Presentation on theme: "The colonial era also known as imperialism, lasted from the late 15th to the early 20th century, with World War 2 marking the official end to all European."— Presentation transcript:
The colonial era also known as imperialism, lasted from the late 15th to the early 20th century, with World War 2 marking the official end to all European colonization. During this time period European nations experienced a Renaissance of wealth and arts. The most prominent nations that are generally associated with colonialism are England, Spain, Portugal, France and the Dutch. The expanded power that these nations gained came at the cost of many developing nations throughout the Americas, Africa and Asia. The resources and peoples of these colonies were abused in a quest for power by the west.
The history of colonization was characterized by massive reorganization and appropriation of nations and territories in attempt to gain power. Many atrocities were committed to achieve these goals: Institutionalized slavery, racism, enforced migration, murder, torture and genocide to name a few. It was through a process of indoctrination that the Europeans were able to control the larger populations of natives. The cultures of these people were replaced by Eurocentric beliefs. These beliefs replaced the ideological, political, economic, and cultural values of the native peoples with those of their European masters. The effects of these losses of culture and nationality can be seen throughout the world today.
What is Post Colonialism ? Postcolonial theory is a generalized term used to describe the variety of events that took place in the aftermath of decolonization throughout various nations. Post colonialism as a study addresses issues of power, subordination, race, gender inequality and class warfare; but it examines how these issues still exist and linger far after the imperial powers exited the colonies. The ultimate goal of post colonial theory is to combat the lasting effects of colonialism on native cultures. It is not simply concerned with recovering these past cultures, but learning how the world can move beyond this period together, towards a place of mutual respect. Some of the most prominent theorists and authors of this theory are Frantz Fanon, Gayatri Spivak and Edward W. Said. These authors sought to expose and deconstruct the racist, imperialist nature of Eurocentric assumptions and thus remove the power of persuasion and coercion. Many of these authors found inspiration through Feminist and Marxist teachings.
Fanon is one of the earliest writers associated with post colonialism. He is best know for his books: Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961) In his books, Fanon points out the hypocrisies of racism that are woven into Western culture. Pointing to the fact that whiteness in western culture always equates to “ Virginity, justice and truth”. Fanon describes colonialism and its racist justifications as the source of violence and discord throughout the third world. This was a stark contrast to the Europeans view that the Western powers were saving the heathens from their violent natures and enlightening them to the truth of Western thought.
Best known for her lecture Can The Subaltern Speak The Subaltern refers to any culture that is in the minority. Spivak felt that dominant or hegemonic cultures tend to marginalize the Subaltern cultures, beliefs and ways of thinking. Spivak shows that practices that were viewed as barbaric from Western standards were outlawed without any consideration to the viewpoints of the native peoples. She coined the term Strategic Essentialism. This refers to a temporary solidarity among different peoples and groups among a culture in order to defend a common cause.
Known for his famous book Orientalism (1978) Said, in his book, creates a binary view of the world. He split’s the world into two cultures. He referred to the so called East as the Orient and the West he called the Occipital The thesis of the book was that Western views of the East had prevented the Eastern world from having a voice of its own. The West romanticized about the East. But this romanticism justified the feelings that the Asian and Arabian people were barbaric in comparison to the West. This viewpoint had allowed the West to colonize the Eastern world under the context of enlightening the “wretches” of the world. Most importantly, Said showed how these opinions had found their way into scholarly writings, as well as literary and popular fiction.
Jean Rhys made a significant contribution to postcolonial literature in her story Wide Sargasso Sea. The story was developed to confront Charlotte Bronte’s opinions about women as well as her opinions of the colonies. In Jane Eyre, Bronte depicts the colonies as hostile deadly environments. Rhys on the other hand, tries to depict these environments as beautiful and extravagant. Bronte’s portrays her main character Jane, a Western woman, as innocent. In contrast, she portrays the character Bertha as insane and evil. We can see how these views parallel a Eurocentric viewpoint of the colonies. The insanity in Antoinette/Bertha mimics the views the Europeans had of the natives as being violent by nature. Where as the view of Jane is similar to how Europeans saw themselves as being innocent and being surrounded by gothic, dark, chaotic people. Jean Rhys in her story is showing that Bertha was not naturally crazy. She shows that Rochester’s bigoted and abusive treatment of Antoinette is what drove her crazy. Just like we can see that the mistreatment of the native peoples by the Europeans is what caused the violent revolts in the colonies and not their so called “Violent natures”.
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