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Post Colonial Theory

Post Colonial Theory

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Published by: Dilshad Maarium Disha on Aug 25, 2012
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he Postcolonial Web is largely organized according to traditional categories: countries andregions that were once colonies of the British Empire, the authors who live in these countries, thetype of literature they produce, their influences, historical or political conditions, and so on.While these categories were implemented for ease of navigation around the website, they can,admittedly, overwhelm the fluidity, borderlessness, and transcultural implications of postcolonialism. There is only so much cross-listing can do on websites like the PostcolonialWeb.This new section on diaspora seeks to reorganize the links to documents on the website whilealso introducing new categories. By listing authors according to various general diasporas suchas the African or Indian diasporas, it enables one to appreciate how the sense of homelessnessand displacement has come to produce types of culture that are not geographically synchronous.For example, while the United States is not considered on this website as a postcolonial country,it is also the place where much of the diaspora culture is produced. Writers like Toni Morrisonand Ishmael Reed speak powerfully to the postcolonial audiences, but because of the originalcategorization schemes they have been left out of the website. Furthermore, where would wesituate the Indian born British author, Salman Rushdie,who has now made his home in New York?On this new webpage, I take the concept of "diaspora" disjunctively from two sources. In Appiahand Gates'
,the only diaspora that is mentioned is that of theJews (178-179). This appears to be disappointing because it omits the dispersal of so many otherpeoples around the world while lauding the Judaic diaspora as the only legitimate historicalexample. Nonetheless Appiah and Gates' entry is of significance because the Jewish diasporacontains a tremendous amount of tension and ambivalence that one can interpolate into otherforms of diaspora. Particularly there is no simplistic response to this type of diaspora. Zionismdoes not offer any solution to the diaspora -- in effect exacerbates it by fragmenting the Jewishsense of identity, history, and culture, while also forcing a confrontation between the religious,exo-modern sense of time and space with the more secular and modern conceptions of sovereignty, nationhood, and political destiny.When we examine Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin's take on "diaspora," it is possible to discern a parallel form of ambivalence and cultural fragmentation. For them, diaspora cannot be separatedfrom colonialism, as it was this historical condition that led to the displacement of people acrossthe world under different circumstances or forms of compulsion. Ashcroft et al. resist thetemptation of dividing the subjects of diaspora into two categories: the people from metropolitancentres who relocated to the colonial peripheries or the colonized who were forced back intocentres through processes like slavery. In effect the link between diaspora and colonialism is

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