Postcolonialism Summary

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The discourse of post-colonialism starts with the publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism, a Palestinian-American critic, in 1978. He is the very first to write about how the West perceives and manipulates the knowledge of the East. According to him, the Europeans considered the Orientals a lower form of human beings. They considered it their duty to civilize them because they their selves did not have the knowledge of good and bad. In order to achieve this goal, they had to colonize and rule them. Through this knowledge, they tried to legalize their imperialism and colonization. He writes, ‘There are Westerners, and there are Orientals. The former dominate; the latter must be dominated, which usually means having their land occupied, their internal affairs rigidly controlled, their blood and treasure put at the disposal of one or another Western power’ (48). The Westerners thought that they had more knowledge of the Orientals and their history. The discourse of Orientalism largely affected the image of the East. East and West were considered as two world totally conflicting and contradictory to each other. As Orientalism was defined by the West, they automatically defined themselves as well. East was represented as inferior, which makes the West superior. Irrationality, primitiveness, and despotism are attributes given to the East which constructs the West as rational, progressive and democratic. They not only had the power to make Orientalism as a common discourse, but they also succeeded to convince the colonized subjects that Western culture represents the only true universal civilization.

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