Colonialism and post colonialism
Colonialism Before we can understand post colonialism we need to ask what colonialism is?
Colonialism is the building and maintaining of colonies in one territory by people based elsewhere. It can also take the form of subjugation of a minority culture by a majority culture. Colonialism is often linked with the concept of imperialism.
Task: Discuss- who were the countries listed below colonised by?
Task: Watch this feature on Avatar. What is the film saying about the idea of colonisation? What about the choice of Afro-American actors to play the Nabi.
The Colonies in the 19th century
Map of the British Empire- circa 1890s
The British Empire- a bit of historyThe British Empire comprised the colonies, ruled or administered by the United Kingdom.
These had originated as trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
At its height in the early 20th Century, the British empire was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power.
By 1922, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, one-quarter of the world's population at the time.
As a result, its political, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, it was often said that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous territories.
The growth of Germany and the United States eroded Britain's economic lead by the end of the 19th century. During the remainder of the 20th century, as part of a larger decolonisation movement by European powers, most of the territories of the British Empire became independent, ending with the return of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China in 1997. Fourteen territories now remain under British sovereignty.
Colonialism and ImperialismA colony is part of an empire and so colonialism is closely related to imperialism.
The initial assumption is that colonialism and imperialism are the same, however some suggest that imperialism is the concept while colonialism is the practice.
For example there is no doubt that currently the US is the culturally dominant force in the world so it could be said that most of the world is dominated by American imperialism. However America has no actual colonies or territories that it governs.
Therefore American Imperialism or Americanisation as it has come to be known, is conceptual not a practical taking over of another nation or culture.
Marxist criticismsIt is an instrument of wholesale destruction, dependency and systematic exploitation producing distorted economies, socio-psychological disorientation and massive poverty
This is the Marxist view of colonialism. They viewed it as a form of capitalism, enforcing exploitation and social change. Working within the global capitalist system, colonialism is closely associated with uneven development.
Task: what have been some of the consequences of the British empire for the countries it governed?
Language.Place Names (the Australian states for example-Victoria, Queensland etc)Parliamentary, legal and education systems.
Imposing British values.Ruled by monarchy/elite ruling classes.Immigration to the mother country.
An image of two punkawallahs (Indian servants) who would care for their white British masters during the time of the empire. What would Marxists say?An image of the touring West Indian cricket team of 1906. Note the number of white British players and the seating arrangement!Why a split team? What would Marxists say?
Decolonisation and ImmigrationBy the 1960s most of the British Empire had been dismantled allowing nations to become independently governed or decolonised.
After the second world war, Britain was rebuilding its economy and called for many of its colonial nationals to come over to the UK and work.
The first wave of mass immigration came in 1948 from the Caribbean, most famously on the ship the Windrush.
By the early 1950s over 1 million, West Indians were in the UK, mostly men and mostly in the big cities. Immigration from the Caribbean continued into the 1960s.
A second wave of large immigration came in the late 60s/early 70s from the Indian sub continent ( India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka). There were also a number of people of Indian origin who came over from Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.
The Second GenerationThis bring us up to date. Those born in this country but with immigrant parentage are often referred to as second generation.
Some of you might well be third generation African, Asian or West Indian as your parents may well have been born in the UK.
Think back to our earlier discussions. As a percentage, how British did you consider yourself?Now consider a colonial. How British would a young boy living in Kingston or Bombay in the 1920s feel?
Watch this clip from YouTube.
Post colonialismPost colonialism is a discourse- a way of theorising and debating issues in the same way as feminism. It examines and analyses the cultural legacy of colonialism.
Post colonialism comprises a set of theories found amongst philosophy, political science, sociology, theological studies, literature and the media.
The goal of post-colonialism is to understand the effects of colonialism on cultures. It about learning how the world can move beyond this period together, towards a place of mutual respect.
Frantz Fanon: father of post colonial theory
Many theorists have emerged to discuss issues of colonisation and identity and perhaps the most notable is Frantz Fanon, a philosopher from the Caribbean island (and French colony) of Martinique.
Whilst living in France, Fanon wrote his first book in 1952, Black Skin, White Masks, an analysis of the effect of colonial subjugation on humanity.
Fanon was a key supporter of the Ngritude movement which highlighted consciousness in racial difference, a sort of black power movement. This movement was seen as a means to achieve equality and remain under French rule without losing ones identity through assimilation.
Post Colonial theory- Frantz Fanon
Fanon said this about colonisation.
Colonisation is not satisfied merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the native's brain of all form and content. By a kind of perverted logic, it turns to the past of oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures and destroys it.
There are obvious links with what the Marxists said.
Another view- Stuart HallStuart Hall is a Jamaican born cultural theorist and writer who published a number of works on identity and diaspora in the 1970s and 80s.
Hall states that culture and identity for second generation colonials has changed
Cultural identities come from somewhere, have histories. But, like everything which is historical, they undergo constant transformation. Far from being eternally fixed in the past, they are subject to the continuous play' of history, culture and power.
Hall seems to be suggesting that when cultures mix into a hybrid form, the original culture becomes more explicit with a greater sense of being different, this idea of otherness as an inner compulsion changes our conception of 'cultural identity.
Hall states that in his native Jamaica, Jamaicans did not really start identifying with Africa and being of African slave descent until the 1970s and the emergence of Afro-centric thinking and Rastafarianism, to be heard in reggae and the music of Bob Marley.
The constant transformation of identity is key to Halls work. He doesn't see identity as being fixed. For Hall identity is constantly evolving and there is no such thing as one shared culture as culture itself is so fragmented, particularly in Africa and the Asian sub continent where there are different tribes, religions and languages.