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Postcolonial Literature

Postcolonial literature 1. What is “postcolonial literature”? Postcolonial literature, a category devised to replace and expand upon what was once called Commonwealth Literature. As a label, it thus covers a very wide range of writings from countries that were once colonies or dependencies of the European powers. There has been much debate about the scope of the term: should predominantly white ex-colonies like Ireland, Canada, and Australia be included? why are the United States exempted both from the accepted list of former colonies and rom the category of colonizing powers?

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In practice, the term is applied most often to writings from Africa, the Indian sub-continent the Caribbean, and other regions whose histories during the 20th century are marked by colonialism, anti-colonial movements, and subsequent transitions to post-Independence society. Critical attention to this large body of work in academic contexts is often influenced by a distinct school of postcolonial theory which developed in the 1980s and 1990s, under the influence of Edward W. Said’s landmark study Orientalism (1978).

Postcolonial heory considers vexed cultural-political questions of national and ethnic identity, ‘otherness’, race, imperialism, and language, during and after the colonial periods. It draws upon post-structuralist theories such as those of deconstruction in order to unravel the complex relations between imperial ‘centre’ and colonial ‘periphery, often in ways that have been criticized for being excessively abstruse. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx In a broad sense, postcolonial literature is writing which has been “affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonization to the present day’ (Ashcroft et al, ).

In India’s case, this includes novels, poetry,and drama which were written both during and after the British Raj or “Reign,” which came to a formal conclusion with Indian Independence in August 1947. Although writing from India and other formerly colonized countries such as Nigeria, Jamaica, Pakistan, and Singapore has distinctive features, postcolonial literature shares some significant concerns and characteristics. Concerns Reclaiming spaces and places. Colonialism was, above all, a means of claiming and exploiting foreign lands, resources, and people.

Enslavement, indentured labor, and migration forced many indigenous populations to move from the places that they considered”home”. Postcolonial literature attempts to counteract their resulting alienation from their surroundings by restoring a connection between indigenous people and places through description, narration, and dramatization 2) Asserting cultural integrity During colonization, the indigenous cultures of those countries subjected to foreign rule were otten sidelined, suppressed, and openly denigrated in tavor ot elevating he social and cultural preferences and conventions of the colonizers.

In response, much postcolonial literature seeks to assert the richness and validity of indigenous cultures in an effort to restore pride in practices and traditions thatwere systematically degraded under colonialism. 3) Revising history Colonizers often depicted their colonial subjects as existing “outside of history’ in unchanging, timeless societies, unable to progress or develop without their in tervention and assistance. In this way, they Justified their actions, including violence gainst those who resisted colonial rule.

Revising history to tell things from the perspective of those colonized is thus a major preoccupation of postcolonial writing . Characteristics Resistant descriptions Postcolonial writers use detailed descriptions of indigenous people, places, and practices to counteract or “resist” the stereotypes, inaccuracies, and generalizations which the colonizers circulated in educational, legal, political, and social texts and settings. 2) Appropriation of the colonizers’ language Although many colonized countries are home to multiple indigenous languages -in

India, for example, more than 12 languages exist alongside English many postcolonial writers choose to write in the colonizers’ “tongue”. However, authors such as Arundhati Roy deliberately play with English, remolding it to reflect the rhythms and syntax of indigenous languages, and inventing new words and styles to demonstrate mastery of a language that was, in a sense, forced upon them. 3) Reworking colonial art-forms Similarly, authors such as Arundhati Roy rework European art-forms like the novel to reflect indigenous modes of invention and creation.

They reshape imported co Ionial rt-forms to incorporate the style, structure, and themes of indigenous modes of creative expression, such as oral poetry and dramatic performances. 2. How do you understand the term: “to docolonize the mind”? In my opinion this concept is related toa Postcolonial frame of reference. The idea of “decolonizing the mind” is one where an individual seeks to construct a reality outside of the Colonial element that has been constructed for them. The idea of “decolonizing” the mind relates to the individual experience of a social or political reality.

In this concept, here are certain elements of cultural capital that go along with Colonization that directly impac ts the individual. What is considered right, Just, tair, beautitul, acceptable, and normative are all challenged when one seeks to “decolonize” the mind and envision a Postcolonial world. This becomes one of the fundamental issues behind postcolonial literature, namely how does an individual define their own existence beyond a colonial one that has sought to define them for so long. Essentially, in the “decolonization of mind” one has to define themselves, a process that is challenged when one has been defined.

This shifting from object to subject becomes one of the primary focal points of “decolonization of the mind. ” 3. What is “diaspora” in postcolonial context? A diaspora is a scattered population with a common origin in a smaller geographic area. The word can also refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland. [2][3] The word has come to refer particularly to historical mass dispersions of an involuntary nature, such as the expulsion of Jews from Europe, the African Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the southern Chinese during the coolie slave trade, r the century-long exile of the Messenians under Spartan rule. 3] Recently, scholars have distinguished between different kinds of diaspora, based on its causes such as imperialism, trade or labor migrations, or by the kind of social coherence within the diaspora community and its ties to the ancestral lands. Some diaspora communities maintain strong political ties with their homeland. Other qualities that may be typical of many diasporas are thoughts of return, relationships with other communities in the diaspora, and lack of full assimilation into the host country. ] The word “diaspora” derives from a Greek word that means scattering or dispersion, and from that original sense is derived another meaning which encompasses human migration and movement away from a perceived homeland. In this sense, human history has witnessed various kinds of diaspora at different points of time, some willing, as in the case of those migrating in the search of better employment, a better life, and some involuntary – under the pressures of political or social persecution or as a result of natural catastrophe or of imperialisms.


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