India After Independence

Topics: Postcolonialism, Colonialism, Edward Said Pages: 9 (2924 words) Published: August 11, 2013

Postcolonialism (also Post-colonial theory, Postcolonial studies, and Post-colonialism) comprises methods of intellectual discourse that present analyses of, and responses to, the cultural legacies of colonialism and of imperialism, which draw from different post-modern schools of thought, such as critical theory. In the field of anthropology, post-colonial studies record the human relations among the colonial nations and the peoples of the colonies they had ruled and exploited. [1] Post-colonial critical theory draws from, illustrates, and explains with examples from the humanities — history, architecture, anthropology, the cinema, feminism, human geography, linguistics, Marxist theory, philosophy, political science, sociology, religion and theology, and post-colonial literature — to present the ideology and the praxis of contemporary (neo) colonialism. | |

[edit] Definition

Post-colonial theory — as epistemology, ethics, and politics — addresses the matters of post-colonial identity (cultural, national, ethnic), gender, race, and racism, and their interactions in the development of a post-colonial society, and of a post-colonial national identity; of how a colonized people’s (cultural) knowledge was used against them, in service of the colonizer’s interests; and of how knowledge about the world is generated under specific socio-economic relations, between the powerful and the powerless. Identity politics comprise the perspectives of the colonial subjects, his and her creative resistance to the colonizer’s culture; and how that resistance psychologically complicated the imperial-colony project for the European man and woman. Hence, among the cultural media to aid colonisation was the anti-conquest narrative genre, which produced colonial literature that ideologically legitimated the imperial domination of a people.

[edit] Characteristics

Post-colonial studies entail the critical destabilization of the intellectual and linguistic, social and economic theories that support the Western ways of thinking (Deductive reasoning, Rule of Law, Monotheism), of perceiving, understanding, and knowing the world; thus is intellectual space created for the subaltern peoples to speak for themselves, in their own voices, and so produce alternative conversations to the dominant “Us-and-Them” discourse, between the colonist and the colonized. Occasionally, the term post-colonialism is applied literally — as the period after colonialism — which is problematic, given that the de-colonized world is filled with “contradictions, of half-finished processes, of confusions, of hybridity, and liminalities”. [2] Hence does post-colonialism also denote the continuation of colonialism by other means — economic, cultural, and linguistic — by the “Mother Country”, which are relationships of colonial power that control the production and distribution of knowledge about the world. [2][3] In Post-Colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics (1996), Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins clarified the denotational functions: The term post-colonialism — according to a too-rigid etymology — is frequently misunderstood as a temporal concept, meaning the time after colonialism has ceased, or the time following the politically determined Independence Day on which a country breaks away from its governance by another state. Not a naïve teleological sequence, which supersedes colonialism, post-colonialism is, rather, an engagement with, and contestation of colonialism’s discourses, power structures, and social hierarchies. . . . A theory of post-colonialism must, then, respond to more than the merely chronological construction of post-independence, and to more than just the discursive experience of imperialism. — Post-Colonial Drama (1996). [4]

The Western Way of thinking about the world usually reduces the de-colonized peoples, their cultures, and their countries, into a homogeneous whole, such as “The Third World”, which conceptually...
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