Literary Criticism-Postcolonialism

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POSTCOLONIALISM
Post-colonialism focuses on the influences of colonialism in literature especially regarding the historical conflict resulting from the exploitation of less developed countries by Western nation.
     According to Paul Goring et all, postcolonialism is a label that can be used in a relatively neutral descriptive sense to refer to literature emanating from or dealing with the peoples and cultures of lands which have emerged from colonial rule (normally, but not always, relatively recently) but it can also be used to imply a body of theory or an attitude towards that which is studied (193).
 Wilfred.L.Guiren et all says Postcolonialism refers to a histhistorical phase undergone by Third World countries after the decline of colonialism: for example, when countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean separated from the European empires and were left to rebuild themselves. Many Third World writers focus on both colonialism and the changes created in a postcolonial culture. Among the many challenges facing postcolonial writers are the attempts both to resurrect their culture and to combat the preconceptions about their culture. At first glance postcolonial studies would seem to be a matter of history and political science,  rather than literary criticism. However, we must remember that English, as in "English Department" or "English Literature," has been since the age of the British Empire a global language (it is today, for example,almost exclusively the language of the internet). Britain seemed to foster in its political institutions as well as in literature universal ideals for proper living, while at the same time perpetuating the violent enslavement of Africans and other imperialist cruelties around the world, causing untold misery(303).
     M.A.R Habib also says postcolonial literature and criticism arose both during and after the struggles of many nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America (now referred to as the “”tricontinent” rather than the third world) and elsewhere for independence f
independence from colonial rule. The year 1950 saw the publication of seminal texts of postcolonialism.  Aime Cesair’s Discourse Sur le  Colonialism and Frantz’s Black Skin, White Mask. And in 1958 Chinua Achebe published his novel Things Fall Apart (271).
     Homi Bhabha , one of the most prominent postcolonial theorist  as quoted in Ham Bertens says Postcolonial perspective emerge from the colonial testimony of Third world countries and the discourses of ‘’minorities’’ within the geopolitical divisions of east and west and north and south. They formulate their critical revisions   around issues of cultural difference, social authority and political discrimination in order to reveal the antagonistic and ambivalent moments within the ‘’rationalizations’’ of modernity(200).  
 Bhabha's postcolonial theory involves analysis of nationality, ethnicity, and politics with poststructuralist ideas of identity and indeterminacy, defining postcolonial identities as shifting, hybrid constructions. Bhabha critiques the presumed dichotomies between center and periphery, colonized and colonizer, self and other, borrowing from deconstruction the argument that these are false binaries. He proposes instead a dialogic model of nationalities, ethnicities, and identities characterized by what he calls hybridity; that is, they are some-thing new, emerging from a "Third Space" to interrogate the givens of the past. Perhaps his most important contribution has been to stress that colonialism is not a one-way street, that is because it involves an interaction between colonizer and colonized, the colonizer is as much affected by its systems as the colonized. The old distinction between "industrialized" and "developing" nations does not hold true today, when so many industrial jobs have been moved overseas from countries like the United States to countries like India and the Philippines.
            One of the most popular book under this type of criticism is Orientalism, a book by Palestinian American critic Edward Said which was published in 1978. According to Bertens, Orientalism is a devastating critique of how through ages, but particularly in the 19th century-the heyday of imperialist expansion-which is the book’s focus(200). Said's concept of Orientalism  is an important touch stone to postcolonial studies, as he described the stereotypical discourse about the East as constructed by the West.
   Frantz Fanon, a French Caribbean Marxist, drew upon his own horrific experiences in French Algeria to deconstruct emerging national regimes that are based on inheritances from the imperial powers, warning that class, not race, is a greater factor in worldwide oppression, and that if new nations are built in the molds of their former oppressors, then they will perpetuate the bourgeois inequalities from the past. His book The Wretched of the Earth (1961) has been an important inspiration for postcolonial cultural critics and literary critics who seek to understand the decolonizing project of Third World writers, especially those interested in African and African American texts.


            Post-colonial criticism also questions the role of the Western literary canon and Western history as dominant forms of knowledge making. The terms "First World," "Second World," "Third World" and "Fourth World" nations are critiqued by post-colonial critics because they reinforce the dominant positions of Western cultures populating First World status. This critique includes the literary canon and histories written from the perspective of First World cultures. Post-colonialism has a lot of aims and this includes re-examining the history of colonialism from the perspective of the colonized, to determine the economic, political and cultural impact of colonialism on both the colonized and the colonizers. Postcolonialism also seeks to analyze the process of decolonization and to participate in the goals of political liberation.  Postcolonial critics reinterpret and examine the values of literary texts, by focusing on the contexts in which they were produced, and reveal the colonial ideologies that are concealed within. Postcolonial critics seek to identify the gaps and fissures within the discourse that provide the native with the means of resistance and subversion, and the dissenting colonial with the means of articulating opposition.
  Influenced by   the poststructuralist and post modern idea of decentering, postcolonial literary criticism undermines the universalist claims of literature, identifies colonial sympathies in the canon and replaces the colonial narratives with counter-narratives of resistance, by rewriting history and asserting cultural identities through strategies such as separatism, nativism, cultural syncretism, hybridity, mimicry, active participation and assimilation.
               Ann B. Dobie says to understand Postcolonialism and its connection to literature requires looking first at its predecessor, colonialism and then its successor, neocolonialism (204).
    Postcolonial critics accordingly study diasporic texts outside the usual Western genres, especially productions by aboriginal authors, marginalized ethnicities, immigrants, and refugees.

Postcolonial literatures from emerging nations by such writers as Chinua Achebe and Salman Rushdie are read alongside European responses to colonialism by writers such as George Orwell and Albert Camus. 

WORKS CITED
Blamires, Harry. A History of Literary Criticism. Macmillian Press LTD, 1991.
Breten, Hams.  Literary Theory, The basics. Routledge, 2001.
Dobie, Ann B. Theory into Practice: An Introduction to Literary Criticism. Wadsworth
        Cengage Learning, 2002.
Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory : An Introduction. Basil Blackwell Publisher, 1983.
Goring,Paul et al.  Studying Literature. 2nd edition, Bloomsbury Academic, 2010.
Guerin, Wilfred. L et all. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. 5th edition,
          Oxford UP,2005.
Habib, M.A.R. Literary Criticism from Plato to Present: An Introduction. Wiley- Black well, 2011.

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