www.marilenabeltramini.it |  Site map | Search  | Advanced search
[Forum]  [Wiki]  [Blog] [SW 2005/06] [SW 2006/07]    [login]
Home  » Learning Paths » Postcolonial Literature. Study and Reflection
Study Areas
    » class
    » 2A
    » 3A
    » 4A
    » 5C
    » 5D
    » teacher
SBufo. Postcolonialism
[author: Sara Bufo - postdate: 2007-12-06]

Task: sharing!


Cultural: provide information about Postcolonialism
Intertextual: convey data from different sources in a single text
Linguistic: improve writing skills (practice and exercise)




Analyzing the etymology of the word "Postcolonialism", it is clear that it is something that follows colonialism.

To be precise, it goes back and beyond it, including and excluding it at the same time. Therefore, in order to understand what Postcolonialism is, a definition of Colonialism must be provided.

Colonialism is a political, economic and social phenomenon involving the conquest and domination of foreign territories by various European powers from the 18th to the first half of the 20th century.


Accordingly, Postcolonialism encompasses political, economic and social practices which arise in response and resistance to Colonialism.


The era of Postcolonialism dates back to 1947, when the colonies started to gain independence either through armed struggles or diplomatic procedures. If on one hand, it coincides with the era of decolonization, on the other it is a feature of Neocolonialism. As a matter of fact, even though the ex-colonies are formerly independent, they economically depend on Western superpowers.

Accordingly, the division of power hasn't changed, only its appearance has: whereas, during colonization, it meant conquest, nowadays, according to globalization, it is strictly connected to economy and industries.


Postcolonialists denounce such forms of economic oppressions, and disagree with the unequal division of economic and political power.

As a result, they often focus on race relations and the effects of racism. Accordingly, postcolonial literature deals with racism, genocide, slavery, apartheid and mass extinction of people. In order to do so, it focuses on the ways power is exercised, resistance is mounted and identity is built.


In addition, Postcolonialism gives voice to the marginalized and condemns white and colonial societies. it follows that, white characters are decentered and reduced to faceless and nameless representatives of a dominating power. Critics have noticed that such choice of focusing entirely on marginalized non-European cultures leads to the marginalization of the writing itself, due to the exasperated distance taken from European reality. Moreover, Postcolonialism includes a wide range of perspectives and approaches, due to the variety of geographical, historical, social, religious and economic aspects of the different ex-colonies.As a result, Postcolonialism is a tool of communication between different cultures. Furthermore, it is also fundamental to understand the complex modern structures of power and domination.


In conclusion, colonialism "forms a composite but powerful intellectual and critical movement which renews the perception and understanding of modern history, cultural studies, literary criticism, and political economy."