Literary theory Historical background Proponents (brief background) Important points presented by proponents Points to consider in writing a literary theoryPostcolonialismPostcolonialism or postcolonial studies is the academic study of the cultural legacy of colonialism and imperialism, focusing on the human consequences of the control and exploitation of colonized people and their lands.Postcolonialism encompasses a wide variety of approaches, and theoreticians may not always agree on a common set of definitions. On a simple level, it may seek through anthropological study to build a better understanding of colonial life from the point of view of the colonized people, based on the assumption that the colonial rulers are unreliable narrators.
On a deeper level, postcolonialism examines the social and political power relationships that sustain colonialism and neocolonialism, including the social, political and cultural narratives surrounding the colonizer and the colonized. Homi BhabhaEdward SaidGayatri SpivakFrantz Fanon Another important theorist of colonial discourse is Harvard University professor Homi K Bhabha, (1949 ” ). He has developed a number of the field’s neologisms and key concepts, such as hybridity, third-space, mimicry, difference, and ambivalence.
 Western canonical works like Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Charlotte Bront”‘s Jane Eyre, Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness have been targets of colonial discourse analysis. The succeeding generation of postcolonial critics focus on texts that “write back” to the colonial center. In general, postcolonial theory analyzes how anti-colonial ideas, such as anti-conquest, national unity, n©gritude, pan-Africanism and postcolonial feminism were forged in and promulgated through literature.Edward Said is considered by E. San Juan, Jr. as “the originator and inspiring patron-saint of postcolonial theory and discourse” due to his theory of Orientalism explained in his 1978 book of the same name.To describe the us-and-them “binary social relation” with which Western Europe intellectually divided the world”into the “Occident” and the “Orient”” Said developed the denotations and connotations of the term Orientalism (an art-history term for Western depictions and the study of the Orient).Said’s concept (which he also termed “Orientalism”) is that the cultural representations generated with the us-and-them binary relation are social constructs, which are mutually constitutive and cannot exist independent of each other, because each exists on account of and for the other.Spivak developed and applied Foucault’s term epistemic violence to describe the destruction of non”Western ways of perceiving the world and the resultant dominance of the Western ways of perceiving the world. Conceptually, epistemic violence specifically relates to women, whereby the “Subaltern [woman] must always be caught in translation, never [allowed to be] truly expressing herself”, because the colonial power’s destruction of her culture pushed to the social margins her non”Western ways of perceiving, understanding, and knowing the world.Frantz Fanon analyzed and medically described the nature of colonialism as essentially destructive. Its societal effects”the imposition of a subjugating colonial identity”are harmful to the mental health of the native peoples who were subjugated into colonies. Fanon wrote the ideological essence of colonialism is the systematic denial of “all attributes of humanity” of the colonized people.Focus on a particular academic discipline that is concerned with post-colonialism. Post-colonialism is a topic in philosophy, political science, history, art, film and literature. One theme that each of these academic disciplines share in common — and the reason that all are post-colonial — is the question of identity. Post-colonialism or post-colonial “theory” is concerned with a colonized people’s sense of identity.Select a particular theme or topic. The post-colonial concern with identity can be broken down into related categories such as racism, Eurocentrism, European imperialism, domination and oppression, and cultural diversity. Some theorists also place feminism within the post-colonial camp.Research the important theorists and writers who have written on your theme or topic. For example, if you are writing about the European domination of Latin America, one of the important thinkers to consider is the Argentine-Mexican philosopher Enrique Dussel. Dussel has written extensively on the about the post-colonial experience of Latin American and the Eurocentric model that has dominated philosophy, science and politics.Choose a writing style for the paper. A paper on post-colonialism may be expository or critical, or an original analysis. If the paper is written for a college course or seminar, the professor will offer guidelines for the paper. An expository paper presents a theorist or thinker’s theories about post-colonialism. An expository paper may clarify certain elements of the theorist or thinker’s position that are not clear. A critical paper, on the other hand, focuses on weak points, contradictions and inconsistencies in a particular theory or theorist. The third option is the most difficult. Presenting an original analysis requires extensive research and familiarity with the relevant literature.Divide the paper into an introduction, main body and conclusion. The introduction should start with a thesis statement that tells the reader exactly what the paper is about. The main body may be divided into several subsections. Each subsection should be devoted to a particular theme or argument. The conclusion summarizes the major points of the paper and anticipates possible objections.