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Annotated Bibliography Sample

Annotated Bibliography Sample

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Published by: mamcgill on Oct 21, 2009
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McGill 1Margaret McGillDr. Susan HilligossENGL 805.00128 April 2009Theseus and Chaucer’s Knight, Subduers of “Others”:Imperialist Ideology in Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale” No definition of postcolonial theory has bared greater citational weight as that by HomiBhabha: “Postcolonial criticism bears witness to the unequal and uneven social authority withinthe modern world order.” But such a definition is contradictory to the very field it attempts toexplain, limiting the field to the examination of only modern situations of subjugation andoppression. As Frantz Fanon pointed out, “colonialism is not simply content to impose its ruleupon the present and future of a dominated country,” essentially inviting scholars to excavate thesubjugated in a period even as far back as the Middle Ages. This annotated bibliographyattempts to capitalize on the flux of recent scholarship concerning both medieval and postcolonial studies in order to help me take Fanon up on his offer in my essay concerning postcolonial concerns surfacing in the medieval Chaucerian tales, specifically the Knight’s Tale.In my essay, I aim to argue that a close examination of the Knight’s detailed descriptions of Temples of Mars, Aphrodite, and Artemis reveals the modern stereotypical views of a colonizedother (as savage, feminized, and exotic, respectively), reflecting a deeply embedded imperialistideology at work.
McGill 2Works CitedBrown, Catherine. “In the Middle.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 30.3 (Fall2000): 547-74.In her fascinating article, Brown argues that the Middle Ages were invented to be anexotic, foreign country so that the Modern age could have a “convenient” Other against which itcould define itself. But while she applies common postcolonial concepts to the Middle Ages ingeneral, Brown issues several important caveats for appropriating or applying (like a coat of  paint) postcolonial theory to Medieval texts, likening the theoretician to the colonist, “as if thetheory’s task were to bring the marginal medievalism up to date.” Instead, Brown advocatesworking theory from the inside out, becoming “familiar” (most literally understanding this tomean “mak[ing] them as your family, your own flesh and blood”) with the texts. Brown also provides a specific approach that is tailored toward medieval texts – a hybridization of bothmodern theory (postcolonial theory) and medieval theory, as offered by medieval texts – that isrelevant to my use of postcolonial theory as an interpretation of Chaucer’s tale.Clifford, James. “Further Inflections: Toward Ethnographies of the Future.” CulturalAnthropology 9.3 (Aug. 1994): 302-38.James Clifford’s highly accessible and informational article, “Diasporas,” argues thatcontemporary discourse of diasporic practices must be wary of constructing a working definitionof the term by recourse to an ideal model: the Jewish Diaspora. Using a postcolonial approach toexpand upon a postcolonial idea (resisting against the utilization of an ideal to inform theexperiences of marginalized peoples), Clifford often undermines William Safran’s definition of 
McGill 3Diaspora, which is essentially a “strict” list of six characteristics. After offering Safran’sdefinition, Clifford methodically complicates each characteristic, ultimately proposing a more polythetic definition that might retain Safran’s features, along with other considerations.Clifford’s article also provides an interesting addition to the discussion: that diasporicexperiences are always gendered, an argument that is thought provoking, insightful, and particularly useful for an analysis of Emily and Hippolyta in “The Knight’s Tale.”Cohen, Jeffrey J. “Postcolonialism.” Chaucer: An Oxford Guide. Ed. Steve Ellis. OxfordUniversity Press, 2005.Cohen argues the validity of proposing postcolonial theory and concepts within medievaldiscourses, particularly stressing the importance of applying these concepts and criticisms to premodern texts from Medieval England. One of Cohen’s more interesting points (that anambition of postcolonial theory is to grant all cultures a coevalness) parallels Catherine Brown’sdiscussion of medieval works being coeval, and if paired, the two certainly would provide aninteresting discussion that is relevant to my argument, in that it qualifies my use of a modernapproach to a premodern text.Hamaguchi, Keiko. “Domesticating Amazons in The Knight’s Tale.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 26 (2004): 332-54.Drawing particularly from the postcolonial contributions of Homi Bhabha and FrantzFanon, Hamaguchi’s accessible and fascinating article argues that despite Theseus’s attempts to“domesticate” the Amazonian Hippolyta and Emily by suppressing their Amazon-ness so thatthey conform to the Western ideal (the sensitive, feudal lady), the Amazons merely comply by

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