Vocabulary for Tyson ch. 11: Postcolonial and African American Criticism


  1. Postcolonial Criticism 364+: more global; cultural analysis of colonized peoples; subject matter frameworks look at literature produced by cultures that developed in response to colonial domination; we look at literature of cultures developed in response to British (and American??) colonial domination; as theory, it tries to understand the operations (political, social, cultural, psych) of colonialist and anti-colonialist ideologies—how did the colonized internalize the colonizers’ values, how did they resist; looks at how a text is colonialist or anti-colonialist, how it supports or resists or is conflicted or how it shows colonialist sub-text 374;
  2. Identity 365: the left over of English is an indicator of colonization; what do ex-colonial populations consider their native culture?
  3. Decolonization 366: removal of military and gov. forces
  4. Cultural Colonization 366: British system in gov. education culture and values is still left behind that denigrate the culture—negative self-image (internalized bigotry)
  5. Colonialist Identity 366: or colonialist discourse—how was colonialist thinking expressed?  it was based on the colonizer’s assumptions of superiority; natives defined as savage, backward, undeveloped—advanced technology = advanced culture; natives at the margins, colonizers at the center
  6. Metropolitan 366: only anglo-european culture is civilized
  7. Othering 366: judging all who are different as inferior—us/civilized vs. them/other/primitive/savage; the other may be patronized—primitive beauty; savage is other and not fully human
  8. Eurocentrism 366: Europe as the standard by which all other cultures are negatively contrasted
  9. Universalism 367: a great work of art must have universal characters and themes that apply to “everyone”
  10. Orientalism 367 (Edward Said):  show us in a positive light by showing eastern cultures as negative in all the ways we don’t want to be; thus any acts of aggression are justified—manifest destiny!
  11. Colonial Subjects 368: colonized subjects who did not resist subjugation…like some blacks in the south, lets just get along and not rock the boat—imitate the colonizers—passing or mimicry (that word implies parots…)
  12. Double Consciousness or Double Vision 368: a way of seeing the world that is divided between two antagonistic cultures…being caught between cultures, belonging to neither
  13. Diaspora 368: separation from original homeland
  14. Unhomeliness 368 (homi bhabha): unhomed is being traumatized by cultural displacement, to not feel at home even in your own home—you are not at home in yourself—cultural identity crisis—a psychological refugee
  15. Tasks 368: reject colonialist ideology and reclaim their pre-colonial past—but this is very problematic—write in local languages (but this brings the problem of audience); it is not always easy to discover the past which has been erased and lost, and no culture stands still—all cultures are changed by cross-cultural contact anyway—it is a hybrid (which has influence going both ways)
  16. Hybridity or Syncretism 369: not a stalemate but a productive force that shrinks the world
  17. Nativism or Nationalism 370: trying to create the past as central; assert native culture, eliminate Western influence
  18. Invader Colonies 371: colonies established among nonwhite peoples through force, brits
  19. White Settler Colonies 371: Canada, Australia, new zeland, south Africa (and America??)—were they subjugated or subjugators (why not both)?
  20. Postcolonial Criticism 372: implies colonialism is at an end, but there are other means by which people’s are subjugated—international corporations, the world bank
  21. Neo-colonialism 372: exploits cheap labor available in developing countries
  22. **Cultural Imperialism 372: the food, clothes, customs, recreation, values of the economically dominant culture replace those of the vulnerable culture (Japan?)—seen most with American cultural imperialism; perhaps postcolonial theory is a form of this too—theorists belong to an intellectual elite, a deconstructive west, that has little in common with subalterns or people of inferior status (who might need a less deconstructive sense of self)…also, what stops this theory from focusing on the usual canonized texts?  What stops us from colonizing postcolonial literature as well and interpret it with Eurocentric eyes 373?
  23. Postcolonial Themes 374: encounter with the colonizer; disruption of indigenous culture; journey of euro outsider with a native guide; othering and oppression in all forms; mimicry; exile—being an outsider in one’s own land or being in the diaspora; post-independence exuberance followed by disillusionment (reswallowing up by colonial ideology/corruption); the struggle for individual and collective cultural identity—alienation, unhomeliness, double consciousness, hybridity; the need for continuity or acknowledgement of a pre-colonial past; self-definition of the political future; trauma from post-colonization—Bhabha says we can look across cultural boundaries (structuralism?)—what is the unspoken, unrepresented past 375?  History as personal 376;
  24. Canonical Counter Discourse 376: Tiffin says, look at themes of how Europe imposed and maintained colonial domination and rewrite their history—post-colonial writers take up basic assumptions of brit. canonical texts and unveil these assumptions (deconstruct)—unmask colonialist ideology; Edward Said says texts might move the margins of a work—put the margins in the center to make what was unconscious (colonialist ideology) conscious
  25. Hegemony 381: the cultural dominance of white America (or any other ideology)—represses the others’ history—reality is too possibly deconstructive
  26. AA--Racialism 381:  a belief in racial superiority and purity based on the idea that moral and intellectual characteristics are biological
  27. Racism 381: unequal power relations
  28. Institutionalized Racism 382: racists policies in education, gov. law, police, health, corporations, and literature—this has been dominated by eurocentric universalism to support the white (patriarchal) hegemony—great art is white (and male) or resembles this white art
  29. Internalized Racism 383: vs. I’m black and I’m proud—indoctrination to believe white is pretty (Malcolm X)
  30. Intra-racial Racism 383: high yellow people are prettier
  31. Double consciousness or vision 383: one self at home, one in the public sphere—who, then, to write for, and how political must one be (also a queer question)—poetics vs politics 385
  32. Black Vernacular English 383: Ebonics
  33. Black Arts Movement 386: the distinctiveness of black literature; the political and personal vs. poetics
  34. Afrocentricity 387: primacy of black relationship to African history and  culture—the idea of essential blackness
  35. Trickster Tales 387: African in origin? focus on behaviors designed to compensate for shortages of power
  36. AA Lit. Tradition and Themes 388: reclaiming the African past; surviving the horrors of the middle passage; surviving slavery; quest for freedom from slavery and other oppression; quest for literacy; civil war experience; reconstruction experience; surviving segregation; problems and conflicts with mulattoes in a racist society; difficulties of economic survival; migration north and related themes of urbanizatin, alienation, quest to reconcile double consciousness; role of religion; importance of cultural heritage; importance of family and community; only recently could these be addressed in non-coded ways and still be published
  37. Political Content 389: correcting stereotypes; correcting history and omissions, celebrating aa culture, exploring racial issues and racial issues in combination with classism, and sexism
  38. Poetics 389: consists of orality (immediate and personal—a voice in black vernacular) and folk motifs (the local healer, the conjurer, the matriarch, the local storyteller, the trickster, the religious leader, the folk hero—folk practices include singing worksongs, hymns, blues—engaging in folk and religious rituals; storytelling; naming; the use of the blues—about spiritual theme, or loss and desire, and a material theme, the exigencies of economic necessity 392;
  39. Signifyin(g) 390: HLGates—indirect, clever, ironic, playful ways of giving your opinion about another person—not necessarily explicit—the signifying monkey or master trickster of aa folk tales; can also have this in the form of pomo pastiche
  40. Relationship 393: mary hellen Washington--black women’s relationships to all oppressives
  41. Women’s Themes 393: victimization of black women as underpaid and in lowliest jobs; woman as suppressed artist; black women’s community; initiation of young black girls into harsh realities of racism and sexism (and heterosexism); the role of skin color, hair texture, and white standards of beauty; black women and men; combined oppression oof race sex and class; the earlier theme of passing, and now lesbian themes