Published on August 20, 2007
Postcolonial Studies: Postcolonial Studies by Henning, Jan, Kathrin, Mark, Miriam and Silvie. Definitions: Definitions Post-colonialism: the time after colonialism → after the colonies had become independent Postcolonial Studies: the study of the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized Historical Background: Historical Background Decolonialization after WW II Disbanding of British Empire → Commonwealth of Nations Independence = (bloody) conflicts → no boundaries between ethnic groups (e.g. civil war in Kenya) Attempt to return to their former culture USA = role model for high standard of living → dependence on USA → corruption → „neo-colonialism' Literature: Literature written by… a) colonized people b)people of the colonial powers attempt to assimilate their experience… a) …during the time of colonialization b)…of today‘s „neo-colonialism' since the 1970s/80s → Edward Said: „Orientalism' (1978) Edward Said : Edward Said *1953 in Jerusalem †2003 in New York Most important work: 'Orientalism' (1979) The Orient: exists for the West, and is constructed by and in relation to the West is always 'the Other', the conquerable, and the inferior Slide6: Orientalism: the image of the 'Orient' expressed as an entire system of thought The Oriental: the person represented by such thinking a stereotype that crosses countless cultural and national boundaries (most of Asia, Middle East) Earlier Orientalism: first 'Orientalists': 19th century-scholars who translated the writings of 'the Orient' into English knowledge as power: assumption that a truly effective colonial conquest requires knowledge of the conquered people Slide7: Contemporary Orientalism: Said argues that Orientalism can be found in current Western depictions of 'Arab' cultures Said’s Project: 'The Orient' cannot be studied in a non-Orientalist manner the scholar is obliged to study more focused and smaller culturally consistent regions, rather than the Orient as a whole what has until now been known as 'the Oriental' must be given a voice (self-representation) Frantz Fanon : Frantz Fanon *1925 French Colony of Martinique, † 1961 1952: first analysis of the effects of racism and colonization, 'Black Skin, White Masks,' presents Fanon's personal experience as a black intellectual in a white world elaborates on the coloniser/colonised relationship language: speaking French means that one accepts, or is forced to accept, the collective consciousness of the French Slide9: title: in an attempt to escape the colonizer’s association of blackness with evil, the black man puts on a white mask → fundamental disjuncture between the black man's consciousness and his body 1961, 'The Wretched of The Earth' Discusses the effect of the torture of Algerian 'terrorists' analyzes the role of class, race, national culture and violence in the struggle for national liberation Homi K. Bhabha: Homi K. Bhabha Born 1949 in India Moved to America and is currently teaching at Harvard University His works on Postcolonial Studies are highly influenced by post structuralism He challenges the idea of treating post-colonial countries as a homogenous block, because he thinks that this would lead to the assumption that those countries would all share the same identity Slide11: He also criticizes thinking only in categories of black and white In his opinion it is not sufficient to use only the typical binary oppositions when there are two cultures, which influence and transform each other, because they transform too complex Bhabha deployed the concept of hybridity This concept focuses on the effects of mixture upon culture and identity In his book 'The location of culture'(1994) he analyses the liminality of hybridity as an example in contrast to the colonial fear of miscegenation Slide12: The fear of hybridity made the colonizers to establish their power, without making sure of their economic, political and cultural endurance Along with the concept of hybridity comes also the term of mimicry Mimicry means to take on someone other’s attributes, in connection with Postcolonial Studies it means culture Most important works: Nation and Narration (1990) The location of culture (1994) Problems of Postcolonial Studies: Problems of Postcolonial Studies There are general problems in analysing literature of colonized people, especially when they develop a language out of their own old language and their new language (e.g. English) The result then could be a style of language and therefore symbols and metaphors might not be the same Slide14: It’s also difficult to respect an author’s work when he violates the typical aesthetic norms of western literature, because we are raised in a culture where it is very important to stick to the aesthetic ideals Therefore it is difficult for us to take the author of such literature as serious as we would actually have to An important problem of 'colonized' literature is that the authors of that literature have all been influenced by the colonizing nation. Even in today’s societies minorities always have to adapt the 'face' of the majority, before they are taken seriously and so there individuality gets lost Biography of George Orwell: Biography of George Orwell his real name was Eric A. Blair, but he is better known by his pen name George Orwell born in Motihari, Bengal (the then British Colony of India) on June 25, 1903 came to England at the age of one earned scholarships to both Wellington and Eton made lifetime friendships with a number of future British intellectuals at school Slide16: 1922 trained to be a colonial officer in the British Colonial Service joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma having grown to hate imperialism, he resigned and returned to England in 1928 to work as a writer his autobiographical essay 'Shooting an Elephant' (1931) is based on his experience as a police officer in colonial Burma in this essay, as well as in 'A Hanging' and 'Burmese Days', he also expresses his protest against English Imperialism Slide17: later he lived in poverty, sometimes even homeless in Paris and London for several years this is reflected in 'Down and Out in Paris and London', 1933 1933 he adopted his pen name , showing his affection for the English tradition and countryside 1936 he volunteered to fight for the Republicans against Franco's Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War and was shot in the neck Slide18: described these Spanish experiences in his short essay 'Wounded by a Fascist Sniper', as well as in the book of reportage 'Homage to Catalonia' in the same year he married Eileen O'Shaughnessy and left Spain with her (she died in 1945) 1941 began to work for the BBC Eastern Service 1944 he finished his anti-Stalinist allegory 'Animal Farm' Slide19: During World War II he was a member of the Home Guard 1949 his best-known work 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' was published and he married his second wife Sonia Mary Brownell he died from tuberculosis at the age of 46 in 1950 Slide20: As you can see George Orwell had a very adventurous life and was active in different parts of the world Whatever he did he immediately reflected in his work as a journalist and a novelist Today he is mostly known for his two novels 'Animal Farm' and 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' Aspects of the short story"Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell, 1936: Aspects of the short story 'Shooting an Elephant' by George Orwell, 1936 "Shooting an Elephant" : 'Shooting an Elephant' 'As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him.'(...) 'Moreover, I did not in the least want to shoot him.' 'And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all.' 'A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things. To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail feebly away, having done nothing - no, that was impossible. The crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man’s life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at. 'But I did not want to shoot the elephant.' Slide23: 'For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically—and secretly, of course—I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos—all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt.' Slide24: 'All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible. With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in sæcula sæculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts. Feelings like these are the normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him off duty.' 'If the elephant charged and I missed him, I should have about as much chance as a toad under a steam-roller. But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of the watchful yellow faces behind.' Slide25: 'The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s dominion in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd—seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the 'natives,' and so in every crisis he has got to do what the 'natives' expect of him.' 'It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him.' Slide26: 'He was dying, very slowly and in great agony, ...' '... the great beast lying there, powerless to move and yet powerless to die, ...' Slide27: Thank you all for your attention.