History | Colloquium in Postcolonial Theory and Historiography
H680 | 6328 | Dodson


A portion of the above section reserved for majors

This colloquium is intended to serve as an introduction to the
diverse body of critical thought which has developed in the last
several decades surrounding the diverse issues of power, culture,
discourse, and identity in the colonial/postcolonial world.  This
course should be of interest to those graduate students in History,
English, Anthropology, and related disciplines, who are studying non-
Western contexts, any variety of colonial or imperial relationships,
as well as those interested in furthering their knowledge of
critical methodologies.

We will begin with a discussion of Edward Said’s important 1978
text, "Orientalism", together with some of the critiques and more
recent re-evaluations which this text has provoked.  The principal
issues which Said raises, including the nature of representation,
power relations between groups, and possibilities for resistance to
the dominant, will then be discussed with reference to some of
Said’s own pre-cursors, including Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci,
and the anti-imperialist writings of Franz Fanon and Albert Memmi.
More recent postcolonial scholarship will next be considered,
including the influential but very distinct work of Homi Bhabha, the
Subaltern Studies Collective, as well as the growing divide
between ‘Chicago’ and ‘Cambridge’ school approaches to historical
writing.

It is envisioned that once some of the basic groundwork of
postcolonial theory and historiography has been discussed, it will
be the interests of graduate students themselves which will then
drive the principal foci of this colloquium.  For example, we may
wish to spend the second half of the term discussing issues as
diverse as the influence of anthropological theory upon history
writing; theorising the use of visual media in critical theory;
issues of gender and sexuality; negotiating travel writing as a
historical source; the idea of globalisation and its relationship to
imperialism; and so forth.

Graduate students will be evaluated upon the basis of the quality of
their participation in the colloquium, as well as by reference to
oral presentations and written work.