English Postcoloniality: Literatures from around the World

English Postcoloniality: Literatures from around the World

English Postcoloniality: Literatures from around the World

English Postcoloniality: Literatures from around the World

Excerpt

The title English Postcoloniality: Literatures from Around the World is based upon our intent to raise questions surrounding the role of language in power relations between Britain and its colonies. Essays in this collection focus upon historical surveys of colonial literatures, the problematics in explicating the dynamic relationship between indigenous and mediated literatures/cultures of the neocolonial phase, and some basic interpretations of postcolonial theory in the analyses of literary texts. The essays collected here range beyond the disciplinary parameters of geography, or history, or politics in the oppressor/oppressed sequence; they focus upon the imprint of language in constructing subjectivites and the nuances of synchronous tensions among the colonizer, colonized, native, foreign, male, female subjects, which exceed clear dichotomies of "us" and "them." Postcoloniality in this frame is treated as a process, a methodology, and not as a genre category. The most commonly used tropes in postcolonial analyses are meant to reveal tracks of aggressions through the deconstruction of such polar terms as nation/location, identity/subjectivity, rootedness/diaspora, and, in some cases, writing and literature. In this volume, we have focused upon language as a master trope and circumscribed the space where English has been deployed as a colonizing agent. As Ngugi wa Thiong'o maintains from his contextual perspective, in effecting an "epistemological break with the past," the logic of postcoloniality uses language as a tool to re-think and re-write the history of colonized nations. Such a move simultaneously functions as a theoretic for postcoloniality as well as an activist gesture in the theater of decolonization. His novel Petals of Blood is important in this aspect. He states in a recent interview with Sara Suleri:

Every language has two aspects. One aspect is its role as an agent that enables us to communicate with one another in our struggle to find the means for survival. The other is its role as the carrier of the history and the culture built into the process of that communication over time. In my book, Decolonizing the Mind, I have described language as . . .

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