In Dirlek’s attempt to pinpoint the era of postcolonialism in his essay “The Postcolonial Aura”, he suggests three definitions: “literal description of conditions in formerly colonial societies […] “global condition after the period of colonialism” and lastly, “a discourse on the above-named conditions” (563-64).  Over the last weeks, we have focused on the last, learning about the discipline of postcolonialism as it pertains to literature—which, as we all know, means how it pertains to society. We have read narratives that attempt to convey life before, during, and after colonization and in them we can begin to piece together a sense of where postcolonialism fits into the other narratives of the world. (Note: I originally wrote “larger narratives of the world”[…]

The word I keep coming back to is assimilate. Like a long ago episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “assimilate” is not only the command of The Borg, it is, in their mind, the inevitable duty of all species in the galaxy. And in both Pérez-Sánchez and Puar essays, I felt that assimilation was the unspoken rule when it came to accepting members of the LGBTQ community. Where Pérez-Sánchez talks about acceptance on a national scale, Puar discusses the possible underlying motives affecting the United States specifically, but could be applied anywhere. Overall, it is argued, that you are more likely to find acceptance within the larger community if you are white, male, gay, economically stable, and willing to[…]

If this were a film blog, I’d love to talk about the sound design in Persepolis. The ominous sounds of the tanks as they moved in, the wheels of the bicycle as the children chased after it, the frantic footsteps as the young men were chased across the roof; if you weren’t wearing headphones while watching this film, you missed at least a third of its artistry. The animation, as well, would take center stage in this discussion. The black and white denoting the harsh separation between two worlds, nothing truly existing in the grey–where we all live, the flashes of color in the present-day scenes highlighting a more nuanced, though bleaker, outlook on the world, the homogeneity of the[…]

Note: I apologize to my classmates for missing last week’s discussion. My time management skills apparently had not yet returned from break. I have since forcibly extracted them from the void and, battered as they are, am working diligently to get them ship-shape. Considering the time-stamp on this post, they are still a little…disgruntled. Language is like clay. The one you are born into benefits from years of kneading, handling, molding, and is soft and pliable. If you are lucky, you spend your life creating different shapes with the clay, using examples of sculptures that came before you, refining your process. Then one day, another language beckons you, and you answer the call. A new, hard lump of clay is placed before[…]

Your listening for this post: When I read Dr. Clemens’ post about this week’s reading, I was worried that “the most depressing book they have read” consensus of Nawal El Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero would unduly influence me. It prepared me, in some ways, to build up a wall against what I might find. Thankfully, Saadawi’s prose tore down any barriers I had to the story and in the end, no, I wasn’t depressed. Depression is a terribly selfish emotion, inward looking and isolated. I was in awe. I was ashamed. I was angry. In awe because of something we don’t spend as much time on in this class because of the flood of injustice presented in the texts. I was[…]

Another post, another disclaimer. I am an atheist and have been all my life. I come away from this week’s readings troubled with how I can explain my distrust of indoctrinating children into religion without being disrespectful of an adult’s choice in their personal faith. In many ways Gyasi’s “Inscape” spoke to me, trying to make sense of my own connection to the universe without the tether of faith. That faith and religion are two separate things is something we forget. I believe, if you’ll forgive me the use of that word, that when religion is done right it is a process of writing that “Future Testament,” the story of the role of god in your life. Too often that[…]

It may seem disingenuous, or at worst mocking, to say that I have to work at decolonizing my mind. As the beneficiary of generations of imperialism, I have to continually unravel my automated thoughts about other peoples and cultures to not only better understand them but to better understand myself. I believe that if you are not always deconstructing your beliefs, reevaluating them in the face of new information, you become stagnant and dull. It’s exhausting, but it’s important. When I first read Edward Said’s Orientalism last year, I came with the understanding that I was an enlightened thinker ready to absorb new wisdom. Yet what happened was a cold slap in the face. At the same time I was[…]

When I saw “hybridity” as one of our concepts this week, I was troubled, thinking that its association with biology may cloud its association with people living in contact zones, but Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin had that covered. As well when I approached “binarism” I felt an assumption of meaning but the book helped sharply define my thoughts.  “Palimpsest” and “Syncretism” were relatively new, as if I’d seen them in the hallways enough to recognize them, but not formally introduced. “Liminality” I had experienced before in doing my research on fairy tales and in a sense it is no different here, a place of existence–that Third Place as Bhabha calls it–where the colonizer and the colonized cultures battle for dominance.[…]

My thesis work and my postcolonial readings collided again this week. As I read an article about, of all things, the attitudes of Victorians toward the Japanese wearing Western clothes, Hami Bhaba and his assertions on mimicry and ambivalence came into play. The Victorian’s deprecating comments and attitudes toward people attempting to assimilate part of their culture was a perfect example of the disruption of mimicry. The reaction, on the surface, seems like the paternal condescension of a large empire to its new pupil, but deep down it is the uneasy realization of one’s own preposterous-ness when presented from the outside. It is also the disruption of that paternal state, equivalent to your child marching around in your shoes; one[…]

Note: My apologies for the last minute entry. You can see why here. Somewhere between Wilde and Derrida I realized that language was something I was thrust into. It filled the world around me and gave form to everything. As I grew and became a reader, language created a temporal gateway between myself, the writer and the world they created. Its nuances and inconsistencies—as exemplified by the apex of all word-play, the pun—gave me hours of delight. Language can bend, turn back on itself and surprise. Yet, like the air, it is invisible and, like the air, its contamination or elimination would be deadly. Rushdie’s master manipulation in the short story “The Courter” is frustrating. Whenever I come upon a writer[…]