <ul><li>normative gaze </li></ul><ul><li>Eurocentric racial identity: lens to view and construct other races </li></ul><ul><li>West, Cornel </li></ul>
  21. 21. What is the “colonial gaze”? <ul><li>Commanding perspective assumed by the European in the text </li></ul><ul><li>high vantage point </li></ul><ul><li>knowledgeable position </li></ul><ul><li>bird’s-eye description </li></ul><ul><li>represents authority </li></ul>
  22. 22. How is the white hero characterised in colonialist texts? <ul><li>youth and virility </li></ul><ul><li>model of Christian honour and patriotism </li></ul><ul><li>emissary of progress </li></ul><ul><li>restraint </li></ul><ul><li>moral earnestness </li></ul><ul><li>rationality </li></ul><ul><li>technological skill </li></ul><ul><li>ability to rule </li></ul>
  23. 23. How are women characterised in colonialist texts? <ul><li>seductive distraction or harmful presence </li></ul><ul><li>unmanning and polluting </li></ul><ul><li>black: contamination and degeneration of excessive pleasure </li></ul>
  24. 24. How is the colonised characterised in colonialist texts? <ul><li>fossilised survival of earlier evolutionary stages </li></ul><ul><li>irrational, barbaric, primitive, animal-like or childlike, violent or difficult to control, evil and harmful </li></ul><ul><li>passive, soft, lazy, weak, inscrutable, seductive, feminine </li></ul><ul><li>lack of character and individual will: crowd imagery </li></ul><ul><li>certain nobility due to military skill </li></ul>
  25. 25. How are the colonised countries characterised in colonialist texts? <ul><li>vast and shapeless </li></ul><ul><li>savage and degraded </li></ul><ul><li>sources of threat, trauma and mystery </li></ul><ul><li>treacherous, dark, still </li></ul><ul><li>“ the engulfing female” </li></ul><ul><li>places where white men defined their masculinity and where they bonded </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Frantz Fanon (1925 – 1961) – Martinique </li></ul><ul><li>Black Skin, White Masks (1952) </li></ul><ul><li>The Wretched of the Earth (1961) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The category &quot;white&quot; depends for its stability on its negation, &quot;black.&quot; Neither exists without the other, and both come into being at the moment of imperial conquest. </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  27. 27. <ul><li>Frantz Fanon (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speaking French means accepting the collective consciousness of the French, which identifies blackness with evil and sin. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To escape this association the black man thinks of himself as a universal subject equally participating in society. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The black man is necessarily alienated from himself. </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  28. 28. <ul><li>Edward Said (1935-2003) – Jerusalem </li></ul><ul><li>Orientalism (1978) </li></ul><ul><li>Culture and Imperialism (1993) </li></ul><ul><li>Politics of Dispossession (1994) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examines the ways through which the ‘Orient’ was, and continues to be constructed through the lens of Europeans, in part defining Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  29. 29. <ul><li>Edward Said (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The European invention of the fiction of the Orient and the Orientals has served to create not only knowledge but also the very reality they appear to describe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This knowledge tradition has functioned to serve hegemonic, imperialist ends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Occident / Orient distinction has operated on oppositional terms ensuring that the Orient has been constructed as a negative, inferior inversion of Western culture </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  30. 30. <ul><li>Edward Said (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By constructing the ‘Orient’ as culturally static, eternally uniform and incapable of self-definition, the ‘Occident’ as its established opposite is infused with a secure sense of its own cultural and intellectual superiority. The West consequently viewed itself as dynamic, innovative and expanding, which ultimately secured a sense of imperial conceit and self-justification for colonial rule. </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  31. 31. <ul><li>Binary oppositions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The West: dynamic, rational, peaceful, liberal, logical, capable of holding real values - “male” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Orient: static, irrational, warlike, passion-ridden, “immoral” – “female” </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  32. 32. <ul><li>Homi K. Bhabha (b. 1949) – India </li></ul><ul><li>Nation and Narration (1990) </li></ul><ul><li>The Location of Culture (1993) </li></ul><ul><li>Cosmopolitanism (2002) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourages a rigorous rethinking of nationalism, representation, and resistance that above all stresses the &quot;ambivalence&quot; or &quot;hybridity&quot; that characterizes the site of colonial contestation. </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  33. 33. <ul><li>Homi K. Bhabha (cont’d.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Criticises the supposedly homogenous, innate, and historically continuous traditions that falsely define and ensure the subordinate status of Third World nations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Argues that cultures can be understood to interact, transgress, and transform each other in a much more complex manner than the traditional binary oppositions can allow. </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  34. 34. <ul><li>Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak </li></ul><ul><li>(b. 1942) – India </li></ul><ul><li>In Other Worlds (1988) </li></ul><ul><li>Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993) </li></ul><ul><li>A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999). </li></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  35. 35. <ul><ul><li>Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (cont’d) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Criticises European literary and philosophical texts for providing ideological support for European colonialism and develops a feminist perspective . </li></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  36. 36. <ul><ul><ul><li>Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (cont’d) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Postcolonial theory focuses too much on past forms of colonial domination - inadequate to criticise the impact of contemporary global economic domination </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>By speaking out and reclaiming a collective cultural identity, subalterns will in fact re-inscribe their subordinate position in society. The academic assumption of a subaltern collectivity becomes akin to an ethnocentric extension of Western logos. </li></ul></ul></ul>Postcolonial Studies
  37. 37. Postcolonial literature <ul><li>Writing from the Empire (before political independence) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>white settlers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>creoles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>indigenous peoples </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Postcolonial literature <ul><li>Writing after Independence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cancelling colonial stereotypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>becoming subjects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rewriting history </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>establishing identity </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Postcolonial literature <ul><li>Genres </li></ul><ul><li>Themes or Motifs </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies </li></ul>
  40. 40. Postcolonial literature: Strategies <ul><li>Appropriation </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous myth </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul>
  41. 41. Feminism <ul><li>First wave : equality, rights, liberation and emancipation. </li></ul><ul><li>Second wave : sex is our biological and natural being; gender is the social and cultural interpretation of that being. </li></ul><ul><li>Third wave : no natural ‘sex’ underlying our gender; sex is textual – always in production and open to question. </li></ul>
  42. 42. Feminist literary criticism <ul><li>starts in late 1960’s </li></ul><ul><li>not a unitary theory or procedure </li></ul><ul><li>includes adaptations of psychoanalytic, Marxist, and poststructuralist theories. </li></ul>
  43. 43. Shared Assumptions <ul><li>Western civilization is pervasively patriarchal </li></ul><ul><li>sex is determined by anatomy; gender is a cultural construct generated by patriarchal biases of civilization </li></ul><ul><li>patriarchal ideology pervades writings traditionally considered great literature , written mainly by men for men </li></ul><ul><li>standard selection and critical treatment gender-biased </li></ul>
  44. 44. Anglo-American Feminist Crit. <ul><li>do justice to female points of view, concerns, and values </li></ul><ul><li>enlarge , reorder, even displace, the literary canon </li></ul><ul><li>no fundamental difference: an undervaluing of female writing </li></ul><ul><li>analysis of the representation of men and women by male and female authors </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. Gilbert & Gubar (1979): The Madwoman in the Attic : </li></ul>
  45. 45. French Feminist Crit. <ul><li>theory of the role of gender in writing </li></ul><ul><li>fundamental distinction based on social and economic factors </li></ul><ul><li>Western languages male-engendered, male-constituted, and male-dominated: phallogocentrism </li></ul><ul><li>écriture féminine ( Cixous) </li></ul>
  46. 46. Post-structuralism <ul><li>late 1960’s </li></ul><ul><li>critiques structuralism </li></ul><ul><li>complements structuralism: alternative modes of inquiry, explanation and interpretation. </li></ul><ul><li>Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes , etc. </li></ul>
  47. 47. Post-structuralism <ul><li>signifier and signified are not only oppositional but plural </li></ul><ul><li>incommensurate qualities of language </li></ul><ul><li>no text can mean what it seems to say </li></ul><ul><li>challenges (even undermines) traditional conceptions of meaning, knowledge, truth, and the subject or &quot;self&quot; (humanism) </li></ul>
  48. 48. Deconstruction <ul><li>language operates in subtle and often contradictory ways: no certainties </li></ul><ul><li>destabilisation of hierarchical oppositions </li></ul><ul><li>the signified is always a signifier in another system : infinite deferral of meaning </li></ul>
  49. 49. Deconstruction <ul><li>différance : ( French différer ) </li></ul><ul><li>to defer , postpone, delay and also </li></ul><ul><li>to differ , be different from </li></ul><ul><li>The text is an endless sequence of signifiers which can have no ultimate or determinate meaning </li></ul>
  50. 50. Deconstruction <ul><li>aporia: tension between what a text manifestly means to say and what it is nonetheless constrained to mean </li></ul><ul><li>traces : indications of an absence that define a presence </li></ul><ul><li>reading under erasure </li></ul>
  51. 51. Deconstruction <ul><li>a way of highlighting things that texts do to themselves and each other </li></ul><ul><li>questioning priorities set up as natural or self-evident </li></ul><ul><li>demonstrating binary oppositions are unstable , reversible, and mutually dependent </li></ul><ul><li>showing how texts subvert , exceed, even overturn their author's stated purposes </li></ul>
  52. 52. Literature in English III Mariel Amez
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