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Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (1998)

por Robert J. C. Young

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388548,918 (3.27)Nenhum(a)
"This book is concerned with the revolutionary history of the non-Western world and its centuries-long struggle to overthrow Western imperialism: from slow beginnings in the eighteenth century, the last half of the twentieth century witnessed more than a quarter of the world's population win their freedom. It was written before the momentous political events of the twenty-first century: published two months before the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and ten years before the Arab revolutions that erupted across the Arab world in 2011. It had been originally commissioned as an introduction to postcolonialism at a time when 'postcolonial theory' formed an innovative body of thinking that was making waves beyond its own disciplinary location. That interest was the mark of a new phase within many Western societies in which immigrants from the global South had begun to emerge as influential cultural voices challenging the basis of the manner in which European and North American societies represented themselves and their own histories. The late Edward Said and Stuart Hall both symbolized the ways in which intellectuals who had been born in former colonies became spokespersons for a popular radical re-evaluation of contemporary culture: a profound transformation of society and its values was underway. That revolution involved the consensus of an equality amongst different people and cultures rather than the hierarchy that had been developed since the beginning of the nineteenth century as a central feature of Western imperialism. Postcolonial critique has been so successful"--Provided by publisher.… (mais)

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Mostrando 5 de 5
A great and refreshing reminder, keeping me grounded, relevant, inspired, and thinking. Chock full of brilliant thought provoking knots. Relevant to razor's edge of critical academia and to the children who grow up in refugee camps without any formal education whatsoever. ( )
  magonistarevolt | Apr 30, 2020 |
Robert Young draws from leading postcolonialism thinkers (primarily Chakravorty Spivak, Fanon, Bhabha, and Said) and presents postcolonialism in a collage of case-studies. Some highlights include the anti-establishment music genre Rai as an exemplar of postcolonial creation, Islamic veils and the western response to them, feminism in the postcolonial era, Gandhi's misogyny and Mirabehn's environmentalism, and towards the end, a stimulating chapter on translation and linguistics as a vessel for postcolonial activism.

Reading other GR reviews of this, there seems to be a consensus that the presentation wasn't loyal to the spirit of postcolonialism. I don't know about that, but this book introduced me to a PoMo-style politics that leaves me both hopeful and shaken. Hopeful because it allows me to imagine a future where this train of thought forces leaders from imperial countries, like Emmanuel Macron of France, to come forward and acknowledge their country's colonial crimes. At the same time it unsettles me because it forces me to see privileges that I've might've been abusing without being conscious of them.

And for me, that's enough to warrant this book four stars. ( )
  pod_twit | Mar 30, 2020 |
Hot topic ( )
  lucaconti | Jan 24, 2019 |
Not really well-named, but then, this isn't a short introduction to anything in particular. It's more like a selection of only the most outrageous stories from thirty years worth of the Guardian Weekly. So if you're young and want to get all hep up about bombing and racism, and are more or less unaware that, e.g., the 'problems' of Iraq are more or less the result of imperial/colonial/Western stupidity, this book will blow your mind. If you thought that 'postcolonial theory' was anything in particular, and wanted to learn about it, you'll be disappointed. Young says he won't be writing about a theory, and there is no one theory, and everything else that you're meant to say. He also has sections that read like manifestos: Postcolonialism is x. It is y. It is not z, for z is insufficiently good. And once you get to the end of all the things that postcolonialism is, and the two or three that it is not, you will be enlightened, believe me. What is postcolonialism, at the end of the day? It "seeks to turn difference from the basis of oppression into one of positive, intercultural social diversity." It is, in other words, slightly pumped up, color-blind liberalism. Postcolonialism is the good side of The Force.
Quoting Mao will not win it any new fans, I assume and hope; nor will borderline moronic statements like "fatty beef is not necessarily the healthiest thing to be eating in an era of BSE and animals pumped with growth hormones. Why do people always grow taller in the United States? Think about it." Uh... better nutrition? Oh, no, I get it, it's because they've all been eating beef pumped with growth hormones. Never mind that the chapter on feminism is mainly about Gandhi, or that the problems with nationalism are traced, perversely, to "the German Romantic account of the nation, developed at state level in Europe by Nazi Germany" - yes, the Hitler-bomb!- and not to, say, the inevitably exclusionary and elitist results of the idea of a nation.

So his good intentions don't really help you. Nice as it is that he is writing this 'from below,' (below what? below the *third* floor of Wadham College?), and nice as it is that he doesn't use theory as a battering ram to cave in your skull, some rigor and selectivity would have been nice.

PS: A few weeks later, I think I've decided that this is a Very Short Introduction to the Historical Reasons that People Like the Theories of Postcolonialism. Nothing wrong with that I guess. ( )
1 vote stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Despite having a very Marxist/Socialist perspective, this book has some valuable information. I learned a lot from it and I'm glad I read it. ( )
  kathleen586 | Mar 30, 2013 |
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"This book is concerned with the revolutionary history of the non-Western world and its centuries-long struggle to overthrow Western imperialism: from slow beginnings in the eighteenth century, the last half of the twentieth century witnessed more than a quarter of the world's population win their freedom. It was written before the momentous political events of the twenty-first century: published two months before the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and ten years before the Arab revolutions that erupted across the Arab world in 2011. It had been originally commissioned as an introduction to postcolonialism at a time when 'postcolonial theory' formed an innovative body of thinking that was making waves beyond its own disciplinary location. That interest was the mark of a new phase within many Western societies in which immigrants from the global South had begun to emerge as influential cultural voices challenging the basis of the manner in which European and North American societies represented themselves and their own histories. The late Edward Said and Stuart Hall both symbolized the ways in which intellectuals who had been born in former colonies became spokespersons for a popular radical re-evaluation of contemporary culture: a profound transformation of society and its values was underway. That revolution involved the consensus of an equality amongst different people and cultures rather than the hierarchy that had been developed since the beginning of the nineteenth century as a central feature of Western imperialism. Postcolonial critique has been so successful"--Provided by publisher.

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