Colonialism and Neocolonialism

Colonialism and Neocolonialism

Colonialism and Neocolonialism

Colonialism and Neocolonialism

Synopsis

Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism is a classic critique of France's policies in Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s and inspired much subsequent writing on colonialism, post-colonialism, politics, and literature. It includes Sartre's celebrated preface to Fanon's classic Wretched of the Earth. Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism had a profound impact on French intellectual life, inspiring many other influential French thinkers and critics of colonialism such as Jean-Francois Lyotard, Frantz Fanon, Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Derrida.

Excerpt

Sartre wrote this book as a series of essays at a time when colonial empires were crumbling. His project is twofold: to analyse the discourses of colonialism and neocolonialism and to argue for the necessity of decolonization. Sartre delineates a number of what he calls 'situations' in which he intervenes to critique the nefarious effects of these two discourses respectively on the colonized and the Third World. First, in his review of Cartier-Bresson's photographs of China, he announces the end of the picturesque. Secondly, he criticizes the political structures of an old colonial France governed by an ideology constructed in the nineteenth century, structures that perpetuated political instability and demanded urgent modernization. Thirdly, he rallies behind an incendiary Third-Worldism, engaging with the writings and political thought of Memmi, Fanon and Lumumba. Let us first deal with the specificities of each of the essays before re-situating Sartre within the field of postcolonial studies.

Sartre wrote 'From One China to Another' as a preface to Cartier-Bresson's work. Borne out of war, the picturesque, Sartre reminds us, cannot comprehend difference. Sartre prefigures the arguments of Roland Barthes in 'Myth Today' and Edward Said in Orientalism, i.e., the fabricated quality of the mythic idea and its orientalizing intent. Sartre writes: '[The photographers] seek out a

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