Actionable Postcolonial Theory in Education by V. Andreotti

By V. Andreotti

Andreotti illustrates how postcolonial thought is utilized within the contexts of academic research/critique and in pioneering pedagogical initiatives. She offers an obtainable and necessary review and comparability of theoretical debates with regards to opinions of Western/Northern hegemony.

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There is no space from which the sexed subaltern can speak” (Spivak 1988, 306–7). She also uses the example of the political suicide of Bhuvaneswari Bhaduri that was interpreted in the local scene in India as sati to illustrate that even when the subaltern tries to say something, she is “re-interpreted” from an ideological-political standpoint. ” her point is that, in the examples she gives, two meanings of representation are conflated: that of “speaking for” (political representation) and that of “speaking about” or re-presenting (making a Gayatri Spivak’s Contribution 41 portrait “as people are or would like to be”).

Said (1978) argues that knowledge produced about the Orient, although classified as scientific and objective, was negative, stereotypical, and anecdotal: Along with all other people variously regarded as backward, degenerate, uncivilized and retarded, the Orientals were viewed in a framework constructed out of biological determinism and moral-political admonishment. The Oriental was linked thus to elements in Western society (delinquents, the insane, women, the poor) having in common an identity best described as lamentably alien.

From this definition, culture is not something static or essentialist—it is hybrid, dynamic, productive—not a noun, but a verb, a strategy of survival that is both transnational (carrying marks of diverse experiences and memories of dislocations) and translational (as it demands a re-signification of traditional cultural symbols that were associated with cultural references of a homogeneous and holistic culture). (Souza 2004, 125–26) His notion of translation uses a “language metaphor” to illustrate his point: Language as communication must be understood as emerging from the constant state of contestation and flux caused by the differential systems of social and cultural identifications.

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