Subverting Power: The Lesson Of Post Colonial Literature

2931 words - 12 pages

Subverting Power: The Lesson of Post-Colonial Literature
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A. Introduction
Thesis: Adgar and Alizdeh, as representatives of post-colonial literature, provide evidence that otherness, essentialism and orientalism are notions that explain the issues that arise in the contemporary world as a result of imperial tendencies on the part of Western societies, and their writing suggests a peculiar form of struggle which is rooted in subversion and internal critique of systems of domination.
B. Body
I) Essentialism as a philosophical basis of imperialism
a. Essentialism as a philosophical stance
b. Essentialism – the logic behind imperialism
c. Feminist criticism of essentialism
i. Beauvoir - , “one is not born, but becomes a woman”.
II) Postcolonial rejection of essentialism
a. Ali Alizadeh presenting the effects of essentialism on people who do not fit in
b. Existence of people in between two categories undermines essentialism
III) Orientalism as a cover for imperialism
a. Orientalism - science and rationality served as a cover to misrepresent the Orient (Said 2000)
b. Insertion of value judgments into the seemingly neutral discourse
c. Said (2000) – the West has oversimplified and misrepresented Islam and the Orient
IV) Postcolonial critique of rationality as a means of exclusion
a. Seemingly neutral bureaucratic terms function as a means of labeling and exclusion
i. Alizadeh lists connotations that go with the tern “Muslim Immigrant”
V) The practice of historiography as a form of Orientalism
a. Said’s argument that “world history” operates the same way as “orientalism”
b. Historians excluding data that did not fit the dominant narrative
c. Agard shows how many events were simply excluded from the standard historical texts
VI) Otherness as a concept in post-continental theory
a. Levinas’s concept of the Other
b. Levinas’s concept of face-to-face encounter
i. Trauma of the face-to-face encounter
ii. empathy versus difference
iii. One either has to empathize fully or insist on differences to avoid empathy
VII) Suppression of empathy in the West by insisting on differences
a. Said (2000) – the West treated Orient as the other refusing to communicate with it
b. Modern societies force the minorities to conform to predefined social roles based on their background
VIII) Postcolonial literature addresses this insistence on difference to prevent empathy
a. Alizadeh – the Western societies attribute certain traits to all Muslims
b. Alizadeh – Islamic societies apply the same strategy
i. Moderate Muslims – apostates
c. Otherness as a destructive force on both sides of the colonial relations
IX) Postcolonial theory – new forms of resistance
a. Marxist approach – working class as the agent of social revolution
b. Late 20th century working class lost its revolutionary character
X) Postcolonial resistence
a. Fanon (1961) – lumpenproleteriat and peasants in the colonies are a new revolutionary force
i. These two...

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