All Things Postcolonial
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All Things Postcolonial
This page will examine how race and place intersect. It will also highlight post-colonial identity and texts.
Curated by Jacob Leon
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Lezley Saar’s “Madwoman in the Attic"

Lezley Saar’s “Madwoman in the Attic" | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

2012

Jacob Leon's insight:

The woman that created "Baby Halfie Brown Head" was Lezley Sarr. Baby Halfie Brown Head is featured in her art series Mulatto Nation. This is some of Sarr's more recent work. This exhibit is called "Madwoman in the Attic" and plays on Victorian idea of women as hysterical. The art work has some post-colonial elements to it.

 

This link takes you to Sarr's art gallery. 

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

2007

Jacob Leon's insight:

This novel can be defined as postcolonial because it deals with a historic look at Dominican identity. The present and the past are in perfect dialouge. Oscar is not your 'typical' Dominican. The past is always present with the idea of fuku, or curse, in play. This superstition can be traced back to the contact with the colonizer. This historical importance and acknowledgement add to the meaning of the text as a whole. Also half the book is written in Spanish, and even then it is specific. Diaz could be using this technique in an attempt to "de-colonize" his language. 

 

This link takes you to an annotated version of Oscar Wao. 

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Chappelle Show - Racial Draft

Chappelle Show - Racial Draft | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

2004

Jacob Leon's insight:

Chappelle's take on race and identity. Chappelle is genius for his skits which are usually racially charged. In this skit each race picks a celebrity to claim as their own. Some of the drafts are based on racial make-up. For example, Tiger Woods could be drafted by Blacks or Asians. However some of the drafts are based on "personality" or "white characteristics", like Colin Powell. I also just love it when Chappelle does white-face. He's a comedic mastermind. 

 

This link takes you to the Chappelle clip, 

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The Heart of Redness

The Heart of Redness | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

2000

 

Jacob Leon's insight:

This book was hard to categorize, but in the end I think it can be called postcolonial literature. While there is a big aspect of globalization, with the casino, the history aspect and shift between past and present puts it in the category of postcolonial. The examination of history is a major factor and The Heart of Redness is sensitive to the history and present. It is that doubleness that is required for postcolonial literature. Looking at the past and the present in relation to eachother. 

 

This link takes you to a summary. 

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The Rwandan Genocide

The Rwandan Genocide | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

1994

Jacob Leon's insight:

The Rwandan Genocide is one example of how colonization affected the people of Rwanda. Rwanda was first colonized by Germany in 1884 and then later by Belgium in 1916. The Belgium used a nasal index to classify who was racially superior. The Belgiums believed that the Tutsi were had more "European" features and the Hutu were seen as a lower class. The Hutu were not allowed to recieve education and were barred from government positions. Eventually the Hutu would rebel. The Belgium set up a system that discriminated against Hutu. With the death of Juvénal Habyarimana the power was completely flipped upside down. The Hutu feared that the Tutsi would rise again and ordered a mass killing of twenty percent of the Rwandan population. A really good example of how ethnicity, race and identity work in a post colonial context. 

 

This link directs you to the History channel and a short video on Rwanda. 

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The Sorrow of War

The Sorrow of War | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

1993

Jacob Leon's insight:

I categorized this novel as neocolonial because of the historic background of the novel. Entering this war America wanted to prevent Vietnam from becoming communist nation. So the purpose for America's involvement was only for protecting our best interest. This is a common facade of neocolonialism. Colonization is achieved through an illusion of "democracy". This is simillar to Americas involvment with the dictator of the Dominican Repbulic Trujio. Again we see that as long as our interests are met then we will support that government. This type of colonialism is more dangerous because it is not as obvious. 

 

This link will take you to a summary of Sorrow of War. 

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Devil on the Cross

Devil on the Cross | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

1987

Jacob Leon's insight:

Ngugi is a Kenyan author, playwright, and social activist. His book "Devil on a Cross" can be considered, in my opinion, neocolonial literature. It is neocolonial because it highlights the problematic relationship between small countries and the world powers. This is one of my favorite books! Ngugi does a beautiful job of depicting a changing Kenya. Globalization also plays a large role in the novel. It the driving force of the antagonists of the novel. 

 

Ngugi's other book is more theoretical, "De-colonizing the Mind". Here Ngugi focuses on how language can be used as a form of colonization. Similar to Paulo Freires Pedagogy of the Oppressed 20 years prior. 

 

This link will take you to Ngugi's website.

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Amilcar Cabral

Amilcar Cabral | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

1969

Jacob Leon's insight:

Amilcar Cabral lead the revolution in Guinea against Portugal. This revolutionary figure can be considered "Post-colonial" because he is actually leading the revolution. Post-colonial hyphenated means that he focuses on the process of de-colonization. Other revolutionaries that would constitute post-colonial would include Che Guevara, Ghandi, and Kwame Nkrumah. Most of these people are the leading intellectuals of their perspective countries and also political figures.

 

This link takes you to Cabral's speech at the third confrence of the African people. 

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed

1968

Jacob Leon's insight:

Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" examines the post colonial relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. Freire focused heavily on the education system. He parallels educaion and colonization. The fourth chapter really captures the idea of conquest and how colonization can leave a devestating impact on a nation. In particular the conquest of the mind. Creating "knowledge" and defining what is or is not academic. Ngugi also wrote on "De-colonizing the Mind" in 1986.

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Black Skin White Masks

1952

Jacob Leon's insight:

While interacting with the Imperial Archive I found an author by the name of Frantz Fanon. "Black Skin White Masks" is a foundational text in the field of post-colonial literature. Fanon paved the way for other countries to examine their colonial relationships. "Black Skin White Masks" focuses on the psyche of the colonizer. "The central idea is that the confrontation of 'civilized' and 'primitive' men creates a special situation-- the colonial situation-- and brings about the emergence of a mass of illusions and misunderstandings that only a psychological analysis can place and define" (Fanon 66). This psycho-analysis of the colonial relationship will be echoed in the literature that would emerge after independence. 

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The Tempest

The Tempest | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

1610

Jacob Leon's insight:

If you've taken Engl371 the you have probably read The Tempest. Some would argue that Shakespeare critiques colonialism through the character Caliban. Caliban is the original owner of the land. His mother is the witch that was on the island before Prospero. Caliban curses Prospero's knowledge which has control over him. Shakespeare was even talking about the devestating impacts of colonialism...

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Black in Latin America

Black in Latin America | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

2011

Jacob Leon's insight:

Dr. Gates gives good insight into the complex realtionship between racial identity in Dominican Republic and Haiti. This documentary gives some context that would be useful for reading "The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao". Also some people have raised concerns about the way the documentary is presented. It might not hurt to read a few of the comments below the video to see some critiques of the film. 

 

This link directs you to a PBS video on the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 

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Souls of Mixed Folk

2011

Jacob Leon's insight:

"The Souls of Mixed Folk" obviously draws from Dubois "Souls of Black Folk". When thinking about post-colonial literature the racial barriers are usually blurred or skewed. This essay focuses on the mixed race identity (mainly half-black and half-white). 

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Rabbit Proof Fence

2002

Jacob Leon's insight:

Sorry, I couldn't find one with subtitles. This could be considered post-colonial film. This movie takes place in Australia post Australia act 1986. It is about three aboriginal girls that are taken away from their family and forced into an assimilation school. This generation was known as the "Lost Generation". Here we see that the government is trying to control the racial make-up of the Australian people-- keeping the best traits of the aboriginals. This system of racial control is called eugenics This science can also be seen as cultural genocide because it is forcing the colonized to forget aspects of their culture that do not match the European view.  

 

The full movie is avalible on youtube

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Introduction to Postcolonial Theory

1998

 

Jacob Leon's insight:

I was having a hard time defining postcolonial but this article really cleared things up. This is a reading packet for an introduction to postcolonial theory. This is the best definition I found:

 

"Over the last decade, postcolonial studies has emerged both as a meeting   and battleground for a variety of disciplines and theories. While it has enabled a complex interdisciplinary dialogue within the humanities, its uneasy incorporation of mutually antagonistic theories-such as Marxism and poststructuralism-confounds any uniformity of approach. As a consequence, there is little consensus regarding the proper content, scope and relevance of postcolonial studies."

 

There is no clear definition of postcolonial! Since there are so many ways of approaching postcolonial texts there are varying views. I even found out that there's a difference between "Post-colonial" the hyphenated and "Postcolonial" the singular. 

 

"Where as some critics invoke the hyphenated form 'post-colonialism' as a decisive temporal marker of the decolonising process...Accordingly, it is argued that the unbroken term 'postcolonialism' is more sensitive to the long history of colonial consequences"


So, post-colonial focuses or emphasizes the process of decolonization. While, postcolonialism focuses the history of colonial consequences. 


Then there is neocolonialism. This is a litte different because instead promoting empire and conquest neocolonialism uses capitalism, globalization, and the world trade market to colonize. It is simillar to the concept of "American Imperialism" I think we mentioned that in class. 


 

 


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Can the Subaltern Speak

1988

Jacob Leon's insight:

Can the Subaltern Speak is an article by Spivak that explores the blindness of race and class in Western acadamia. She argues that "'subaltern' studies is defined as an attempt to allow the 'people' to speak within the jealous pages of elitist historiography and, in so doing, to speak for, or to sound the mustied voices of, the truly oppressed". Representation vs. representability is also another binary that Spivak wants readers to think about. Who has the ability to represent? Should intellectuals "abstain from representation" in fear that they will eventually end up misrepresentating. 

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Imagined Communities

1983

Jacob Leon's insight:

Anderson's "Imagined Communities" explores the origins of nationalism and its spread. In the introduction chapter Anderson "propose this definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion." He continues to say that rather than judging these imagined communites in a dichtomy of genuine/false we should judge communities on style. We see this theme of conflicted national identity in Wide Sargasso Sea and the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Antionette does not fit in because she is a Creole-- after decolonization there was resentment towards Creoles. And Oscar does not fit the "typical" Dominican because of physical and character traits.

 

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Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

1966

 

Jacob Leon's insight:

This novel is marked as Post-colonial because it takes place directly after the 1833 emancipation of Jamacia. The novel also addresses complex issues such as ethnic and racial identity. "They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did. But we were not in their ranks" (Rhys 9). The novel starts with identity crisis. This eventually leads to Antionette's descent into madness. This psychological change lines-up with the works of Fanon. 

 

This link will take you to the Wide Sargasso Sea sparknotes page. 

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Things Fall Apart

1958

 

Jacob Leon's insight:

Highly regarded as the father of African literature Achebe's novel follows the tragic chief Okonkwo. Achebe tells the story of a tribe's interaction with white men. This novel is a perfect example of postcolonial writing. The text examines the history of colonization. Focusing on the initial contact with colonizers and the savage vs. civilized relationship. 

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The Motherland

The Motherland | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it

1883

Jacob Leon's insight:

So while researching post-colonial literature I came across the term "Neocolonialism". So while colonialism uses military force and conquest, neocolonialism uses capitalism, globalization and cultural imperialism. This reminds me of what we studied in class the concept of "American-Imperialism" which is a different beast than imperialism. The reason neocolonialism is so powerful is because of its hidden implications. Instead of directly telling you we are taking control, we control resources and the trademarket. Rather than controling a country America maintains relationships with dictators that serve the American interest instead of the countries interest. So I was wondering, does neocolonialism fit in with post-colonialism, or are they two different spheres? 

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Literature: Post-Colonial

Literature: Post-Colonial | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it
Jacob Leon's insight:

As I was looking for a way to define "Post-Colonial" literature I stumbled upon this. This gives a lot of good links to help frame post-colonial literature. I am still exploring the site myself so you should to! 

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The Imperial Archive

The Imperial Archive | All Things Postcolonial | Scoop.it
Jacob Leon's insight:

This is another good site that you can browse around on. The site is broken down by different countries that have been colonized. Once you click on a country there are links you can click on. There are essays, authors and even famous works that all relate to post-colonial literature. The term is very broad and I keep trying to deicde weather or not American literature belongs in post-colonial literature. The site has a lot of useful information like key themes or ideas in post-colonial literature. 

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