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Copy of Post-colonialism

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tami corbett

on 28 June 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Post-colonialism

Considered to have begun 500 years ago
Arguably different than past imperial phases due to its scope and the impact it continues to have
Colonialism is one historically specific experience of how imperialism can work
"Colonizing the mind"
"...involves the reconsideration of colonial history, particularly from the perspectives of those who suffered its effects, together with the defining of contemporary social and cultural impact." (Young, 2001)
Loomba (2005) differentiates between "post-" and "neo-"
Encompasses poststructuralist, Marxist, feminist perspectives
Emphasis on language, place, and ongoing structural effects of colonialism
Different colonial perspectives from decolonized peoples, "settler" communities, and indigenous peoples.
Focus on 'derailing' accepted ways of thinking. The emphasis is on questioning the assumptions around what we read and how we read. (McLeod, 2000, 5)
Problems with "Post"
The hyphenated term implies a temporal phase
Bobbi Sykes: "What? Post-colonialism? Have they left?" (Smith, 2012, 25)
Linda Tuhuwai Smith: "...post-colonial discussions have also stirred some indigenous resistance, not so much to the literary reimagining of culture as being centred in what were once conceived of as the colonial margins, but to the idea that colonialism is over, finished business." (Smith, 2012, 25)
Canadian context
History of colonial domination (land alienation, treaty violation, forced assimilation and displacement) of indigenous people by settler-colonists (Coates, 2004).
Indigenous people face marked socioeconomic disadvantage relative to the dominant cultural group (Sengupta et al., 2012)
The postcolonial context is different than in places where native peoples overthrew their European colonizers and gained political independence. (Loomba, 2005)
European vs. Indigenous postcolonialism
Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak (1942 - )
"Can the Subaltern Speak?" (1988) - demonstrates how postcolonial studies continue to reinforce colonial structures of power, exploitation and domination."
"Is the postcolonial critic unknowingly complicit in the task of imperialism?" (Brown, 1998)
Western academic thinking is prodiced to support Western economic interests
All research is colonial, in the creation of the "Other"
Commonwealth Literature
The idea of a Commonwealth of nations suggested a diverse community with a common set of concerns
Assumed to reach across national borders and deal with universal concerns
Not interested in the alleged nationalist purposes of the writings
Historical, cultural, geographical specifics bracketed as background
Critics did not consider that these writings might be intended to challenge the Western status quo and standards of 'good writing'.
"The British Empire did not rule by military and physical force alone. It endured by getting both colonising and colonised people to see their world and themselves in a particular way, internalising the language of Empire as representing the natural, true order of life. " (McLeod, 2000, 19)
-Language becomes the medium through which structures of power are communicated, through which concepts of "truth" and "order" and "reality" become established. (McLeod, 2000, 19)
Frantz Fanon (1925-1961)
Albert Memmi (1920 - )
The Colonizer and the Colonized (1957)
Examines how the imposition of negative characteristics on colonized peoples benefits the colonizers
Depicts colonized peoples as victims and wholly unable to act on behalf of themselves
Blames the corruption and greed of local governments and leaders for the problems of former colonies
Edward Said (1935-2003)
Has been considered the founder of critical postcolonial theory
1978 "Orientalism", a critical analysis of colonial representations of how the West represents the East
Paid more attention to the colonisers than the colonised
Looked at the extent to which colonialism created ways of viewing the world
Examined how Western created worldviews continually justified colonial subjugation
Postcolonialism in the 1980s
-The beginning of postcolonial theory as we think of it today
-3 (primary) forms of textual analysis emerged:
A critical re-reading of English literary texts to see if these texts perpetuated or disputed colonial discourses
A poststructural examination of colonial-era texts to see how colonised people were represented
Postcolonial writings from the colonial margins that challenged the colonial centre
Place and Displacement
Healthy conceptions of self have been eroded by dislocation due to forced removal, migration, enslavement
In Canada, removal from family and place through Residential schools, relocation, isolation
Cultural denigration
Linda Tuhiwai Smith
Peter Cole
"first nations knowings and practices untranslated uninterpreted unanalyzed unfiduciated unfacilitated by mainstream other
are legitimate just as they are in whatever language
we are regenerating them having ourselves been forcibly filtered
through the many genocide machines of the newcomers governments empires
(personal corporate and academic) religions media
we are recovering from the effects of successive holocausts over a period of 500+ years
crimes against our humanity crimes which are even now ongoing visibly invisible
we are working in healthy ways with colleagues and friends who are from here
and who are indigenous to other countries other continents
we have learned that we have had similar experiences with colonizers
working together to make the world a more caring loving place
to live in and share in peace and move forward together in aboriginal ways
traditional ways that have always been modern" (Cole, 2006, 6)
"the following five seemingly blank pages represent the voices understanding wisdom
rights respect and humanity of the first people of canada over the past 500+ years
as acknowledged by the immigrants/settlers/invaders to/of this land
in the field of education health medicine law philosophy social justice family studies
ethics history language science politics environmental studies community development
the arts
and spirituality
please add in the spaces your knowings stories relating to aboriginal people
add out the silences silences unhearings unlistenings absences invisibilities
your contribution as a(n interactivist) reader is welcome and critically important
but you might want to use a pencil since as we all know
history seems to change with the whether (or not) patterns" (Cole, 2006, 7)
a nation's shame
terra nullius
no see um
sub liminal

forced migration
make way for

unseen invisible
canada's dirty

erasure extinction

Deeply impacted by his own experiences of racism in Martinique and France
Wrote passionately about the psychological damage French colonialism had had on millions of colonized people
Black Skin, White Masks (1957), The Wretched of the Earth (1961)
Colonialism is destroyed only when colonial-defined images of self are destroyed.
"On that day, completely dislocated, unable to be abroad with the other, the white man, who unmercifully imprisoned me, I took myself far off from my own presence, far indeed, and made myself an object. What else could it be for me but an amputation, an excision, a haemorrhage that spattered my whole body with black blood? But I did not want this revision, this thematisation. All I wanted was to be a man among other men. I wanted to come lithe and young into a world that was ours and to help to build it together."(1957, 112-113)
Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1938 - )
“Language carries culture, and culture carries, particularly through orature and literature, the entire body of values by which we come to perceive ourselves and our place in the world. How people perceive themselves affects how they look at their culture, at their politics and at the social production of wealth, at their entire relationship to nature and to other human beings. Language is thus inseparable from ourselves as a community of human beings with a specific form and character, a specific relationship to the world.” (McLeod, 2000, 18)
Salman Rushdie (1947 - )
"The language, like so much else in the colonies, needs to be decolonised, to be remade in other images, if those of us who use it from positions outside Anglo-Saxon culture are to be more than Artistic Uncle Toms." (McLeod, 2000, 22)
From the perspective of the colonised, the term "research" is inextricably linked to colonialism
Challenge for indigenous people to find their academic voices and have them be heard and respected
Many indigenous academics and activists refuse to participate in discussions of post-colonialism because they feel that post-colonialism is nothing more than an "invention of Western intellectuals which reinscribes their power to define the world." (Smith, 2012, 14)
"Decolonization is a process which engages with imperialism and colonialism at multiple levels. For researchers, one of those levels is concerned with having a more critical understanding of the underlying assumptions, motivations and values which inform research practices." (Smith, 2012, 21)
"The ways in which scientific research is implicated in the worst excesses of colonialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonized peoples. It galls us that Western researchers and intellectuals can assume to know all that it is possible to know of us, on the basis of their very brief encounters with some of us. It appals us that the West can desire, extract and claim ownership of our ways of knowing, our imagery, the things we create and produce, and then simultaneously reject the people who created and developed those ideas and seek to deny them further opportunities to be creators of their own culture and own nations. It angers us when practices linked to the last century, and the centuries before that, are still employed to deny the validity of indigenous peoples’ claim to existence, to land and territories, to the right of self-determination, to the survival of our languages and forms of cultural knowledge, to our natural resources and systems for living within our environments. " (Smith, 2012, 1)
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