Presentation on theme: "EDG. Even though the term post-colonial has its origin in an academy that is not necessarily post-colonial like many other concepts of theoretical discourse."— Presentation transcript:
Even though the term post-colonial has its origin in an academy that is not necessarily post-colonial like many other concepts of theoretical discourse from the West, this too has gained an unproblematic acceptance in our universities in India, perhaps even more readily than many other concepts because it is supposed to involve us directly. After having been accustomed for a long time to being actors without speaking parts in the world arena of English Studies, it is both flattering and exhilarating for us to be allowed a voice…
…and to suddenly find that the present moment in our narrow local existence is actually part of a broader historical process of global magnitude worthy of being theorised.
[…] our professional compulsion to speak the same language and adopt the same frame of discourse that people from our discipline are doing all over the world, in order to belong to an international community. Thus, the faith that the transition from the colonial to the postcolonial is basically a movement towards greater autonomy may not be always sustainable. In the actual circumstances of our daily lives also we know that the territorial form of colonialism has given way to other and subtler forms of domination, in the realms of economy, industry, entertainment, culture and ideas.
A range of contemporary critical theories suggest that it is from those who have suffered the sentence of history – subjugation, domination, diaspora, displacement – that we learn our most enduring lessons for living and thinking. There is even a growing conviction that the affective experience of social marginality…transforms our critical strategies.
The nation as metaphor: Amor Patria, Fatherland, Mothertongue, War and Peace, I Promessi Sposi […]. There must also be a tribe of interpreters of such metaphors – the translators of the dissemination of texts and discourses across cultures – who can perform what Said describes as the act of secular interpretation. If, in our travelling theory, we are alive to the metaphoricity of the peoples of imagined communities – migrant or metropolitan – then we shall find that the space of the modern nation-people is never simply horizontal.
Translation does not happen in a vacuum, but in a continuum; it is not an isolated act, it is part of an ongoing process of intercultural transfer. Moreover, translation is a highly manipulative activity that involves all kinds of stages in that process of transfer across linguistic and cultural boundaries. Translation is not an innocent, transparent activity but is highly charged with significance at every stage. It rarely, if ever, involves a relationship of equality between texts, authors or systems.
It is, of course, recognized that colonialism and translation went hand in hand. For Europe was regarded as the great Original, the starting point, and the colonies were therefore copies, or ‘translations’ of Europe, which they were supposed to duplicate. And being copies, translations were evaluated as less than originals.
As the close relationship between colonization and translation has come under scrutiny, we can now perceive the extent to which translation was for centuries a one-way process, with texts being translated into European languages for European consumption rather than as part of a reciprocal process of exchange. Moreover, the role played by translation in facilitating colonization is now in evidence. And the metaphor of the colony as a translation, a copy of an original located elsewhere on the map, has been recognized.
Meanwhile, however, the old business of translation as traffic between languages still goes on in the once- and-still colonized world, reflecting more acutely than ever before the asymmetrical power relationship between the various local ‘vernaculars’ (i.e. the language of the slaves, etymologically speaking) and the one master-language of our post-colonial world: English.
The text under scrutiny is a chapter from a book published in 1965 (in the UK and subsequently in the USA) and written by Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana and a strong supporter of decolonization and pan-africanism. His full book has been transcribed and published in a website whose name clearly betrays an ideology and a socio-political attitude: www.marxists.org. The idelological position of the website owners, as well as of the authors there presented, is clearly visible in the chapter under analysis, whose main aim is to denounce, through facts and figures, the recent surge of a new form of colonialism, namely neo-colonialism, in all countries which were once colonized.www.marxists.org
As Nkrumah clearly states on more than one occasion thoughout this chapter, imperialism, or the renewal of colonial influences, has never disappeared but has rather “switched tactics”. And neo-colonialism is not “naked” as its more straightforward predecessor was, but rather indirect, not outspoken, and yet much more powerful and widespread. The author addresses isssues of neo-colonialism, mainly with reference to Africa (but often looking outside and providing more general comments and/or figures), by focusing on the different aspects of it which permeate our daily lives (investments, labour, education, etc.). The mainly informative, as well as strongly assertive structure of the text makes it hardly questionable by the readers, who are naturally inclined to accept the facts which are so powerfully provided and supported.
And if this last rhetorical strategy could make us foresee (and expect) homogeneity throughout the text (with no changes of attitude by the author), this is not the case. At times, the author intervenes directly and provides strong comments on the situations he describes, by utterly condemning its effects. He does not hesitate to condemn “the imperialists”, who have “made widespread and wily use of ideological and cultural weapons in the form of intrigues, manoeuvres and slander campaigns”, nor does he spare his criticism of the makers and supporters of capitalism (enterprises, right wing officials, etc.) as well as of religions.
Amongst the targets of his harsh criticism – which, incidentally, is openly in favour of socialism and socialist countries – he includes the present-day media and, indirectly, Western countries as leading the world in the output of media contents. My translation aims at… Therefore, it could be published in… The preferred audience for this text would be… but perhaps also… The translation strategy/ies I intend to apply/I applied…
Translate “Neo-colonialism, the last stage of imperialism” from p. 5 (But as the struggle sharpens) to p. 6 (use local people as their instruments). Complete the text analysis with your own commentary. Read Jhumpa Lahiri (be ready for comments).
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