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Transcript of Post Colonialism
McLeod 2nd Ed.
Postcolonialism or post-colonialism?
Reading Colonial Disourse
"colonialism...is an operation of discourse [which] interpellates colonial subjects by incorporating them in a system of representation" Tiffin & Lawson
The Nation in Question
"nationalism cannot be...considered as the alternative to imperialism that it was once thought to be" Gikandi
The nation is a western construct; emerging with capitalism and industrialisation - a fundamental concept of imperialist expansion.
'Commonwealth' to 'postcolonial'
Although the Empire (British) is past tense, the material & imaginative legacies left from (+ de-)colonisation are important.
Used as a term from 1950s for lit. written in English from countries with a colonial history. (US & Ire. exempt).
3rd world Englishes
There are many languages in India, can great literature in English become nationalist literature?
Achebe: Anthills of the Savannah
The hyphenation implies that it is something that has
and is a fixed point in time. However, not all colonies were liberated at the same time and some could argue that some colonization is still in place. Spelt without hyphenation then allows us to think of it as something which is
rather than something that is.
Said - Orientalism
Bhabha - Hybridity
Spivak - Subaltern
Fanon - National consciousness
Gilroy - Questioning the Nation
Nasta - creative dialogues
Moore-Gilbert - subaltern issues
Colonisation must be thought of alongside 'capitalism' and 'imperialism' as the
Capitalism esp. has a mutually supportive relationship with colonialism, whereas imperialism differs as it is not focused on settlement. (Some argue that colonialism has stopped but imperialism hasn't as economic power is still sought (looked at with globalisation later))
"desire for [profit]...led to the [est.] of the imperial structure"
Commonwealth aimed to promote: peace, democracy, non-racialism and consense building across member states.
"one reads Commonwealth writers because they bring new ideas, new interpretations of life to us" A. Norman Jeffares
unity in diversity
(homogenisation, enforcing the primacy of Britain)
It deals with national and cultural issues which were believed to be able to cross boundaries but the best were able to transcend them too.
Seen as an extension to canonical lit. National specifics were second to universal meaning in the text. Historical contexts that inform work being seconded is described as liberal humanist. The most 'literary' texts for them always transcend the local contexts they were formed in.
Theories of Colonial discourse
Reasons behind the shift from liberal humanist to postcolonial critique.
Looks at how representations of people were used to continually oppress the colonised. Due to a belief that African & Indian descent is inferior to white people - even within colonies.
"colonial indoctrination...is usually about oppression or subjugation" "the white man was to be honoured and respected" Sam Selvon- yet this was not taught,
"colonising the mind" - taking control, perpetuating values and assume others will follow. Internalising these certain expectations shows how colonialism operates discursively (subject to subject)
"Language carries culture, and culture carries...the entire body of values by which we...perceive ourselves and our place in the world...Language is thus inseparable from ourselves as a community of human beings." Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Fanon suggests that equality can never be met, despite attempts at anglicisation as the other is an
Man (self) black man (other) "a man was expected to [be] like a man. I was expected to [be] like a black man"
Freedom from colonialism requires challenges to the dominant ways of thinking
Turn to Theory
The discipline that we know today stems from the success of
. Although this should not negate the contribution of those before such as Fanon and Ngugi (among others)
Three forms of textual analysis become popular in the 80s & onwards:
Re-reading canonical texts, to see if past representations perpetuated or questioned the latent assumptions of colonial discourse.
Either with writers who dealt with colonial themes and argued their support/critique. ("Fleshing out and assessing [a text's] worldliness", Harrison)
Or those that are seemingly detached from colonialism, which are read provocatively.
Poststructuralist thought who look at the representation of the representation of colonised subjects across a variety of colonial texts.
Colonialism and resistance; a focus on Bhabha and Spivak
The 3rd form of analysis: The Empire writes back
Contrasted against liberal humanist readings postcolonial literatures are politically radical and locally situated rather than universally relevant.
This is where Commonwealth was dropped for postcolonial - to show a change in critical belief.
Reading new literatures from once colonised countries, focusing on their purpose of writing back to the centre - attempting to question colonial discourses.
The Empire writes back, written by 3 Aussies, takes on Rushdie's argument that language needed to be decolonised.
Literature from once colonised countries are concerned with challenging the language of colonial power, un-learning its world view and producing new modes of representation
Writers seen to be refashioning the language to create a sense of self made identity
Creation of 'englishes' by using untranslatable words in texts, glossing obscure tems, changing syntax and different structures.
Gender; neglects their differences, despite the sexes experiencing post-coloniality differently (McClintock). The same can be said for class differences.
Regional/National difference; little attempt to differentiate divergent places. Assumes homogenised experience globally.
Is writing back prevalent? assumption that all texts challenge colonial discourse. Neglects issues apart from European colonisation.
Literature not the only form of challenge. Cultural activities too allow representations of the people. That postcolonialism is transformative, although can still be subjected to containment.
Postcolonialism: definitions and dangers
Re-reading texts from those that colonised, addressing the Empire directly or not
cultural texts from those who have migrated from countries w/ a history of colonisation or those descended from migrant families (diaspora experience) and its consequences
cultural endeavours from those from historically colonised localities, those concerned w/ its workings and legacy and their resistance (past + present)
It is not the same as after colonialism; it maintains a stake in past, present and future.
Reading does not just involve texts but in a wider sense incorporating other creative endeavours and postcolonialism leads us to a debate not a consensus.
No totality should be presumed, heterogenity runs throughout all parts (country/area/person/sexuality etc)
Ideology assigns roles to others in a way that it is felt should be accepted and internalised by the 'other' as proper.
Power is more than punitive (as punishment) but also gratifying. By enabling some and incorporating the colonised as part of the Empire self-worth overrides the more coercive and oppressive tactics of colonialism.
The realm of knowledge is inseparable from the influence and operation of power.
Discourses (derived from Foucault) make and shape the world. They are not modes of reflection but agents of creation - bound by the interests and services of power.
Reading Discourse in Context: Colonial Discourse Analysis
Attention to the machinery of colonial discourses; which provides a means of collecting resistance to the continuation of colonial representations which reamin after it has left.
Dares to point out the extent which the 'very best' western high culture is caught up in the sordid (dirty, morally distasteful) history of colonial exploitation.
Places a text in history by exposing how their ideological and historical contexts influence the production of meaning with literary texts and how these representations have the power to influence their historical moment.
refuses the humanist assumption that literary texts (can) exist above & beyond their historical contexts - always bound by them.
NB: Orientalism is not the same as colonial discourse
Binary oppositions used as definitions: occident/orient, civilised/uncivilised.
The Orient comprises of North African and Middle Eastern countries. A collective noun that homogenises them. Orientalism is the West's representations of the Orient.
A duty for the West to civilise the East - who are incapable of rule.
Generalized observation of Eastern culture to define the West through opposition.
The East is a place of pure human culture.
Their purity makes them inferior.
The Shape of Orientalism
construction of binary oppositions, an unequal dichotomy.
Latent & Manifest; latent - the beliefs which stay constant over time (like a blueprint). manifest - those ideas which are produced at different historical moments (differing representations derived from the blueprint).
Legitimating & Self-perpetuating; justifies Western colonial rule and is bound to the structure of political domination.
Literary and Creative; enables new forms of representation and genres of writing alongside political and economic theory.
Institution; the fabrications become facts and enable academic and institutional infrastructures.
Western fantasy, a fabrication of the Orient based on dreams and fantasies. Imposition of a western 'reality'.
Timeless; remote from the enlightening process of historical change, "Orientalism assumed an unchanging Orient" Said.
Degenerate; weak - cowards, lazy, untrustworthy, fickle, lust, violent.
Femininity; the East as a whole is feminised - passive/ exotic/ luxurious/ sexually mysterious/tempting. Sexualised vocab. used too eg. penetrated (the east), passion, possessed, ravished. Allows men to indulge in the immoral graphic presented by Orientalism.
Gender assumptions; men are 'insufficiently' manly - play toward the western idea of femininity. Women are exoticised, often nude or partially clothed - immodest, immoral and sexually active they hold the key to mysterious exotic sexual desire
Assumptions of people; individual qualities and feelings are dismissed. Your race defines you equally (homogenisation). EG: Arab = violent, Indian = lazy, African = sex obsessed.
Strange; unusual, fantastic, bizarre. At once both mysterious and intriguing whilst also cementing its place as inferior.
Ahistorical; how can you homogenise 6 centuries? Not all countries will have experienced the same things nor will a country over different periods. Dismisses individuality
Neglection of gender; women are dismissed, despite their experience probably differing to men. The position of women in Orientalis is different due to tensions with gender discourses alongside colonial ones. (women are empowered by colonialism but oppressed by patriarchy)
Ignores resistance from the West; not all literature in the West was in favour of colonialism, no room for "counter-hegenomic thought", Gramsci
Ignores colonised resistance; looks from active west to passive east, ignoring those who wrote against the empire (Writing back to the centre). This is a large failure.
Ambivalence & Mimicry
Stability of colonial discourse can be questioned (as Bhabha does), as counter-hegemonic/orientalist thinking can occupy a text alongside Orientalist beliefs.
(Dennis Porter on The Seven Pillars of Wisdom)
Bhabha agrees with Said that colonial discourses are characterised by assumptions which aim to justify colonial settlement. 'to construe the colonised as a population of degenerate types'. However Bhabha believes that this aim is never fully met, as discourse of colonialism pulls in two directions at once.
The 'colonised subject' is radically strange and a cause of curiosity. They are the other.
Yet discourse attempts to domesticate these differences bringing them within a Western understanding.
So at once the 'other' is both radically different but capable of being understood, leading to instability and ambivalence.
The colonised subject is always in motion. Inbetween the notions of similarity and difference, rationality and fantasy; hence the need for stereotypes to provide a fixed position for the other.
This position needs to be frequently repeated to secure colonialism's position but at the same time it betrays the fact it can never fully succeed in its endeavours.
"one of the most elusive and effective strategies of colonial power and knowledge" Bhabha
"to be Anglicised is emphatically not to be English" Bhabha
Where the colonised subject threatens the colonial authority their discourse assumes. Focus on the British need of natives and thus teaching them English. Indian's becoming 'mimic men' as they take on western intellect and culture - they are Anglicised.
Mimic men menace colonial discourse as they become neither western or other but something in-between - creating a worrying threat of resemblance.
If the other can learn the language and take on it's culture, how exclusive is it to the coloniser?
Binary oppositions are broken and never truly met due to the colonisers need of the other. The discourse is full of anxieties.
The Overland Mail; R. Kipling
inhospitable and at dusk.
dangers (robbers, the jungle and tigers)
Nature itself is dangerous and destructive
The higher the runner gets the more precarious
3 major observations
Where is everyone?
No landscape is completely devoid of people.
Kipling only refers to those that are important to the British (the runner and their obstacles). A limited perception and selective envisioning of space.
India is wild.
It's inhospitable until in the presence of the British - who are associated with light, the break of day.
India is the sinister darkness that Britain conquers.
There is a rise through the landscape - figuratively a microcosm of the British conquest.
The British have managed to scale the heights despite the obstacles.
The runner has to travel the same path.
BINARY OPPOSITION (Said's observation)
NIGHT/DAY, WILD/CIVILISED, BELOW/ABOVE
+ve Runner; trustworthy, reliable, competent
-ve Runner; could be the robber, no name, performing a duty of service, no other purpose
Constant threat of the robber (who is closely linked with the runner) - stealing important documents that could be read by the native intellectual.
Power & role reversal as the Runner brings the Empire's message to the British
Menacing duplicity, the colonised as able as the British - worrying resemblance
Reliance on the colonised
Acknowledgment of possible disobedience
Now we are comfortable with nations being a collection of countries separated by borders, but borders are not accidental. They are constructed and defenced. Nations are fabrications.
The nation as an idea;
"an imagined political community" Anderson
"the members of even the smallest nations will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them"
but they think they are a part of a great collective, holding a
traditions, rituals, narratives and symbols
manufacture, by performance and
, the idea of mutual belonging
Nations homogenise: fashion unity and togetherness, through the invention of tradition (eg. flags & anthems).
This includes their narrative which is selective of their history, creating one version of the past which is the only one that matters. Dismissing difference in individuality and the many other historical narratives.
This leads to certain days being celebrated as a fundamental part of their history (Independence day, Guy Fawkes Night, Labor Day) - enshrining an idea of the past whilst bringing together the people of the present.
Language, space and time
A national language (although widely debated) is paramount to national collectivity.
Imagining the nation displays specific features, shown well by 2 modern forms of writing.
Realist novel: characters along the same temporal plane in a book, who never meet but are a part of society in one place. (microcosm of reality)
Newspapers: create communities from coincidence. Record events that happen roughly around the same time and normally in the previous 24 hours. This is then bound also by location - British newspapers will majoritively focus on events that occur within its borders (with a separate part for global news). The act of reading itself is collective within a nation - as we read it we know that others too are doing the same. A collective activity.
Representations of the self by defining against 'the other' - who in this instance is anyone not within the borders of the nation. (although borders are complex and fraught with difficulty when used to aid the creation of a nation)
"deep, horizontal comradeship"
Liberation & Domination
The +ve force of anti-colonialist nationalism
"assert[ed] people's rights to self-determination and freedom from oppression" Thieme
The myth of nation is an effective tool of anti-colonialism as it provides a structure for the people to unite behind.
Various anti-colonial nationalisms - they are not the same in Africa, S. Asia and the Americas
anti-colonial nationalisms work within the boundaries set by the West, despite not recognising them before their arrival. Despite being effective it was also problematic (particularly in Nigeria).
Right to the land?
Settler colonies denied the legitimacy of 'Aboriginal people' claims to the land - Australia declared t
; belonging to no-one. Britain then imposed the crown and didn't need to propose treaties with the Aboriginal people as they had no claim.
Even when they began to fight back, they were silenced by their national identity being ignored. Not until 1992 was t
Those anti-colonial movements where indigenous tribes rallied region and race were suspended (but not surpassed). Gender hierarchies complicated the 'deep, horizontal comradeship' which placed people as equals.
Although these movements were effective they faced many challenges which were due to their in inherent beliefs and the ones thrust upon them
How do writers create a national consciousness in such a busy period of decolonisation?
Powerful method to forge 'deep, horizontal comradeship' through dissidence.
Césaire & Senghor
Pan-continental set of aims to unite peoples living in different places with a shared ancestry and common origin.
A discourse celebrating the value of being black
-ve connotations still lie with the word black : 'black-market', 'black-sheep', 'black mark'.
An effort to provide cultural pride, to value what characteristics they have in their shared ancestry - a heavy emotional bond with things
More than skin deep
- from the Caribbean - struggled to fit in to Senghor's version of negritude. Believes it should be measured with
'a compass of suffering'
, in that unity should come through shared
But this work is ambivalent to the essential differences of white and black people.
The oppressed discover unity in the simultaneity of their suffering, rather than with recourse to a common ancestral past - although it reains a valuable resource in the present.
Ultimate aim of universal emancipation from the hate inspiring power relations of colonialism.
responsibility of writers and intellectuals to forge new forms of national culture a part of the contribution to the development of the people's national consciousness
Rejects the call for nostalgic celebrations of a mythic African past.
Instead calls for a dynamic and vacillating (to and fro) relationship between past and present.
As national culture & consciousness are historical and dynamic things, fashioned by the people under particular conditions.
"Every culture is first and foremost national"
- presents an argument with pan-national/continental discourse of Negroism.
3 phases of the 'native intellectual';
, attempts at copying the trends of literature of the colonisers, thus ignoring the cultural traditions of the colonised. Identifying more with the colonisers they become estranged from their indigenous masses.
- dissatisfaction with copying the colonisers and immerses oneself in the history of the people. Yet this still sets them apart from the masses as they maintain 'exterior relations' due to their dismissal of present struggle.
, where the intellectual becomes directly involved with the people and their struggle. A dynamic relationship is created with the resources of the past and the present struggle. It is here that a revolutionary national culture is made.
The native intellectual must
learn from the people
(something we see later with Spivak) to reinterpret and reform traditional culture.
National culture is vital, unstable and always being regenerated. Creations which are
unique at the moment of production.
A national consciousness is needed before and after independence. As if intellectuals gain power and then ignore the interests of the masses for the interests of themselves they simply conform to the old colonial system of the elite, creating a neo-colonialism.
A nation reliant on the economically on the West (being whored out for tourism and creating trade links with corporations) cannot be said to be free of the mechanisms of colonialism. (complicated by globalisation)
independence is not an end but a beginning
Nationalist Discourse and Culture
The theories of negritude and Fanon provide several resources to the people;
make self-definitions as a right
offer the means of solidarity despite difference
value culture inheritance and current endeavours
offer the means to build alternative histories to conflict with colonialist representations
Innes found that nationalist writers tended to:
assert the 'existence of a culture which was the antithesis of the colonial one'
relationship between people and land to de-legitimate the claim of the colonisers
Some gender representations of partiarchy (conflict between fathers and sons) of the colonisers and the feminisation of the nation as a motherland (problematic)
Constructing national consciousness. Ngugi,
A Grain of Wheat
Concerns the achievement of Kenyan independence in 1963
A narrative of the people contributes to the construction of a national consciousness depicted on their own terms.
Central characters are of the peasant community and their memories allow Ngugi to examine how the struggle for independence impacted on ordinary lives. The masses are the focus (3rd phase for Fanon) not the leaders.
Submits to Anderson's unity of space and time theory, which is crucial to the imagining of a nation. Achieved by events happening in a specific location and people's memories serving as guides to what was happening at the time.
Kihika; the freedom fighter
. Similarities with the native intellectual. Makes use of ancestral learning and colonial education to oppose authority. Using Bible quotation he invigorates the present people, aligning him with the 3rd phase of Fanon's anti-colonial dissidence.
However is given a mythic status and this leads to issues with Fanon's belief that the intellectual always serves the people due to the tensions between the individual and collective action.
is used to show the disjuncture between heroic myth-making and the truths that they may conceal. He becomes the village hero in Kihika's absence and inhetrites the aura of the man he betrayed. The praise he receives (and the knowledge someone else is accused of Kihika's betrayal) lead to constant pressure being places on Mugo, who struggles with his guilt.
At his confession he rids the myth and becomes a villain - but a hero too for saving an innocent life.
Mugo's confession also parallels the anxieties surrounding independence. On one hand a celebration, on the other a disquieting day of judgement.
How do you proceed?
How do you reckon with those who committed crimes against the nation?
What do you forget and keep from pre-independence?
How do you move forward peaceably?
Echoes of neo-colonialism also seep through, as the ruling elite take advantage of the people, something Fanon warns of.
Mumbi, the mother, is therefore a maternal icon of the nation - a questionable action. Writing in English too requires analysis.
A child of both collaborator and indigenous persons represents Kenya as the fledgling nation. The child is sick; plagued by the ills of old Kenya.
Although debatable, Gikandi presents the growing dissatisfaction with the idea of nation and nationalism. Partly due to the insoluble problems that occur after independence.
Many new nations became divided internally, with civil war and micro-nationalisms...or failed to offer what it had promised through economic progression and social justice.
Imagining of a national people creates the potential
"straight jacket of...identity and homogeneity", Hardt & Negri
The production of a unified imaginary community can be both nationalism's greatest strength and its ultimate weakness.
The divisions that threaten once-colonised nations show issues with the concept of a nation itself.
Is it declining because of an increasing global society - with corporations and the internet?
A derivative discourse?
How enabling is it for a once-colonised country to be using Western formats in their dissidence with subservience?
The 'liberal dilemma',
Nations may promise liberty and universal suffrage but is complicit with undemocratic forms of Govt.
In colonial contexts this is problematic, as appropriation of the liberal aspects of the west lead to perpetuating the illiberal and colonial aspects of nationalism too.
The use of a western tool leaves them susceptible to continued colonial ideals.
however argues that independence does not lead to restructuring of Western society as this notion omits the idea that the people can restructure and transform the purposes of colonialism to their own end.
Chatterjee's 3 phases; derivation and transformation of the Western thought.
Moment of departure; Anti-colonial nationalism admits that European culture has attributes which allow progress which are lacked in the East. There is an attempt at marrying Western tech with Eastern spirit.
Moment of manoeuvre; embracing 'anti-modern' ways to scold modernising violence. Elite take on the forms & functions of the people to gain mass support to be in control of their modern society (ie. Ghandi)
Moment of arrival; 2nd phase realised, nationalist thought becomes unified, coherent and a rational discourse. The elite claim their 'modern' attributes are coterminous (of the same boundaries) with the pop. consciousness & enjoy the support of the people - unified w/ shared political aims.
However, co-ordination of the elite masks the neo-colonial power relation which Fanon warns of.
Nationalism, representation and the elite.
Questioning the neo-colonial elite raises two important points.
1: (following Fanon) replacement by the native intellectuals, who speak on behalf of the people but keep them disempowered.
2: Representations o the struggle only celebrate individual elite members, dismissing the role of the masses - the subaltern.
Nationalism, 'race' and ethnicity
Historically, divisive criteria have been used as a way of forming national identity - racial/ethnic/religious. This has rewarded some but restricted others who are not apart of the 'accepted' group.
'Race' is a human, political, construct. Skin colour has become the primary sign of racial difference, taken as evidence from natural differences (black/white).
Both used as a form of discrimination.
But both are used to posit a common bond/identity; which can be powerful for marginalised groups (Negritude)
Ethnicity involves; birth, social practice, traditions, sexuality.
'Race' and ethnicity are not the same thing.
xenophobia; those outside the nation discriminated on account of 'race'
aimed at those within a nation but are deemed unrightful/inferior - this can lead to oppression or in its extreme extermination
Nationalism and racism can therefore run alongside each other; perpetuating a concept that supports divisive processes.
Thus attempts at unification after independence can exacerbate existing conflicts between groups - leading to internal conflict.
(Nigeria; diff. ethnic and religious groups which has led to bloodshed and instability)
Gender & Sexuality
Nationalism is a gendered discourse, reverting back to older tradition to form part of the national consciousness in opposition to the colonisers.
This has led to problems with feminists; as cultural identity is formed with structures that they had been struggling against. (Mother India, Good Hindu wife).
A male chauvinism has been pointed to, in that using women as national icons steals them of their agency - with a dependence on the men in society.
Also posited that the agents of liberation are men and so the contributions of women are marginalised or dismissed (like the subaltern w/ the elite).
Sexuality is also invoked, re-enacting some forms of Orientalism. As the feminine is symbolic of the nation, so then the nation is penetrated/violated/oppressed - with a reliance on men to resist these attacks.
This has led to a rejection of nationalism as it fails women, in that they are still considered subordinate in a patriarchal hierarchy.
Men & women experience liberation differently and often it is men who reap benefits and are the agents of change.
The 5 Positions of women in Nationalist discourses;
1. Biological reproducers - duty to reproduce, replenish numbers of 'rightful' people. (those not of 'proper' ethnic origin steralized.
2. Reproducers of the boundaries of ethnic/nation groups - should not threaten national identity, stay with 'true' ethnic origin.
3. Transmitters of culture - educators to children of heritage and traditions
4. Signifiers of ethnic/national difference - used as icons; dismissing any contribution
5. Participants in the struggle - contrary to most representations. (particularly important as women DID contribute and resist patriarchy post-independence)
The Nation & Its Margins
Nationalist representations are highly unstable and fragile constructions which will never provide the unity they promise.
Simultaneous Double Narrative split.
; a fixed origin for the nation with a continuous history. Linking the present to past generations. Warrants the authority, legitimacy and primacy of the nation as the central political and social unit which creates a collective 'people'. People are an
; icons and symbols must be continually rehearsed to keep a secure 'deep, horizontal comradeship'. National culture must be endlessly performed, here people are the
of the discourse as they are actively involved in the cementing of the nation.
These are incompatible and so pull the nation in two directions at once and the homogenous 'people' fragments.
The pedagogical idea of a homogenised object can never be fulfilled due to the need of participants to rehearse traditions - which allows the subaltern to intervene and challenge dominant narratives and representations.
PLURALITY AND DIFFERENCE CAN NEVER BE BANISHED
Nationalist discourse require:
As coherence is not possible due to split positions the likelihood of unity is diminished and thus so is the idea of the nation.
Nationalist discourse must always be challenged (for Bhabha)
English in the Colonies
English language is part of colonial 'inheritance'
As the lang. of the colonial power it complicates its status as the lang. of an independent nation.
How enabling is it to continue with it?
In settler nations there must be a differentiation from the British standard.
"true function of an art and culture is to interpret us to ourselves" Judith Wright
Standard English is unable to produce the description necessary for once colonised countries, adaption of English is therefore crucial to constructing a national image and identity.
The status of indigenous languages have often been ignored, what power do they obtain? This can lead to internal conflict due to language marginalisation/ eradication.
Therefore with the change from English to english, a form of internal colonialism occurs.
"I have sought to master this language so that it would no longer master me" La Rocque
Ahmad believes that if this is to happen then it becomes THE national language and Urdu, Hindu etc are regionalised.
English serves the privileged, educated elite and minimalises millions of Indians who are not literate in it.
, Ahmad does not look at h
the language is used, dismissing the ability of transformation posited by J.Wright.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o is also hostile to English.
He stopped writing in English in 1980 as he felt the silencing of his home language was violent and destructive.
To dismiss a language is to dismiss a culture ("language carries culture").
Writing in English is to deal in the values of the opressor.
Ngugi belives English interrupts the creation of a national consciousness after independence.
Chinua Achebe however rejects Ngugi's theory.
"A language spoken by Africans on African soil, a language in which Africans write, justifies itself"
Therefore English is an African language due to locality changing linguistic conditions
Indigenous people were minimalised and died out (ie. Caribbean), it is therefore difficult for them to regain the language they spoke - especially as the most frequently spoken languages are foreign (Slaves/Colonisers).
This provides a different view to Ngugi's Kenya.
'Nation language' E. Kamau Brathwaite.
Celebration of poets who inflect English with new syntax, rhythm, sound and forms of expression found in African speech.
Crucially it is not an elite language, rather a language of the masses.
However it does not provide a strict Caribbean collectivity as it celebrates individuality and difference - there are no 'norms and limits' set.
However; does not look at gender differences and nor can it be easily adjusted to suit Indian or European ancestry.
Many central characters are of the elite.
His-excellency (self imposed title) wants to control information (Big Brother like) and this is not welcomed by the editor of a national paper.
His-excellency manipulates facts to push the editor out, who, undeterred, condemns the govt. and is subsequently shot by police which is covered up by the govt.
A friend then heads on a collision course with His-excellency due to the cover-up, when he confronts a policeman who is dragging away a young girl he too is shot.
The fortunes of the elite (male) are placed amongst other voices and stories, part. women.
Beatrice is pivotal, westernised and oppressed by patriarchy is sensitive to inequality with gender - through her Achebe draws on the male chauvinism implicit in system.
Beatrice disturbs the elite's autonomy.
Gender is also looked at in class distinction - with Beatrice talking to a maid who speaks pidgin, which questions how well Beatrice can represent the voices of others (Spivak discovers this issue)
Gathers a variety of voices from a nation without homogenisation. This is re-iterated in the structure, which switches between 1st and 3rd person narrative. As the story is passed between each person their strengths and limits are shown.
The idea of nation isn't rejected howeve
r, despite the neo-colonialism present.
The issues of how to conduct a nation without this neo-colonial problem is discussed in the final chapter.
Baby naming ceremony; switch of gender roles as the mother chooses the name (normally done by the male and also the girl is named with a traditionally male name). There is also a large audience of the subaltern, a heterogeneous depiction of nationhood provides an alternative image.
The ceremony is where performance interrups the pedagogica
Re-reading & writing English lit.
Postcolonialism is an emancipatory concept as it allows people to interrogate aspects of literature which had been taken for granted. Allowing re-interpretation through the eyes of those in the nation.
Education in India was more than just intellectually progressive (according to Lord Macaulay), it was a moral heightener too. Here we see the explicit want for native intellectuals to be interpreters for the masses.
This moral approach was also taken on by Evangelists; despite resistance to the denigration of India's own religions a Christian morality was subtly incorporated through the teaching of English literature.
Leading to Indian students being exposed to a code of values deemed Christian and universal but also identified with colonising nation.
Postcolonialism therefore, according to Mukherjee, allows people to question the assumptions laid down by the colonising power which may still circulate today.
Such as 'The Heart of Darkness', still taught as an American 'great', Achebe argues that it is derogatory and dehumanising of Africa and Africans and its continued teaching as a 'great' perpetuates Conrad's late-Victorian racism.
Prospero and Caliban have been seen as the archetypal coloniser and colonised (Césaire). They have thus been appropriated by these thinkers to highlight colonial dominance and postcolonial dissidence.
However this is not to say Shakespeare wrote about colonialism. Rather the text has become a resource to those writing about postcolonialism.
The texts however are also opened to new means of interpretation -
productive critical dialogue
Reading in context requires 2 things;
1. how are the contexts made present/absent
2. how do they intervene in debates of the time?
To read a text in its historical, cultural and social contexts is to relate to how it
dynamically and dialogically
deals with the issues it raises.
A text does not have to be located in a colonial place or make colonialism a central theme for it to imply the realities of the British Empire.
Western culture cannot be understood without recognising its fundamental investment in imperialism.
Mansfield Park (Austen); plantation material is central to the novel. Sir Thomas can be seen as a colonial landlord who can restore order of those 'beneath' him.
Borders (inside/outside, England/Empire) are dynamic and dependent on the other.
Consequences of such a reading reveal 3 things;
worldliness of culture
; literary texts emerge from and complex engagements with historical, political and economical conditions of the time.
encourages contrapuntal readings
; to understand a novel is written under certain assumptions. That it is dependent on factors that are not necessarily written about, which may be in opposition to imperialism.
3. The text should not be devalued because of the reading.
Jane Eyre re-read
Re-writing (Jane Eyre); Wide Sargasso Sea
Re-writing possibilities and problems
Bertha as the other to Jane
Jamaica depicted as hell on earth, binary opposition to Europe.
Satanic and beastly nature of Bertha
Colonialism & The Empire are providers (of wealth)
To read without colonial analysis is very much to be in line with Imperial thought.
The other must lose their lives to allow Jane (& others) to live as a heroine or to be pure & free
St. John, head to India as a missionary worker - there is impending death
Spivak: her reading underlines the investment in colonial realities which complicates the ease at which the novel can be read. It is much more sinister when associated with the slave trade - which is not explicit but implied (even more sinister as it is accepted as a form of income)
Is it Postcolonial?
To suggest it and leave it as such is counter productive, as there is a danger of imposing the present on the past.
It is not wise to assume the author's values and beliefs from a novel's. (eg. Shakespeare is not anti-Scottish despite Macbeth).
This labelling, importantly, prevents the ability of a text to be seen as challenging colonialism.
Bertha razing Rochester's chamber (and eventually Thornfield) can correspond with the 'Baptist War', where there was a slave uprising resulting in a razed plantation.
Bertha's wildness is symbolic of a failure to domesticate the other by the colonisers.
Bertha poses a threat to Jane's omniscience as narrator as she threatens to escape the life she is given.
Jane's inability to see Bertha's true form can criticise the lack of adequate colonised representations, merely painted with a coloniser's brush.
Re-reading is also done to consider emergent forms of anti-colonialist views;
Rhys is a colonial, despite her postcolonial attitude and strategies.
Bertha Mason central figure of inspiration (not to complete Eyre) and with this is allowed an image of her self, rather than one through Jane or Rochester.
W.S.S engages and refuses J. Eyre as an authoritative source, their relationship is both dynamic and dialogic enabling an interrogation of the agency of the 'classic' text to fit meaning.
Split into 3 parts and there is no controlling narrative
most is competition between Antoinette and husband.
Antoinette's husband lacks domestic cultural knowledge; which leads to him being annoyed and insulted
Husband wants to give knowledge rather than receive it - Patriarchal idealism but Antoinette answers back.
Marriage supposedly transfers the rights of representation over to the husband.
Rhys exposes the ways in which colonial discourses create their own alterity rather than reflecting on the actual reality. Whilst highlighting the extent to which the husband is ignorant yet arrogant and self absorbed with his ego.
Antoinette is the first and last narrator, containing her husband who is situated in the middle.
She is in danger of giving Jane Eyre authority as the text of inspiration; making W.S.S dependent on Bronte's novel, mirroring Antoinette's subservience to her husband's design.
This echoes the relationship with the Caribbean and Britain, Rhys' novel is goverened by Jane Eyre in a dependent (inter)relationship.
Complications to this relationship;
J. Eyre, a 'post-dated prequel, as it confuses the placement of Bertha.
Self awareness of making W.S.S independent from J. Eyre shows a future Britain reliant on their colonies (As J. Eyre is, with money)
Antoinette's name constantly changes due to her definition coming from men.
We cannot prescribe too much (such as calling Antoinette 'Bertha' and the husband 'Rochester' as this traps them in a definition which is what Antoinette is trying to escape from)
Productive critical dialogue, does more than 'fill in the gaps'
Source text as point of inspiration and departure but meanings aren't fully determined by source text
Resist or challenge colonialist ideas portrayed in source text
Reader is an active agent
Assumes knowledge of the source text, requiring educated reader
Re-reading always tethered to its antecedent, so can never be truly independent of colonial culture
The source text will always need to be referenced and so re-writings can never fully challenge their authority
Postcolonialism and Feminism
At once both separate and connected they both hold a mutual goal of challenging forms of oppression; patriarchy being the term which links their aims (implicit of colonialist politics and the main focus of feminist dissidence)
1st and 3rd world women
1st - rich, mainly western, privileged.
2nd - soviet union and allies
3rd - former colonies, economically under-developed
1st world feminism, although an
been productive as a way of highlighting and questioning the limits of western feminism
, especially in relation to 3rd world feminism.
Double Colonization of Women
Women are twiced colonized; by colonialists and patriarchy.
But this effects 1st and 3rd world women differently.
epitomise the West's perceived higher moral and civil standards.
Threat or violence to women is the most dangerous of insubordination
Western women also perpetuated the patriarchal colonial discourse due to the pressures on them by society.
'token travellers only' Kabban
Colonisers brought their own representations of society upon the colonised. This sometimes led to women losing the stance they had before, which was often of equal standing.
However gender inequalities are present in both cultures. E.G. Igbo tribe, women are only useful to preserve the male line, power is in the male ascendancy.
Postcolonialist female writers are challenged by the prospect of changing two cultures whilst being judged under them.
Do postcolonial representations perpetuate or question patriarchal values?
Argued that a male ethos runs through colonialism to postcolonialism, that both colonialism and resistances to it are male centred, restricting the freedom of women.
Feminism and 'race'
Black and Asian women aren't visible in Western feminism
When they are addressed it is normally under the idea that they need rescuing - this is a failure to understand their needs or consider social practices from their POV
Western feminists intervene, thinking their way is best, that they are enlightening, progressive and liberating.
(much like the colonisers thought as a whole of the colonised - a microcosm of the larger colonisation)
Western feminism has an ethnocentric bias, believing their beliefs are applicable to all (another instance where homogenisation causes issues).
There is a subtle 'white solipsism' (that only the self exists)
To stop this discourse women must be open to
from the 'other'. To try and understand Asian & Black female culture. (Carby - and later Spivak on the subaltern)
Limits of 1st world feminism
Can western women ever adequately speak on behalf of 3rd world women?
Spivak; an upper class woman from Calcutta.
Caught in the assumption 'what can
do for them?',
she felt she could speak on behalf of the oppressed because she was rich and free.
She realises that this is an error
, she should instead ask 'what can
1st world feminists often believe their gender gives them the right to speak for 3rd world women.
But she must
'learn to stop feeling privileged as a woman'.
Feminists must speak
not for them
. Be willing to learn the limits of their methodologies.
Speaking on the oppressed behalf can often be a self centred endeavour, to critique the self and the first world. But ethnocentrism is rejected by refusing logic such as only Indian women can speak for other Indian women.
3rd world women
Although a generalising label the can show how even benevolent and supportive attempts of engagement do not always empower women.
The 3rd world continues to be subservient to the West for a variety of reasons and therefore western feminism cannot escape these implications and so
must be careful not to replicate unequal power relations
with 3rd world women
However it is in danger of doing so in its analysis of 3rd world women.
all women exist as a
'coherent group with identical interests and desires, regardless of class, ethnic or racial origin'.
Est. so by assuming all women are victims of oppression.
'unified "powerless" group'
If women are perpetually victims then men are perpetually the victimisers.
'Universal womanhood'; the arithmetic method - if it affects a large number it is universal.
Frameworks of society are often use to further frame societies in a particualar way, wthout thinking that the framework may be inappropriate. Ignoring lived experience.
As objects of western feminist analysis 3rd world women are robbed of their agency.
Homogenisation never aids postcolonial discourses, despite the difficulty in avoiding it.
Can the Subaltern speak?
Are human beings sovereign subjects, with autonomous agency over their consciousness. (I think therefore I am).
Poststructuralist thought would suggest that our subjectivity and consciousness are constituted by the shifting discourses of power which speak through us.
Essentially we are not the authors of ourselves, our identities are written for us, our consciousness if constructed from outside the self.
Spivak contends that critics should beware trying to retrieve the 'subaltern consciousness; or it shall lead to the fault of Foucault;
Rerceiving the subaltern as self-defining 'sovereign subjects
Presuming that the intellectual is a transparent medium through which the subatern can speak (un-opinionated voicing)
Subaltern consciousness (like 3rd world women) is a creation of discourse.
All who attempt to retrieve the subaltern voice immediately compromise it
as they are complicit with the colonial discursive dynamics they try to challenge.
encounter the subaltern on their own terms. Instead it is done through dominant models and with this
the subaltern is silenced and lost.
It is further complicated with gender, as subaltern insurgency prioritises men.
Women's subaltern consciousness (according to Spivak's theory) can
be retrieved so long as they are looked for. As attempting to find and present them, mutes them.
Subaltern woman is
What should be challenged is the way in which they are silenced.
However, Spivak acknowledges that sometimes undesirable tools are needed for change - so to enable a subaltern woman we must first silence them in discourse to exemplify the need to not silence them.
Issues with Spivak
By neglecting the native voice Spivak
"restricts (eliminates?) the space in which the colonized can be written back into history" B. Parry
The more subaltern is seen as theoretical fiction the more their oppression and exploitation is fictionalized too.
The non-subaltern critic can do nothing positive, they must either leave the status quo intact or attempt the impossible feat of 'opening up' the other without in anyway assimilating them to their subject position or identity.
However, Spivak argues that it's not that woman did not speak but that others
didn't know how to listen
- as what they said was interpreted in ways which did not adequately represent their interventions.
We can only ever be looking in rather than participating in the subaltern narrative. Posing the limits of postcolonial theory.
Creative dialogues in P.Colonial Feminism
Despite being able to question whether 1st world feminism can be used purposefully for the 3rd world it would not be right to dismiss it outright. It does have its uses
A creative dialogue is possible, where 1st and 3rd world voices collaborate and learn from each other.
The insights of W. feminism can illuminate post colonial texts which in turn enable those feminists to re-evaluate cultural assumptions. Therefore creating a dialogue which is mobile and mutually transformative.
Although English holds -ve connotations, as discussed it does not prevent the re-interpretation and new ideas the language allows.
It is both
enabling and disabling
As black women (and other subaltern figures) intervene and participate in existing schools of thought they are provided with agency against the dominant discourses.
Sally Morgan; My Place
Autobiography set in Australia, exploring the history of Morgan's family in the wider context of Australian history.
As she grows up (amongst trying times; dad's death, money issues) she realises she is treated differently.
Finds out she has aboriginal ancestry; leading to her quest to discover her family tree.
Mother and Grandmother reluctant to talk of their past.
‘there’s almost nothing written from a personal point of view about Aboriginal people'
Australian history privileges the white (and the) male, Sally's narrative opposes this by voicing Aboriginal women's experiences.
The text evidences the 'double colonisation' we met before.
enables a feminist critique of the patriarchal values enshrined in historical representations of Australia.
White women too are oppressed by patriarchy but are complicit in the marginalisation of Aboriginal women.
Can the subaltern speak?
Morgan adopts an 'Aboriginal consciousness'
- is it hers to take? or is she creating a form of it herself, speaking
However embracing the Aboriginal consciousness can also be seen as an important political act - measured by an elderly women saying her explorations meant a great deal to the community as Morgan is proud to acknowledge her ancestry.
"You don't know what it means that you, with a light skin, want to own us"
Morgan can never know the meaning of her actions for the Aborigines - which splits a homogenous 'Aboriginal Consciousness'.
The political act can be seen as a way of building affiliations with Aboriginal peoples and involve herself in bringing their lives to bear upon the Australian history.
Despite the fact their experiences will remain out of reach of her knowledge she participates in a mutually supportive project of contesting patriarchy and colonialism - and helping the subaltern speak.
Significant number of voyages
by colonised peoples to the major European empires (African migrants in England trace back to before Queen Eliz. I, Blacks 3% of London's population in late 18th century.)
Throughout the 20th century, esp. post WWII, there has been a major influx in migration from the colonised to new homes in the old colonial centres. (Britain specifically employed Caribbean natives to fill labour shortages)
Others come to study or escape political and economical difficulties in native lands.
Definition has shifted, one referred to the dispersion of the Jews but now encapsulates global movement. (Keown, Murphy & Proctor)
Mark Shackleton: Diaspora as Theory
"migrancy in terms of adaption and construction - adaption to changes, dislocations and transformations and the construction of new forms of knowledge and ways of seeing the world."
Diaspora in postcolonialism is a new way of being, an emergent mode of perception and engagement with the world
Robin Cohen; diasporas are communities of people living together in one country who
'acknowledge that the "old country"...always has some claim on their loyalty and emotions.'
Collectivity and community are very important. As is the sense of
living in one place and looking to another
. There is an inescapable link with their past migration history and sense of co-ethnicity.
Generational differences prevent this being purely a migrant association, as although
some will claim British citizenship they also identify themselves and are affected by their ancestry.
Therefore more accurate to use 'diaspora identities' rather than 'migrant identities'.
Diasporas are composite communities,
dynamic and shifting.
Not without issues.
; in the wake of 9/11 diasporic peoples have continued to receive abuse due to new and remoulded prejudice of race and ethnicity.
They remain 'ghettoised' and excluded from feeling that they 'belong' to their new country.
e.g. Demonization by the western press and state institutions toward; asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants (Britain and Romania/Bulgaria)
Diasporas can also be
(using force/threats) as well as progressive. They are also
not free of internal inequalities of power and divisive prejudices.
Living in a new place will lead to pain throughout and on a number of fronts.
Home & Displacement
(British living Trinidadian); a rush for the boat taking people back to India. 'dream' and 'illusion' repeated.
Migration alters how they think of their old and new home.
Creating imaginative as well as material consequences;
India viewing Trinidad - opportunity & promise
Indians in Trinidad - miserable working conditions, home sick
Migrants can seem to forget the reasons for leaving.
'Home' exists in the mind and is unreachable for the migrant place beyond the physica
'home' is a mythic place of desire in the diasporic imagination. A place of no-return. Brah
India for Naipu is an illusory place despite its emotional significance. Therefore migration affects generations of the future, creating long lasting effects.
Migration is not an interval between fixed points of departure and arrival but
a mode of being in the world
Migrancy and diaspora describe perpetual conditions that release new knowledge and ways of being, describing more than a finite journey.
What happens to the idea of 'home' for the traveller?
Rushdie; attempted to bring Bombay, his past home, into the present through writing.
Those out of home and language may feel an intensified detachment.
Imaginations of home made in
'broken mirrors, some of whose fragments have been...lost'
The migrant occupies a displaced position. How can they find a home when;
politics and society prevent belonging
ideas of their past home prevent a full idea of home where they are
Home is not a stable and stabilising concept
but exclusionary and troublesome (rootedness)
To be a migrant or live in a diasporic community is to live without borders and beyond the notions of being at home or in a place.
Descendents of migrants can suffer similar oppression and generalisation, due to pre-conceived notions of a place, as their parents and grandparents. (the second class citizen)
"we are Pakistanis, but you, will always be a Paki"
both belongs to and does not belong to this group (by use of the derogatory term)
Migrants to live
'of, and not of'
Ideas of belonging cannot be applied in a diasporic context, new ways of creating identity are needed to be free of inaccurate assumptions and representations.
Looking toward nationalism we see that ethnic or racial discourses attempt an homogenised definition of a group. Yet these are unsuited to the world where migration history and experience can alter the individuals perception of the place they are in.
The migrant is therefore best placed to realise that no knowledge is totalising.
The world is full of pain and loss but also of immense possibility - a chance to gain new fragments of knowledge which challenge older ideas
The 'in-between' space therefore is one of possibility and creativity - to create an individual discourse and to constantly change routes as there is no fixed place.
Borders must have their dominant representations of history, identity and logic challenged by ambivalence and contradiction.
Focus on border lives.
Borders both separate and join different places, they are an intermediate location where once contemplates moving beyond a barrier.
Imaginative border crossings are as much a consequence of migration as physical border crossing.
Denial of binary oppositions (key in postcolonialist discourse), as crossing borders disrupts conventional patterns.
Like Spivak Bhabha
rejects a sovereign subject.
Identity is discursive - fluid
Subjectivity is discursively produced allowing possibility and re-formation
The new 'signs' of identity impact individuals and groups
Strays from 'deep, horizontal comradeship' which can fall foul binary logic.
Performance is the means to negotiate the new hybrid identities
A migrant is an
agent of change
, employing received knowledge in a re-formed way. 're-staging the past' - ensures traditional knowledge isn't dismissed.
Identity through hybridity denies singular or pure identity - it is dynamic and never total
They are never complete, perpetually in motion.
"introduces other, incommensurable cultural temporalities into the invention of tradition. This process estranges any access to an original identity or "received" tradition." Bhabha
The ability to disrupt received ways of thinking at the border (like performance with pedagogical thinking in nationalism) allow individuals, minimalised to haunt holistic discourse. (The subaltern speaking - as an individual in a globalised society). This is why literature is important as it is a tool that can enable this disruption - also allows the absent to have their voice heard (again the subaltern)
Hall's work comes from sociology and cultural studies rather than literary works.
Like Bhabha keen to show diasporic and migrant cultures through hybriditiy, motion and multiplicity.
Focus on Britain's black community and less so on defining it as postcolonial.
Identifies two overlapping (but separate) phases, to show how 'blacks' represent themselves in response to racism and marginalisation.
- used to untie those of different minorities or racial background to create resistant communities (not unlike negritude).
Creation of a common Black experience, a 'singular & unifying framework' based on identity being formed across cultural and community differences
Created a positive representation of the black community by the black community (however does so through homogenisation).
- as the '
essential black subject' is questioned.
Instead diversity of subjective positions, social experiences and cultural identities are asserted. (celebration of heterogenity).
Diasporic black identities are multiple and fluid (like any diasporic identity) with their own inner tensions thus the black writers and artists no longer represent the community.
How can the community construct politics that do not homogenise but still promote diversity and solidarity?
Hall suggests that the 'essential black subject' and homogenisation of the black community has been useful politically, despite its rejection of individuality.
1st phase: Production of diasporic community: How are they organised and who organises them?
2nd phase: opens the debate concerning the variety of people in a diaporic community - is everyone reprented?
Hybrid identity allows for a change in identity for all people, not just diasporas.
LGBT blacks allowed the paradigm shift from generalised black community to a flexible framework.
Brah's Diaspora Space
Discourse of power can still seek to legitimate certain forms of identity and prevent the emergence of particular self-identified identities but the diaspora space allows a challenge to this power and the ability to capture identity of the self.
a complete questioning of fixity within a place
Diversity Difference and the Black Atlantic
Identity is not only created by ourselves but by others too. In Diaspora identities, dominant discourses of 'race', ethnicity, class, nation and gender in the
West can militate against the embracing of hybrid identity, by fixing them into certain positions
- akin to the 'other' in Orientalism.
Colonialism can still maintain a discourse in a colonial nation by which they can represent diasporas.
Depict the West as tolerant where all cultures are happily accommodated - but it is argued 'cultural diversity' shadows the continued inequalities experienced by migrants. It is a tool of the media.
Analogy of a beehive; Dabydeen
A number of different groups (in London) that are confined to their cells - with little cross cell communication.
London is culturally diverse but 'cultural diversity' becomes recreational (going for a Chinese/Indian takeaway). Very little cultural
Bhabha - borders between cultures are porous,
not static with 'pre-given cultural contents and customs'. Advocated the use of
- where culture is fluid, hybrid.
A culture being interactive and constantly re-composed is a political act. It matters how we conceptualise difference.
has one key response to the question that continues here from 'New Ethnicities', how are communities built which don't homogenise? Can there be solidarity through difference?
Transnational connections, crossings, tensions and affiliations between black people located and moving between Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas and Britain.
Gilroy shows the extent to which black thinkers affected the development of the West, ridding the idea that it is racially and ethnically homogenous.
Gilroy pits the transnational quality of black history and experience against those ideas of community grounded in mistaken ideas of purity or cultural essentialism. He suggests that ‘
cultural historians could take the Atlantic as one single, complex unit of analysis in their discussions of the modern world and use it to produce an explicitly transnational and intercultural perspective’
- due to blacks having an ancestry of travelling.
The use of trans- and inter- expose borders as porous, across which ideas are moved and changed.
This again promotes hybridity when challenging notions of home, belonging, roots and 'race'.
The ship - symbolises a living, micro-cultural, micro-political system in motion. Bears witness to black oppression whilst also circulating possibilities and ideas around the globe.
Gilroy believes 'routes' are better for black identities than the notions of roots and rootedness - which are applied from colonial discourses.
There is still a necessity for black resistance.
How to do this without homogenisation?
'Solidarity through difference'
can be built upon by plotting
how those in one place use the resources and ideas of people (from history or different locations)
in order to challenge dominant discourses. Creates finite acts of local resistance which are constantly updating.
Beryl Gilroy; Boy-Sandwich
British born black teenager, gap year to care for grandparents - going to Cambridge.
Goes to a party - it is attacked by racists and his girlfriend is badly burnt.
A year before his brother had been killed in a racist attack.
Thus he decides to leave London when he finds a hidden fortune - which is applauded by the media (demonization) but he comes back.
Sobering picture of black diaspora experience in London. Family has not been welcomed or allowed to settle.
Tyrone feels 'of, and not of' London - too often oppressed on behalf of his race but its where he has lived his whole life.
Sees the island of his ancestry as an imaginary homeland, taking refuge in it. But he does not have 'interior knowledge' of his grandparents, the obsession with island stunts his identity.
The finding of a valuable painting called 'The Masks' (Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks comes to mind) enables his move. It's crossing - from Caribbean to EU and then to an unknown buyer - provide resources for Tyrone to rethink his identity in terms of routes not roots.
He comes to realise that the Island cannot frame his diasporic present and this provides him with the new knowledge that he must return to his birth place - creating a new, transnational, route.
Boy-Sandwich brings to crisis ways of thinking about identity as a ‘certainty’ with secure roots, an accessible home and a continuous relationship between past and present, by showing that it does not work for migrant and diasporic peoples.
The Limits of Post Colonialism
Limits of temporality
The prefix of post has too many troubling associations, in particular those to do with the representation of historical time implied by it.
It is prematurely celebratory.
; although postcolonialism often challenged binary oppositions, it itself perpetuates them with colonialism/postcolonialism.
Non-European cultures become historicised with relation to European chronology.
There are other ways of dividing historical moments - which do not privilege colonialism.
Argued that global corporations are the new 'colonists' in the 20th century.
The global economic relationships between 1st and 3rd world reflect colonialism in the present and so postcolonialism is not as sufficient as neo-colonialism due to a lack of political content which can account for military actions.
1. postcolonialism refers only to aesthetic practices; representations, discourses and values
2. it is not a historical marker
Confusion as it is simultaneously used to describe the material world and the imaginative products and practices of it.
Limits of Geography
1. Postcolonialism submits to the geographical divisions of Commonwealth literature.
By submitting to Commonwealth divisions Britain (or colonial centres) continue to be privileged.
How radical is postcolonialism if it privileges select countries of colonialism, submitting to a colonial mapping of the world.?
But postcolonialism has expanded its scope and privileging has gone; such as the inclusion of Ireland today.
Even Scottish and Welsh literature has been seen as postcolonial.
Therefore it is not that it is restricted by a Commonwealth map but that new contexts and intercultural relations are being considered in the light of postcolonial concepts and thought.
Expansion from Anglophone to Francophone, Dutch and Hispanic too.
However, one of the issues with postcolonialism is that it can sometimes become detached from its historical and geographical referents and thus use of Commonwealth mapping may not be such a bad thing.
2. It does not discriminate sufficiently between different experiences of colonialism
The collecting of 3rd world literature under postcolonialism is the main exponent of this.
Postcolonialism levels the 'critical differences' within and between nations. The gathering of diverse peoples under postcolonial neglects their individual historical outcomes.
Skimming over issues and refusing to look at them in depth - as with the continued primacy of men and neglect of women's contributions.
Generalisation is perhaps its biggest weakness
It is too prescribed and anchored - there must be better concepts of which to more accurately explore discovered discourses
Problem with Western Theory
Prioritising western modes of thought
Secondary colonisation by the west through academic imperatives and focuses on cultural difference (M. Mukherjee). The colonies provide the raw material whilst the west processes it under the title of postcolonialism.
Not all literature can be looked at under the lens of postcolonialism, nor is all of it intended to.
1st world critics of this very culture (Spivak)
Griffiths argues that the wish for Indian literature to be read with only local and specific frames of referencing is to deny colonialism happened at all - dismissing millions
2 approaches to Postcolonial critique:
that literature exists outside colonialism
that local concerns cannot help but be influenced by it
Each is condemned to neo-colonialist status:
refusal to learn from postcolonial insights
insensitive to historical context and happy to generalise
Ghetto of Postcolonialism
Courses in postcolonial literature are fashionable gestures, as the topic is broad it cannot be taught in a semester and there is little in the way of inclusion of intellectual challenges of the field.
Although this is an issue with the institution
Postcolonialism promotes a vision of the world which does not acknowledge sufficiently the ongoing foundational impact of capital and modernity on the contemporary world’s reality – and because it does not acknowledge this foundational impact it cannot offer any way of critiquing it. (Dirlik)
Postcolonial intellectuals do not want us to think about the relationship between intellectual debate and economic power because they do not want to be exposed as profiting from global capitalism.
Postcolonial novels and books on postcolonial theory are merely more commodities in the global marketplace, which convert cultural difference into safe and palatable packages, change nothing significantly and shore up the unequal global status quo of the twenty-first century.
Yet many critics have worked with Marxist theory for years and capitalism is a part of colonialism and postcolonialism (as seen with Globalisation)
Marxist inspired critique, R.J.C. Young very influential.
Postcolonialism placed alongside the Marxist-inspired movements which challenged colonialism and Empire across the world.
Most objected immediately to being colonised.
Indebtedness to first world intellectuals
Tricontinent idea neglects other locations sustained in the struggle.
Omissions to preserve his Marxist inspired theory also lead to perpetuating focus on nationalist, heroic figures. Ignoring the subaltern and being implicit in neo-colonialism.
Transformation of political, economical and cultural relations on a global scale.
Loss of borders as organisations work transnationally; IMF, World Bank, Coca-Cola, GM etc.
The fate of thousands of people can be altered by the decisions of those sat in boardrooms thousands of miles away, maybe speaking a different language or living a much more luxurious life to those whose economic fortunes are in their hands
Contemporary globalisation is indebted to colonialism in the communication networks, international relations and histories of migration and settlement which colonialism has bequeathed the present,
Globalisation presents new challenges to postcolonialism, but evidence suggests that it is beginning to meet those challenges in important ways that continue to resource critical thought.