Postcolonial literature

Topics: Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Indigenous peoples Pages: 4 (1098 words) Published: December 3, 2013
1. What is “postcolonial literature”?
Postcolonial literature, a category devised to replace and expand upon what was once called Commonwealth Literature. As a label, it thus covers a very wide range of writings from countries that were once colonies or dependencies of the European powers. There has been much debate about the scope of the term: should predominantly white ex‐colonies like Ireland, Canada, and Australia be included? why are the United States exempted both from the accepted list of former colonies and from the category of colonizing powers? In practice, the term is applied most often to writings from Africa, the Indian sub‐continent the Caribbean, and other regions whose histories during the 20th century are marked by colonialism, anti‐colonial movements, and subsequent transitions to post‐Independence society. Critical attention to this large body of work in academic contexts is often influenced by a distinct school of postcolonial theory which developed in the 1980s and 1990s, under the influence of Edward W. Said's landmark study Orientalism (1978). Postcolonial theory considers vexed cultural‐political questions of national and ethnic identity, ‘otherness’, race, imperialism, and language, during and after the colonial periods. It draws upon post‐structuralist theories such as those of deconstruction in order to unravel the complex relations between imperial ‘centre’ and colonial ‘periphery’, often in ways that have been criticized for being excessively abstruse. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

In a broad sense, postcolonial literature is writing which has been “affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonization to the present day” (Ashcroft et al, 2). In India’s case, this includes novels, poetry,and drama which were written both during and after the British Raj or “Reign,” which came to a formal conclusion with Indian Independence in August 1947. Although writing from India and other formerly colonized countries such as Nigeria,...
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