Postcolonialism by Jerry Slater for A2 Comms and Culture

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Postcolonialism by Jerry Slater for A2 Comms and Culture

  1. 1. POSTCOLONIALISM THEORY
  2. 2. What puts the “post” in Postcolonialism?  Considering “post” is a prefix meaning after, we need to first discuss the history behind colonialism. What is colonialism? ¤ An extension of a nations rule over territory beyond its borders ¤ a population that is subjected to the political domination of another population
  3. 3. Two sides of colonialism  The militaristic side ( the physical conquest and occupation of territories)  The civilizational side (the conquest and occupation of minds, selves and cultures) -- Colonialism does not end with the end of colonial occupation -- Resistance begins before the end of colonial occupation
  4. 4. ¤ the historical whereby the “West” attempts systematically to cancel or negate the cultural difference and value of the “non-West” (Leela Gandhi,1998) *colonial critique – deals with imperialistic views *post-colonial criticism – examines the effects of imperialistic views in postcolonial societies
  5. 5. Post colonial Criticism? ¤ A set of theoretical and critical strategies used to examine the culture, literature, politics, history, of former colonies ¤ Post-colonial theory deals with the reading and writing of literature written in previously or currently colonized countries, or literature written in colonizing countries which deals with colonization or colonized peoples - it embraces no single method or school
  6. 6. Postcolonialism  Questions the effect of empire  Raises issues such as racism and exploitation  Assesses the position of the colonial or post-colonial subject  Offers a counter-narrative to the long tradition of European imperial narratives
  7. 7. Why were people colonized? Social Darwinism * Eurocentrism * Universalism * Colonialism is nature White Man’s Burden * What was thought to be an obligation to “civilize” non-European people
  8. 8. How long did it last and why did it end? ¤ 15th century to 20th century (arguably, it is still going on) ¤ WWII * right to sovereignty * lack of resources * Independence movements
  9. 9. OK, so what is Postcolonialism? ¤ Postcolonial theory attempts to focus on the oppression of those who were ruled under colonization. ¤ Factors include: *Political oppression * Economic * Social/cultural oppression * Psychological oppression
  10. 10. Who are the oppressed?  Those who were formerly colonized  In postcolonial theory, the word colonized can mean many things: * Literal colonization * More abstract “colonization” African-American Native Americans in the United States
  11. 11. How was the colonized oppressed? Post colonial theorist believe that the colonizers (generally Europeans): Imposed their own values onto those colonized so that they were internalized. Social/ Cultural- Spanish language/Catholic Religion in the Carribean Political- Drew the boundaries of Africa based on European politics rather than tribal interests.
  12. 12. How did the oppressed escape?  Post colonial theorist also analyzed the processes by which those who were colonized resisted the colonizers  Examples: Haiti South Africa India
  13. 13. When exactly does the postcolonial begin?  “When third world intellectuals have arrived in the first world academe” (Arif Dirlik)
  14. 14. Postcolonial Theorist Edward Said * moved colonial discourse into the first world academy and into literary and cultural theory • Was also very influential in third world universities (esp. in India) • Coined the term “Orientalism” describing the binary between the Orient and the Occident
  15. 15. Edward Said  “Power and knowledge are inseparable”(following Foucalt’s belief  Orientalism is the 1978 book that has been highly influential in postcolonial studies. E  Attempted to explain how European/Western colonizers looked upon the ‘’Orient” What is the Orient? • A mystical plane that was stereotyped due to lack of knowledge and imagination • A’’ lumping’’ together of Asia )
  16. 16. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak  Introduced terms such as “Essentialism” and “Strategic Essentialism”  Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (born February 24, 1942) is an Indian literary critic and theorist. She is best known for the article "Can the Subaltern Speak?", considered a founding text of postcolonialism, and for her translation of Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology. Spivak teaches at Columbia University, where she was tenured as University Professor—Columbia's highest rank—in March 2007. A prolific scholar, she travels widely and gives lectures around the world. She is also a visiting faculty member at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.
  17. 17.  Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak * “ Can the Subaltern Speak” (1988) “My position is generally a reactive one. I am viewed by Marxists as too codic, by feminists as too male identified, by indigenous theorists as too committed to Western Theory. I am uneasily pleased about this.
  18. 18. Example of Orientalism
  19. 19. Homi K.Bhabha  Homi K. Bhabha (born 1949) is an Indian postcolonial theorist.  Feels the post colonial world should valorize spaces of mixing; spaces where truth and authenticity move aside for ambiguity.  This space of hybridity, he argues, offers the most profound challenge to colonialism.  He ignores Spivak’s stated usefulness of essentialism have been put forward. Reference is made to essentialisms’ potential usefulness.
  20. 20. Frantz Fanon Frantz Fanon (July 20, 1925 – December 6, 1961) was a psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, and author from Martinique. He was influential in the field of post-colonial studies and was perhaps the pre-eminent thinker of the 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization. His works have inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades.
  21. 21.  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.
  22. 22. The aftermath ■ What happens after colonization? * What language do you speak? * what culture do you follow? ■ Hybridization and Double Consciousness ■ Two terms to describe the results of colonization on those colonized ■ Awareness of culture before colonized and during colonization and what emerged as a result.
  23. 23. ¤ Unhomeliness/Exile What is home to you? - a state of limbo, without a certain or definite identity. ¤ Being caught between cultures. ¤ Being literally moved as a result of colonialism ( On Exile- Edward Said)
  24. 24. Postcolonialism: The Critical Lens ►Examining colonizers/colonized relationship in literature ■ Is the work pro/anti colonialist? Why? ■ Does the text reinforce or resist colonialist ideology? ► Explore the dynamics of colonization through literary works ■ How did it come about? How did it end? How does the text explain this?
  25. 25. Type of Questions:  How does the literary text, explicitly or allegorically, represent various aspects of colonial oppression?  What does the text reveal about the problematics of post-colonial identity, including the relationship between personal and cultural identity and such issues as double consciousness and hybridity?  What person(s) or groups does the work identify as "other" or stranger? How are such persons/groups described and treated?  What does the text reveal about the politics and/or psychology of anti-colonialist resistance?
  26. 26.  What does the text reveal about the operations of cultural difference - the ways in which race, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, cultural beliefs, and customs combine to form individual identity - in shaping our perceptions of ourselves, others, and the world in which we live?  How does the text respond to or comment upon the characters, themes, or assumptions of a canonized (colonialist) work?
  27. 27.  Are there meaningful similarities among the literatures of different post-colonial populations?  How does a literary text in the Western canon reinforce or undermine colonialist ideology through its representation of colonialization and/or its inappropriate silence about colonized peoples? (Tyson 378-379)
  28. 28. References:  http://www.scribd.com/search? cat=solr&q=post+colonial+theory+present ation  http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Spiva k.html (retrieved January 19,2010)

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