[dance-tech] Re: Post-structuralist Threads1: Postcolonial

  • From: "Matt Gough" <mpgough@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: jaimedelval@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 20:45:04 +0100

hi jaime, all

you (jaime) skipped over postcolonial studies to discuss
post-structuralism. i just wanted to fill that gap a little.

in a general sense, post-colonial theory was developed by scholars of
former colonies in their own 'institutions/academies' and those of
their former colonial rulers.

for example: edward saïd was born in the british mandate of palestine
(now jerusalem), but was educated in england and the usa.

(the open access journal "postcolonial text" is a good starting point
for anyone interested http://tinyurl.com/2ss4xy )

the 'academy' continually overturns its modes of thinking. the
revolutions may be slow, but they occur. as you identify,
postcoloinialism and post-structuralism have been instrumental in this
most recent 're-assesment'.

i digress

i asked about colonialism because you implied i was a "clear" example
of such thinking:

" This prejudice or ignorance of what diversity is really about is at
the basis of the postcolonial dominations that I was addressing in the
former message, ad which I see as a most important matter of
discussion in any community, it is therefore wonderful to be able to
speak about the matter with such clear examples at hand. Thanks Matt
for making it so clear. "

i asked about your definition to double check your implication:

" To a certain extent colonial power does mean, white, male,
heterosexual, middle-upper class, central European or North American.

i'm sure there were little 'ripples' when i asked this. and some smiles too.

you see, i am an example of postcolonialism (in some ways). i'm a
first generation immigrant (naturalized) in the uk. my 'genetic'
heritage is from ghana (in west africa), a former british colony.

this is why i tend to look at what is being said, rather than 'who' said it.

of course my name could be thomas, and i might have a niece. but thats
not really the case/issue. post~ theories the are the dominant
discourse at this time. but they too will be overturned.

in bringing clarity, i hope to expand the range of
options/meanings/reading. we also need to find more effective ways to
communicate our practice. i look for general/shared principles of
practice, not 'universal' absolutes. this also brings focus to the
'gaps' in what we 'know' and intertextual shifts / reconfigurations.

this clarity is not dominance, just a different form of diversity and



On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 4:56 PM, Jaime del Val <jaimedelval@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Starting with Matt's questions on colonialism, my approach to the term is
> related to the well established field of POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES, for which it
> would take too long to give an introduction, nevertheless, the field
> attempts to frame the ways in which empires have produced notions of
> otherness in order to institute themselves as centres of power, and its
> agents as sovereign subjects, as one can see in such well known foundational
> essays as Edward Said's "Orientalism". To a certain extent colonial power
> does mean, white, male, heterosexual, middle-upper class, central European
> or North American. The academy itself, and production of knowledge in
> general is one of the essential mechanisms of the colonial system.
> This does not mean that all work produced in the academy is only an
> instrument of hegemonic power structures, since in the academy we find such
> OPPOSITIONAL PRACTICES as the ones I will be mentioning here, namely:
> cultural studies, postcolonial-, queer-, and different braches related to
> feminism, to name but a few of the braches that we can frame as related to
> POSTSTRUCTURALIST thinking, (largely developed in US and Britain academy,
> from French Philosophy -Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze...- in a tradition that
> goes back to Nietzsche, Heidegger or Postmarxism, to name a few); and which
> deal with the questioning of all these extraordinary structures that the
> academy has produced at all levels of knowledge, relating to structuralist
> modernist thinking and which turn out to be contingent, and instrumental to
> power regimes.

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