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postcolonial studies


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Unqualified, the term “postcolonial studies” would incorporate the study of all the effects of European colonization in the majority of the C ultures of the world, and include all the academic disciplines in use in institutions of learning across the globe. Clearly, it is only from a great distance, for instance, that of the Western academy, that so vast a formation can be assumed to have coherence. Consequently, it is only from the narrowed perspective of the Western academy that the term “postcolonial studies” appears feasible. This entry will perforce share such a perspective, focusing on primarily anglophone postcolonial C ultural Studies as it has developed in the Western academy, though this development has of course had to take note of the work being done elsewhere in the Third World. Yet even from this narrowed perspective, the rubric “postcolonial” has caused anxiety, based in part on the confusion surrounding the prefix “post,” and in part on the staggering geographical, temporal, and theoretical sweep of the term. Cultural critics who read “postcolonial” to mean “the end of colonialism” are troubled by its implication that so-called decolonizations in the Third World effected a clean break from colonial exploitation. Others, more alert to the necessary ambiguity of the prefix “post,” do not take it as a synonym for “de” or “ex,” and are consequently able to read “postcolonial” ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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