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John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

日志

 
 

Bressler on Postclonialism  

2009-02-27 17:15:28|  分类: +短篇小说第二课 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. 4th ed.

     Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.

 236

       “Rooted in colonial power and prejudice, postcolonialism develops from a 4000-year history of strained cultural relations between colonies in Africa and Asia and the Western world. Throughout this long history, the West became the colonizers, and many African and Asian countries and their peoples became the colonized.”

       “Often the colonizers justified their cruel treatment of the colonized by invoking European religious beliefs. From the perspective of many white Westerners, the peoples of Africa, the Americas, and Asia were ‘heathens,’ possessing ways that must be Christianized. How one treats peoples who are so defined does not really matter, they said, because many Westerners subscribed to the colonialist ideology that all races other than white were inferior or subhuman. These subhumans or ‘savages’ quickly became the inferior and equally ‘evil’ Others, a philosophical concept called alternity [alterity] whereby ‘the others’ are excluded from positions of power and viewed as different and inferior.”

240

       Perhaps the key text in the establishment of postcolonial theory is Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978). “In this work, Said chastises the literary world for not investigating the taking seriously the study of colonization or imperialism. He then develops several concepts that are central to postcolonial theory. According to Said, nineteenth-century Europeans tried to justify their territorial conquests by propagating a manufactured belief called Orientalism: the creation of non-European stereotypes that suggested so-called Orientals were indolent, thoughtless, sexually immoral, unreliable, and demented. The European conquerors, Said notes, believed that they were accurately describing the inhabitants of their newly acquired lands in ‘the East.’ What they failed to realize, maintains Said, is that all human knowledge can be viewed only through one’s political, cultural, and ideological framework. No theory, either political or literary, an [can] be totally objective. In effect, the colonizers were revealing their unconscious desires for power, wealth, and domination, not the nature of the colonized subjects.”

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