*Material gratefully adapted from Gemma Costa’s 2010 “Postcolonialism” via Slideshare
¤ An extension of a nation’s rule over territory beyond its borders ¤ a population that is subjected to the political domination of another population • Militaristic ( the physical conquest and occupation of territories) • Civilizational (the conquest and occupation of minds. and cultures)
Most classical literature comes from the voices of DWG’s (dead white guys).
. and that means it’s usually written from the perspective of colonialism.
This makes it “okay” to colonize!
.The ugly reality of colonialist views…
¤ the historical story whereby the “West” attempts systematically to cancel or negate the cultural difference and value of the “non-West” (Leela Gandhi.
¤ Acknowledges an evolution in academia to consider the untold stories of the oppressed. ¤ Postcolonialism = a literary lens! The focus of this lens is upon exposing the injustices suffered by oppressed groups and the contrast between their worldviews/the oppressors’.
Topics and terms for the postcolonial scholar
-Social Darwinism -Eurocentrism -White Man’s Burden * What was thought to be an obligation to “civilize” non-European people -Racism -Hegemony -Exploitation -Counter-narrative -Cultural borderlands
Postcolonialist Criticism: The Literary Lens
►Examining colonizers/colonized relationship in literature ■ Is the work pro/anti colonialist? Why? ■ Does the text reinforce or resist colonialist ideology? ► Types of oppression ■ What tools do the colonizers use to demean or oppress the colonized? ■ What psychological aftermath are the colonized people left with? ■ Considering the present as well as the past ■ Is the author using the language of a colonizer?
including the relationship between personal and cultural identity within cultural borderlands? • What person(s) or groups does the work identify as "other" or stranger? How are such persons/groups described and treated? • What does the text reveal about the politics and/or psychology of anti-colonialist resistance?
. explicitly or allegorically. represent various aspects of colonial oppression? • What does the text reveal about the problematics of post-colonial identity.Questions to prompt postcolonial analysis:
• How does the literary text.
others. class. religion. and customs combine to form individual identity .• What does the text reveal about the operations of cultural difference . cultural beliefs.the ways in which race. and the world in which we live? • How does a literary text in the Western canon reinforce or undermine colonialist ideology through its representation of colonization and/or its inappropriate silence about colonized peoples? (Tyson 378-379)
.in shaping our perceptions of ourselves.
But it’s the history you inherited. That’s not acknowledging complexity.
. even one that doesn’t seem to be “about” race/culture. If it makes you uncomfortable. can be examined from a postcolonial lens.Warnings for the amateur
• Don’t be afraid to be critical of an author’s portrayal of race. • If you are white. this legacy can be difficult to accept. so learn to deal with it now. angelic culture to be pitied is almost as bad as demonizing.” Casting the colonized person as a purely innocent. • Do not get sucked in to “positive stereotyping. • Any text. there’s probably something wrong with it.