Understanding Postcolonialism

Understanding Postcolonialism

Understanding Postcolonialism

Understanding Postcolonialism

Synopsis

Postcolonialism offers challenging and provocative ways of thinking about colonial and neocolonial power, about self and other, and about the discourses that perpetuate postcolonial inequality and violence. Much of the seminal work in postcolonialism has been shaped by currents in philosophy, notably Marxism and ethics. "Understanding Postcolonialism" examines the philosophy of postcolonialism in order to reveal the often conflicting systems of thought which underpin it. In so doing, the book presents a reappraisal of the major postcolonial thinkers of the twentieth century.Ranging beyond the narrow selection of theorists to which the field is often restricted, the book explores the work of Fanon and Sartre, Gandhi, Nandy, and the Subaltern Studies Group, Foucault and Said, Derrida and Bhabha, Khatibi and Glissant, and Spivak, Mbembe and Mudimbe. A clear and accessible introduction to the subject, "Understanding Postcolonialism" reveals how, almost half a century after decolonisation, the complex relation between politics and ethics continues to shape postcolonial thought.

Excerpt

Postcolonialism is a broad and constantly changing movement that has aroused a good deal of both interest and controversy. Inaugurated in earnest during and after the fight for independence in the remaining British and French colonies around the 1950s and 1960s, it has developed rapidly to become today a major area of intellectual innovation and debate. While the term first became popular in North American university campuses, and in particular in literary departments, it is now widely used both inside and outside Western academic institutions and attracts ever-growing numbers of commentators as well as students. The term “postcolonialism” can generally be understood as the multiple political, economic, cultural and philosophical responses to colonialism from its inauguration to the present day, and is somewhat broad and sprawling in scope. While “anti-colonialism” names specific movements of resistance to colonialism, postcolonialism refers to the wider, multifaceted effects and implications of colonial rule. Postcolonialism frequently offers a challenge to colonialism, but does not constitute a single programme of resistance; indeed, it is considered consequently by some to be rather vague and panoptic in its ever more ambitious field of enquiry. This book will focus on the philosophical dimensions of postcolonialism, and will demonstrate the diversity of conceptual models and strategies used by postcolonial philosophers rather than by political thinkers or literary writers. Postcolonial philosophy will be shown to feed into these, but detailed discussion of the politics, economics and literature of postcolonialism is beyond the scope of this study.
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