Third World and Third World Women

Posted · Add Comment

What geographical regions constitute the Third World? Who are Third World women? Who defines and writes about the terms “Third World” and “Third World Women”? The answers to the above questions are important to both postcolonial studies and feminist studies. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak explains that the term “Third World” was initially coined in 1955 by those […]


Posted · 3 Comments

Defining Representation Representation is a critical concept not only in postcolonial studies and academia, but in the larger cultural milieu. The term itself can be defined in many different ways. Often, we think of representation primarily as “presence” or “appearance” where there is an implied visual component. Representations can be clear images, material reproductions, performances […]

Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity

Posted · 5 Comments

Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel, Robinson Crusoe, is a rich text for understanding the mechanisms of European colonialism and the relation between the colonizer and the colonized (represented by Crusoe and Friday). Defoe represents Crusoe as being the ultimate incarnation of an Englishman: industrious, self-determining, and ready to colonize natives. (See Anglophilia) Crusoe encounters a native and […]

Hybridity and Postcolonial Music

Posted · 2 Comments

Ethnomusicology Bruno Nettl, a music and anthropology professor at the University of Illinois, lists some of the various definitions for “ethnomusicology.” Meanings, in terms of the material that is studied, range from “folk and what used to be called “primitive,” i.e. tribal or possibly ancient music,to “all human music” (The Study of Ethnomusicology, 2-3). Definitions […]


Posted · 1 Comment

  One of the central modes of representation is essentialism. Diana Fuss says that essentialism is most commonly understood as a belief in the real, true essence of things, the invariable and fixed properties which define the ‘whatness’ of a given entity … Importantly, essentialism is typically defined in opposition to difference … The opposition […]

Colonialism and Architecture

Posted · 2 Comments

The colonial presence is always ambivalent, split between its appearance as original and authoritative and its articulation as repetition and difference. It is a disjunction produced within the act of enunciation as a specifically colonial articulation of those two disproportionate sites of colonial discourse and power: the colonial scene as the invention of historicity, mastery, […]


Posted · Add Comment

“By G – I do love the Ingles. G-d dammee, if I don’t love them better than the French by G -!” – Voltaire (qtd. in Buruma 21). Introduction Why can’t the rest of the world be just like England? When Voltaire raised this question in 1756 in his Philosophical Dictionary, it would logically follow that […]

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty

Posted · 17 Comments

Introduction While she is best known as a postcolonial theorist, Gayatri Spivak describes herself as a “para-disciplinary, ethical philosopher”– though her early career would have included “applied deconstruction.” Her reputation was first made for her translation and preface to Derrida’s Of Grammatology (1976) and she has since applied deconstructive strategies to various theoretical engagements and textual analyses […]

Soyinka, Wole

Posted · Add Comment

Biography Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian born writer of international renown, is an artist proficient in multiple genres. Soyinka has written in the modes of drama (Death and the King’s Horseman and Madmen and Specialists), poetry (Idanre and other Poems), autobiography (Ake: The Years of Childhood), the novel (The Interpreters), literary and cultural criticism (Myth, Literature and the […]

Kureishi, Hanif

Posted · Add Comment

“From the start I tried to deny my Pakistani self . . . it was a curse and I wanted to be rid of it. I wanted to be like everyone else.” – Kureishi, “The Rainbow Sign” Biography Born December 5, 1954 in Bromley, England, to an Indian father and an English mother, Hanif Kureishi grew up […]

Kipling, Rudyard

Posted · 4 Comments

Take up the White Man’s burden– Send forth the best ye breed– Go, bind your sons to exile To serve your captives’ need; On fluttered folk and wild– Your new-caught sullen peoples, Half devil and half child. – Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” Biography This famous writer was born Joseph Rudyard Kipling in Bombay on […]

Djebar, Assia

Posted · 1 Comment

Biography Assia Djebar was born Fatima-Zohra Imalayen in Cherchell, Algeria on August 4, 1936. She published her first novel, La Soif, under pen name Assia Djebar in 1957, followed by her second novel, Les Impatients, in 1958. In that same year, Djebar married Walid Garn and worked toward advanced degree in history at University of Algiers. In 1962, Djebar […]

Coetzee, J.M.

Posted · Add Comment

Biography John Maxwell Coetzee, better known as J.M. Coetzee, was born in South Africa to Afrikaner parents on February 9th, 1940. His father worked for the government and also was a sheep farmer. When Coetzee was eight, his father lost the government job due to his differing views from the apartheid government. The family then moved […]

Blixen, Karen (Isak Dinesen)

Posted · 4 Comments

Biography Karen Blixen remains a complex figure in the writing and history of colonial Africa. Author, storyteller, and early colonizer, she helped to define Africa and its people for the many Europeans who read her novels, chiefly Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass. Criticism of her work frequently shifts from admiration of her form to outrage […]

Basquiat, Jean-Michel

Posted · 1 Comment

Basquiat and Postcoloniality On Basquiat, art critic Robert Farris Thompson writes, “What identifies Jean-Michel Basquiat as a major artist is courage and full powers of self-transformation. That courage, meaning not being afraid to fail, transforms paralyzingly self-conscious’predicaments of culture’ into confident ‘ecstasies of cultures recombined.’ He had the guts, what is more, to confront New York […]