Disciplines and Interdisciplinarity in Foreign Language Studies

By Hans Lauge Hansen | Go to book overview

Studies of postcolonialism
and the Latin American tradition:
National Identities and Indigenous struggles

by Anne Marie Jeppesen & Ken Henriksen


Introduction

Since the 1980s the area known as Postcolonial Studies has gained in prominence and has now become a challenge to important fields within the social sciences and the humanities1. Significant new insights have emerged from the postcolonial critique of former studies of the impact of colonialism, as well as of history writing, cultural studies, and studies of gender and ethnicity. It has brought clarification of the cultural embeddedness of the ideas applied in research and the consequences of the cultural blindness pervading many concepts and studies. Furthermore, it has also suggested new ways of conducting research and of examining the relationship between empirical studies and theory.

Although broad in scope, postcolonial studies have almost exclusively been limited to the former British colonies in Africa and Asia. Surprisingly, works on the former French and Portuguese colonies have only recently started to appear, and studies on the American continent (both North and South) have until now been rare2.

Since the late 1970s discourses of indigenous identities and rights have become increasingly salient throughout Latin America. But although there have been many successful struggles, and rights and entitlements have been formally recognized, the politics of indigenousness seems not to have

1 The first contribution within this field is considered to be E. Said's Orientalism,
from 1978.

2 One contribution to Latin American postcolonial studies is El debate de la
postcolonialidad en Latinoamérica,
edited by Alfonso and Fernando de Toro
(1999, Frankfurt Am Main).

-211-

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