Postcolonialism And Hegemonic London

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Postcolonialism and Hegemonic London

Postcolonialism and Hegemonic London


Postcolonialism is a literary theory used to highlight issues of empire, colonization, and cultural marginalization in literature. Postcolonial theory is often applied to literatures of formerly colonized countries to investigate the way literature operates within a political, economic, and sociocultural context. Developed in part as a way to understand the effects of European imperialism, postcolonialism aids in the examination of colonial and neocolonial spaces (Gunning, 2011).

Postcolonial Literature

When Britain began to establish colonies and spheres of influence as part of its drive for empire that reached its height in the Victorian era, it tied its nation to the futures of the territories and spaces it colonized. A colony is a region or territory controlled by another nation at a distance. When a territory becomes a colony of another nation, it becomes dependent on the colonizer; as a result, the colony's own precolonial or preimperial identity is subsumed by the colonizer. Postcolonial analysis is used as one method to help a region, territory, or marginalized people to regain a sense of identity and to grapple with the effects of colonization on their country and culture. It is also a way to study the effects of cultural hegemony. But just as colonization frequently promoted assimilation and homogenization, it is difficult to assign universal qualities to postcolonial critique as by its nature, "the field seeks to develop adequate and appropriate approaches to material that is itself diverse, hybrid, diasporic". The language of postcolonial theory and the approaches of postcolonial analysis are constantly being examined and reexamined, defined and redefined, as students and scholars try to negotiate the complexities of colonialism and imperialism.

The term postcolonialism sometimes appears as post-colonialism and there is much debate in the field as to the use of the hyphen and the meaning the hyphenation assigns to the subject. Some scholars say that post-colonialism signifies the end of colonization—the time at which a nation achieves independence from its colonizer. But postcolonialism, a term used by other critics without the key hyphen, indicates a theoretical approach that begins from the moment of contact with the friture colonizer. So where post-colonialism addresses the ending and repercussions of newly independent peoples and states, postcolonialism indicates a focus on the advent of colonialism and the effects of being colonized, existing under colonial power, and then seeking and achieving political independence. Both post-colonial and postcolonial also examine the aftereffects of colonization—to achieve political independence as a nation or a people do not mean that culturally or economically the nation is free of its colonizer. In fact, many postcolonial writers express their frustration with the seemingly inextricable ties to the former colonizer, and their texts engage with the difficulty of becoming truly independent from a colonial power (Edwards & Tredell, 2008).

One might ask, "If postcolonial theory is about the colonized, then how does it apply to British literature?" At this point, a brief discussion of the theorist Georg Hegel will prove helpful. In his text Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel uses the analogy ...
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