Postcolonial theory


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Postcolonial theory

  2. 2. POSTCOLONIAL THEORY A theory on and lens for life after foreign rule.
  3. 3. What puts the ―post‖ in postcolonialism?  Considering ―post‖ is a prefix meaning after, we need to first discuss the history behind colonialism.
  4. 4. WHAT IS COLONIALISM?  An extension of a nations rule over territory beyond its borders.  It also refers to the establishment and maintenance of colonies in one territory by people from another country.  Colonialism is the process where the sovereignty over the colony is claimed by the colonizer.
  5. 5.  The social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by the colonists.  Colonialism also refers to the period of history from the 15th to the 20th century when European nation established colonies in other continents.  Colonialism is the relationship between an indigenous majority
  6. 6.  The fundamental decisions affecting the lives of the colonized people are made and implemented by the colonial powers in pursuit of interests that are often defined by the imperial power.  Rejecting cultural compromises with the colonized population, the colonizers are convinced of their own superiority and their ordained mandate to rule.
  7. 7. Types of Colonialism 1. Pre-capitalist colonialism: Before it, the Crusades in the 2nd century; Genghis Khan's invasion of Middle East as well as China in the 13th century. 2. Modern Colonialism: European invasion of Africa, Asia and the Americas since the 16 century onwards. Causes: modernization, nationalization, ca
  8. 8. The difference between the two colonialism  major differences: "Modern colonialism did more than extract tribute, goods and wealth from the countries that it conquered -- it restructured the economies of the latter, drawing them into a complex relationship with their own, so that there was a flow of human and natural resources between colonized and colonial countries.
  9. 9. Modern Colonialism meaning and other types Modern colonialism -military, economic, cultural oppression & domination of one country/race over another. Kinds: 1. Invasion-colonization; 2. Settlement-colonization; 3. Internal Colonialism; 4. Neo-Colonialism
  10. 10. internal colonialism  1. Racial Domination within an existing territory  2. Uneven wave of industrialization → Inter-group differences in power → Ethnic division of labor → Ethnic identities are forged and ethnic colonies formed (ghettos, or internal segregation). Related to minority discourse or immigrant culture/literature.
  11. 11. Colonialism: Flows of Natural Resources and People 1. Triangular Trade 2. Middle Passage
  12. 12. Colonialism: flows of migration  Flows of Migrants 1st World Colonial “Third World”: powers: Adventurers, Army, Slaves, Contract laborers, travelers, missionar Students, ies, immigrants businessmen, etc.
  13. 13. Cultural Imperialism (1): Theories  1. Culture (e.g. literature, language, popular culture) supports imperialism and is one way to spread it.  2. The definition of the self and others are based upon representations rather than reality;  3. A series of binary oppositions (exact opposites) were employed to at once define the colonized subjects and the as The West/Self as The Oriental/Other civilised, just, moral, savage, lewd, lazy, colonizing masters. industrious, rational, superstitious, Masculine feminine
  14. 14. Cultural Imperialism (2): Theories  Decoration and support for building the Empire  Biological Differences: Justification of Racism
  15. 15. Edward Said’s theory of Orientalism  A concept introduced by Edward Said (1978)  Attempted to explain how the European/Western colonizers looked upon the ―Orient‖  presenting the East as ―the Other‖ (weaker, less civilized, inscrutable, wicked), or as ―the exotic‖ e.g. Arabian Nights, Madame Butterfly and all the images of Oriental women as
  16. 16.  The concept of the ―East‖ i.e the ―orient‖ was created by the ―West suppressing the ability of the ―Orient‖ to express themselves.  ―Western depiction of the ―Orient‖ construct an inferior world, a place of backwardness and irrationality, and wildness.  This allows the ―West‖ to identify themselves as the opposite of these characteristics: as a superior world that was progressive, rational, and civil.
  17. 17. Neo Colonialism  The term neocolonialism has been used to refer to a variety of things since the decolonization efforts after World War II  It refers to the accusation that the relationship between stronger and weaker countries is similar to exploitation colonialism, without the stronger country having to build or maintain colonies.
  18. 18.  Such relationship typically focuses on the economic relationships and interference in the politics of the weaker countries by the stronger countries.
  19. 19. Early European exploration of Asia  started in ancient Roman times  Knowledge of lands as distant as China were held by the Romans  Trade with India through the Roman Egyptian Red Sea ports was significant in the first centuries of the Common Era.
  20. 20. Medieval European exploration of Asia  13th and 14th centuries: Christian missionaries - sought to penetrate China Marco Polo  little permanent effect on East-West trade: of a series of political developments in Asia in the last decades of the fourteenth century, which put an end to further European exploration of Asia
  21. 21.  Yuan dynasty in China: receptive to European missionaries and merchants, was overthrown  new Ming rulers were found to be inward oriented and unreceptive to foreign religious proselytism  Turks consolidated control over the eastern Mediterranean, closing off key overland trade routes  15TH century, only minor trade and cultural exchanges between Europe and Asia continued at certain terminals controlled by Muslim traders.
  22. 22. Oceanic voyages to Asia
  23. 23.  new trade routes : oceanic routes between East and West began with the unprecedented voyages of Portuguese and Spanish sea captains  cheaper and easier access to South and East Asian goods  influenced by medieval European adventurers, who had journeyed overland to the Far East and contributed to geographical knowledge of parts of Asia upon their return.  1488 Bartholomeu Dias: southern tip of Africa under the sponsorship of Portugal's John II --- swung northeast, soon finding a sea route to India and named the tip as the Cape of Good Hope
  24. 24.  1497, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama made the first open voyage from Europe to India  1520, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator in the service of Spain, found a sea route into the Pacific Ocean
  25. 25. Portuguese and Spanish trade and colonization in Asia  Portuguese monopoly over trade in the Indian Ocean  16th century Alfonso de Albuquerque  emerged as the Portuguese colonial viceroys most instrumental in consolidating Portugal's holdings in Africa and in Asia ---understood that Portugal could wrest commercial supremacy from the Arabs only by force ---devised a plan to establish forts at strategic sites which would dominate the trade routes and also protect Portuguese interests on land
  26. 26.  1510, he seized Goa in India, which enabled him to gradually consolidate control of most of the commercial traffic between Europe and Asia  Europeans started to carry on trade from forts, acting as foreign merchants rather than as settlers. In contrast, early European expansion in the "West Indies  1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus, involved heavy settlement in colonies that were treated as political extensions of the mother countries.
  27. 27. WHY WERE PEOPLE COLONIZED?  Social Darwinism  Eurocentrism  Universalism  Colonialism is nature  White man’s burden- What was thought to be the obligation of the Europeans to ―civilize‖ the non European people.
  28. 28. SUBALTERN THEORY by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak  Subaltern is a term that commonly refers to persons who are socially, politically, and geographically outside of the hegemonic power structure  The term subaltern was used in Postcolonial theory.  Some thinkers refer to marginalized groups and the lower classes—a person rendered without agency by his or her social status.
  29. 29. Subaltern according to Spivak: word for oppressed, for Other, for ―not just a classy somebody who's not getting a piece of the pie....In postcolonial terms, everything that has limited or no access to the cultural imperialism is subaltern—a space of difference. Now who would say that's just the oppressed? The working class is oppressed. It's not subaltern....Many people want to claim subalternity. They are the least interesting and the most dangerous. I mean, just by being a discriminated-against minority on the university campus, they don't need the word 'subaltern'...They should see what the mechanics of the discrimination are. They're within the hegemonic discourse wanting a piece of the pie and not being allowed, so let them speak, use the hegemonic discourse. They should not call themselves subaltern.‖
  30. 30. Theory of the Subaltern  Postcolonial theory tries to understand the power and continued dominance of Western ways of knowing. Joanne Sharp, following Spivak, argues that other forms of knowing are marginalized by Western thinkers reforming them as myth or folklore. In order to be heard the subaltern must adopt Western thought, reasoning and language. Because of this, Sharp and Spivak argue that the subaltern can never express their own reasoning, forms of knowledge or logic, they must instead form their knowledge to Western ways of knowing
  31. 31. Frantz Fanon  Fanon analyzed the nature of colonialism and those subjugated by it.  He describes colonialism as a source of violence rather than reacting violently against the resistors which had been the common view.  His portrayal of the systematic relationship between colonialism and its attempt to deny all
  32. 32. ―attributes of humanity‖ it suppressed laid the groundwork for related critiques of colonial and postcolonial systems.
  33. 33. Postcolonial theory attempts to focus on the oppression of those who were ruled under colonization. Factors include:  Political oppression  Economic oppression  Social/cultural oppression  Psychological oppression Of those who were formerly colonized.
  34. 34. In postcolonial theory, the word colonized can mean many things.  Literal colonization  More abstract ―colonization‖  African-Americans  Native Americans in the United States
  35. 35. Postcolonial theorists believe that the colonizers:  Imposed their own values onto those colonized so that they were internalized Example:  Social/Cultural - Spanish language/Catholic religion among the formerly colonized like the Philippines
  36. 36.  Political – Drew the boundaries of Africa based on European politics rather than tribal interests  Postcolonial theorists also analyze the processes by which those who were colonized resisted the colonizers. Example: Haiti South Africa India
  37. 37. Post Colonial Literature  Sometimes called ―New English Literature(s), is a body of literary writings that reacts to the discourse of colonization.  Postcolonial literature often involves writings that deals with the issue of de-colonization or the political and cultural independence of people formerly subjugated to colonial rule.
  38. 38.  It is also a literary critique to texts that carry racists or colonial undertones.  In its most recent form, it also attempts to critique the postcolonial discourse that has been shaped over recent times.  It attempts to re-read this very emergence of postcolonialism and its literary expression itself.
  39. 39. The three subjects of postcolonial literature 1. Social and cultural change or erosion: It seems that after independence is achieved, one question arises; what is the new cultural identity? 2. Misuse of power and exploitation: even though the large power ceases to control them as colony, the settlers still seem to continue
  40. 40. Imposing power over the native. The question here; who really is the power here, why, and how does an independence day really mean independence? 3. Colonial abandonment and alienation: This topic is generally brought up to examine individuals and not the ex-colony as a whole. The individuals tend to ask themselves: in this new country, where do I fit in and how do I make a living?
  41. 41. 4. Use of English language literature: it may be asked if the target of post-colonial studies, i.e. the analysis of post-colonial literature and culture, can be reached neglecting literary works in the original languages of postcolonial nations.
  42. 42. What happens after colonization?  What language do you speak?  What culture do you follow?  Hybridization and Double Consciousness  Awareness of culture before colonized and during colonization and what emerged as a result
  43. 43. Examining colonizer/colonized relationships in literature  Is the work pro/anti colonialist? Why?  Does the text reinforce or resist colonialist ideology?  Tries to introduce/expose ―otherized‖ works.  What is the prevalent culture in the work?  Resisting/Revising the canon.
  44. 44. TELEPHONE CONVERSATION Wole Soyinka The price seemed reasonable, location Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived Off premises. Nothing remained But self-confession. "Madam," I warned, "I hate a wasted journey—I am African."
  45. 45. Silence. Silenced transmission of Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came, Lipstick coated, long gold rolled Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was foully. "HOW DARK?" . . . I had not misheard . . . "ARE YOU LIGHT OR VERY DARK?" Button B, Button A.* Stench Of rancid breath of public hideand-speak.
  46. 46. Red booth. Red pillar box. Red doubletiered Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed By ill-mannered silence, surrender Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification. Considerate she was, varying the emphasis-"ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?" Revelation came.
  47. 47. "You mean--like plain or milk chocolate?" Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light Impersonality. Rapidly, wave-length adjusted, I chose. "West African sepia"--and as afterthought, "Down in my passport." Silence for spectroscopic
  48. 48. Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent Hard on the mouthpiece. "WHAT'S THAT?" conceding "DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS." "Like brunette." "THAT'S DARK, ISN'T IT?" "Not altogether. Facially, I am brunette, but, madam, you should see The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet Are a peroxide blond. Friction, caused-Foolishly, madam--by sitting down, has turned
  49. 49. My bottom raven black--One moment, madam!"--sensing Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap About my ears--"Madam," I pleaded, "wouldn't you rather See for yourself?"