Colonialism, Postocolonialism

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Nonetheless, critics of the homogeneous "Occident—Orient" binary social relation, said that Orientalism is of limited descriptive capability and practical application, and proposed that there are variants of Orientalism that apply to Africa and to Latin America. Said replied that the European West applied Orientalism as a homogeneous form of The Other , in order to facilitate the formation of the cohesive, collective European cultural identity denoted by the term "The West".

With this described binary logic, the West generally constructs the Orient subconsciously as its alter ego. Therefore, descriptions of the Orient by the Occident lack material attributes, grounded within land.

Colonialism/Postcolonialism - CRC Press Book

This inventive, or imaginative interpretation subscribes female characteristics to the Orient and plays into fantasies that are inherent within the West's alter ego. It should be understood that this process draws creativity, amounting an entire domain and discourse.

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In Orientalism , Said mentions the production of "philology [the study of the history of languages], lexicography [dictionary making], history, biology, political and economic theory, novel-writing and lyric poetry" p. Therefore, there is an entire industry that exploits the Orient for its own subjective purposes that lack a native and intimate understanding.

Such industries become institutionalized and eventually become a resource for manifest Orientalism, or a compilation of misinformation about the Orient. The ideology of Empire was hardly ever a brute jingoism; rather, it made subtle use of reason, and recruited science and history to serve its ends. These subjective fields of academia now synthesize the political resources and think-tanks that are so common in the West today.

Orientalism is self-perpetuating to the extent that it becomes normalized within common discourse, making people say things that are latent, impulsive, or not fully conscious of its own self.

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In establishing the Postcolonial definition of the term subaltern , the philosopher and theoretician Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak cautioned against assigning an over-broad connotation. She argues:. 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.

From decolonization to postcolonialism

They should not call themselves subaltern. Spivak also introduced the terms essentialism and strategic essentialism to describe the social functions of postcolonialism. The term essentialism denotes the perceptual dangers inherent to reviving subaltern voices in ways that might over simplify the cultural identity of heterogeneous social groups and, thereby, create stereotyped representations of the different identities of the people who compose a given social group.

The term strategic essentialism denotes a temporary, essential group-identity used in the praxis of discourse among peoples. Furthermore, essentialism can occasionally be applied—by the so-described people—to facilitate the subaltern's communication in being heeded, heard, and understood, because a strategic essentialism a fixed and established subaltern identity is more readily grasped, and accepted, by the popular majority, in the course of inter-group discourse.

The important distinction, between the terms, is that strategic essentialism does not ignore the diversity of identities cultural and ethnic in a social group, but that, in its practical function, strategic essentialism temporarily minimizes inter-group diversity to pragmatically support the essential group-identity. Spivak developed and applied Foucault's term epistemic violence to describe the destruction of non—Western ways of perceiving the world and the resultant dominance of the Western ways of perceiving the world.

Colonialism / Postcolonialism

Conceptually, epistemic violence specifically relates to women, whereby the "Subaltern [woman] must always be caught in translation, never [allowed to be] truly expressing herself", because the colonial power's destruction of her culture pushed to the social margins her non—Western ways of perceiving, understanding, and knowing the world. As a subaltern woman, Francisca repressed her native African language, and spoke her request in Peninsular Spanish, the official language of Colonial Latin America.

As a subaltern woman, she applied to her voice the Spanish cultural filters of sexism , Christian monotheism, and servile language, in addressing her colonial master:. I, Francisca de Figueroa, mulatta in colour, declare that I have, in the city of Cartagena, a daughter named Juana de Figueroa; and she has written, to call for me, in order to help me.

Once given, I attest to this. I beg your Lordship to approve, and order it done.

I ask for justice in this. Moreover, Spivak further cautioned against ignoring subaltern peoples as "cultural Others", and said that the West could progress—beyond the colonial perspective—by means of introspective self-criticism of the basic ideals and investigative methods that establish a culturally superior West studying the culturally inferior non—Western peoples. Consequent to Foucault's philosophic model of the binary relationship of power and knowledge, scholars from the Subaltern Studies Collective , proposed that anti-colonial resistance always counters every exercise of colonial power.

Bhabha argued that viewing the human world as composed of separate and unequal cultures, rather than as an integral human world, perpetuates the belief in the existence of imaginary peoples and places—"Christendom" and "The Islamic World", "The First World", "The Second World", and "The Third World". To counter such linguistic and sociologic reductionism, postcolonial praxis establishes the philosophic value of hybrid intellectual spaces, wherein ambiguity abrogates truth and authenticity; thereby, hybridity is the philosophic condition that most substantively challenges the ideological validity of colonialism.

In , on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of India's Independence, Santiniketan: The Making of a Contextual Modernism was an important exhibition curated by R. In his catalogue essay, Kumar introduced the term Contextual Modernism, which later emerged as a postcolonial critical tool in the understanding of Indian art , specifically the works of Nandalal Bose , Rabindranath Tagore , Ramkinkar Baij and Benode Behari Mukherjee.

Santiniketan artists did not believe that to be indigenous one has to be historicist either in theme or in style, and similarly to be modern one has to adopt a particular trans-national formal language or technique. Modernism was to them neither a style nor a form of internationalism. It was critical re-engagement with the foundational aspects of art necessitated by changes in one's unique historical position. In the postcolonial history of art, this marked the departure from Eurocentric unilateral idea of Modernism to alternative context sensitive Modernisms.

The brief survey of the individual works of the core Santiniketan artists and the thought perspectives they open up makes clear that though there were various contact points in the work they were not bound by a continuity of style but buy a community of ideas. Which they not only shared but also interpreted and carried forward. Thus they do not represent a school but a movement. Several terms including Paul Gilroy 's counter culture of modernity and Tani E.

Barlow 's Colonial modernity have been used to describe the kind of alternative modernity that emerged in non-European contexts. Professor Gall argues that 'Contextual Modernism' is a more suited term because "the colonial in colonial modernity does not accommodate the refusal of many in colonized situations to internalize inferiority.

Santiniketan's artist teachers' refusal of subordination incorporated a counter vision of modernity, which sought to correct the racial and cultural essentialism that drove and characterized imperial Western modernity and modernism. Those European modernities, projected through a triumphant British colonial power, provoked nationalist responses, equally problematic when they incorporated similar essentialisms.

In Provincializing Europe , Dipesh Chakrabarty charted the subaltern history of the Indian struggle for independence, and countered Eurocentric, Western scholarship about non-Western peoples and cultures, by proposing that Western Europe simply be considered as culturally equal to the other cultures of the world, that is, as "one region among many" in human geography. Derek Gregory argues the long trajectory through history of British and American colonization is an ongoing process still happening today.

In The Colonial Present , Gregory traces connections between the geopolitics of events happening in modern-day Afghanistan, Palestine , and Iraq and links it back to the us-and-them binary relation between the Western and Eastern world. Building upon the ideas of the other and Said's work on orientalism, Gregory critiques the economic policy, military apparatus, and transnational corporations as vehicles driving present day colonialism.

Emphasizing ideas of discussing ideas around colonialism in the present tense, Gregory utilizes modern events such as the September 11 attacks to tell spatial stories around the colonial behavior happening due to the War on Terror. Acheraiou argues that colonialism was a capitalist venture moved by appropriation and plundering of foreign lands and was supported by military force and a discourse that legitimized violence in the name of progress and a universal civilizing mission.

This discourse is complex and multi-faceted. It was elaborated in the 19th century by colonial ideologues such as Joseph-Ernest Renan and Arthur de Gobineau , but its roots reach far back in history. In Rethinking Postcolonialism: Colonialist Discourse in Modern Literature and the Legacy of Classical Writers, Amar Acheraiou discusses the history of colonialist discourse and traces its spirit to ancient Greece, including Europe's claim to racial supremacy and right to rule over non-Europeans harboured by Renan and other 19th century colonial ideologues.

He argues that modern colonial representations of the colonized as "inferior", "stagnant" and "degenerate" were borrowed from Greek and Latin authors like Lysias — BC , Isocrates — BC , Plato — BC , Aristotle — BC , Cicero —43 BC , and Sallust 86—34 BC , who all considered their racial others — the Persians, Scythians, Egyptians as "backward", "inferior", and "effeminate".


In The Politics, he established a racial classification and ranked the Greeks superior to the rest. He considered them as an ideal race to rule over Asian and other 'barbarian' peoples, for they knew how to blend the spirit of the European "war-like races" with Asiatic "intelligence" and "competence". Ancient Rome was a source of admiration in Europe since the enlightenment. In France, Voltaire was one of the most fervent admirers of Rome.

He regarded highly the Roman republican values of rationality, democracy, order and justice. In early-eighteenth century Britain, it was poets and politicians like Joseph Addison — and Richard Glover — who were vocal advocates of these ancient republican values. It was in the mid-eighteenth century that ancient Greece became a source of admiration among the French and British. This enthusiasm gained prominence in the late-eighteenth century. These scholars and poets regarded ancient Greece as the matrix of Western civilization and a model of beauty and democracy.

In the nineteenth century when Europe began to expand across the globe and establish colonies, ancient Greece and Rome were used as a source of empowerment and justification to Western civilizing mission. At this period, many French and British imperial ideologues identified strongly with the ancient empires and invoked ancient Greece and Rome to justify the colonial civilizing project.

They urged European colonizers to emulate these "ideal" classical conquerors, whom they regarded as "universal instructors". For Alexis de Tocqueville — , an ardent and influential advocate of la "Grande France," the classical empires were model conquerors to imitate.

He advised the French colonists in Algeria to follow the ancient imperial example. In , he stated: 'what matters most when we want to set up and develop a colony is to make sure that those who arrive in it are as less estranged as possible, that these newcomers meet a perfect image of their homeland…. The Romans established in almost all parts of the globe known to them municipalities which were no more than miniature Romes. Among modern colonizers, the English did the same. Who can prevent us from emulating these European peoples? John-Robert Seeley , a history professor at Cambridge and proponent of imperialism stated in a rhetoric which echoed that of Renan that the role of the British Empire was 'similar to that of Rome, in which we hold the position of not merely of ruling but of an educating and civilizing race.

The incorporation of ancient concepts and racial and cultural assumptions into modern imperial ideology bolstered colonial claims to supremacy and right to colonize non-Europeans. Because of these numerous ramifications between ancient representations and modern colonial rhetoric, 19th century's colonialist discourse acquires a "multi-layered" or "palimpsestic" structure.

As a literary theory , postcolonialism deals with the literatures produced by the peoples who once were colonies of the European imperial powers e. Britain, France, and Spain and the literatures of the decolonized countries engaged in contemporary, postcolonial arrangements e.

Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the Commonwealth of Nations with their former mother countries.