Postcolonial Theory

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'Post'-colonialism

- What? The consideration of the after-effects of mainly colonialism on the structures of the world

- When? The recognition that although European colonialism - that is the running of other countries from a distance

- Where? In the engagement with issues if cultural diversity, ethnic, racial and cultural difference

- Who? Post colonialism provides a way of thinking about how to counter colonialism in its political and cultural forms

- The structure of colonialism and imperialism is still present

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Orientalism - creating the 'Other'

- In Orientalism (1978), Edward Said traces the way that Europe - specifically Britain and France ‘constructed’ the Orient, from the late 18th century, as a space that could be known, studied used as a theme in art and ultimately ruled over.

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Said: the textuality of the 'Other

  • Cultural hegemony - Antonio Gramsci
  • Discourse: Power/Knowledge - Michel Foucault
  • ‘The Orient was almost a European invention.’

The West

Rational, hard-workings kind, democratic, moral, modern, progressive, technological, individualist, and the centre of the world

The East

  • Sensual, lazy, exotic, irrational, cruel, promiscuous, seductive, inscrutable, dishonest, mystical, seductive, inscrutable, dishonest, mystical, superstitious, primitive, ruled by emotion. (Parker, 248)
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Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: 'Can the Subaltern Spe

  • Subaltern: refers to people with little or no power, without lines of social mobility
  • Spivak’s specific examples include women, and Indian women in particular, but the term can be applied much more widely.
  • Spivak raised two related points:
    - The subaltern is offend denied ‘a voice’
    - If the subaltern does speak, whose ‘voice’ is s/he using: a distinctive ‘own’ voice or rather the voice/language of the ‘oppressor’ (e.g. the voice of patriarchy/ the language of the colonisers etc)
    - No simply a question of speaking, but also of being heard
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Production of Stereotypes

  • Never truly real - lack of reality based on tales and myths 
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