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Matthew P. Romaniello

Russian imperialism continues to leave a strong imprint on indigenous cultures across Siberia, and throughout the Russian Federation and the post-Soviet republics. Imperialism is invasive and persistent, and it might be impossible to escape its consequences. In 1986, African novelist and postcolonial theorist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o published his influential essay collection, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. One of his arguments is that no postcolonial subject could be free from the constraints of imperialism until she or he succeeded in freeing the mind from the trap of an imposed (and foreign) language. Ngũgĩ’s experience was based on his own life growing up in Kenya, but his lesson is as applicable to Siberia as it is for East Africa. For indigenous Siberians, language and education are at the forefront of the ongoing postcolonial struggle to maintain their cultural identities in modern Russia.

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Traveling “Back” to India

Globalization as Imperialism in Pico Iyer's Video Night in Kathmandu

Malini Johar Schueller

This article teases out the complex intersections between Pico Iyer's Video Night in Kathmandu as an Orientalist travel narrative and as a treatise on the cultural flows of globalization by analyzing the politics of Iyer's adoption of a migrant, cosmopolitan persona as well as his conscious attempt to rewrite the gendered hierarchies of imperialism. It examines the unspoken privileges of whiteness and Westernness in Iyer's adoption of a decentered persona that struggles to overcome (particularly in his chapter on India) being interpellated as “Indian.” The larger purpose of the essay is to interrogate the rhetoric of cultural globalization as beyond the hierarchies of imperialism.

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Serge Latouche

Economic imperialism and the imperialism of economics which characterise ultramodernity in its current phase, are destroying the planet. This can be observed by looking at everyday life, providing that one does not suffer from the short sightedness of the ultra-liberal “Stalinists” from the Bretton-Woods institutions, who are playing at being sorcerer’s apprentices … Economising has reduced culture to folklore and relegated it to museums. By liquidating different cultures, globalisation gives birth to “tribes”, withdrawal, and ethnicity, rather than co-existence and dialogue. The rise of mimetic violence, with its backdrop of the victimising of the scapegoats, is the corollary to homogeneity and false hybridisation. These phenomena have been amplified by the media and have provoked such repugnance, undoubtedly legitimate, that we have reached the stage of exalting unconditional, selfsatisfied universalism, which is exclusively western in essence, along with the repeated chanting of meaningless slogans.

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Turkish Robbers, Lumps of Delight, and the Detritus of Empire

The East Revisited in Dickens's Late Novels

Grace Moore

It is a testament to Said’s critical legacy that today it is almost inconceivable to approach the Victorian novel without considering the representation (or lack thereof) of race and imperialism. Said’s conceptualisation of Orientalism as a dynamic exchange between authors and their broader political context has made a new generation of readers acutely aware of the markers of Britain’s imperial progress that had hitherto been rendered invisible.

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Francisca de Haan

The years 1917 and 1918 witnessed the end of the Russian, German, Habsburg, and Ottoman empires, with huge consequences for European and global history. Yet despite the obvious importance of empires to the history of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, gendered imperialism—especially within Eastern Europe—has received little attention from scholars. The theme section included here, “Rethinking Empire from Eastern Europe,” for which Susan Zimmermann served as guest editor, aims to begin addressing this omission.

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Sympathy and Denial

A Postcolonial Re-reading of Emotions, Race, and Hierarchy

Alice Bullard

This essay uses transference, in the psychoanalytic sense, to illuminate the history of emotions in the era of late imperialism. Centered on Frantz Fanon's rejoinder to Octave Mannoni's dependency theory and his rejection of Freud's theory of the Oedipal complex, this essay provides as well a broader scholarly understanding of French psychiatry in North and West Africa, and the prominence therein of sympathy, magic, denial, and transference.

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Har Ye Kan

In 1870, a report by a local commissioner in Zhenjiang, a city by the Yangzi River in Jiangsu Province, noted that “the Chinese are learning to appreciate traveling by foreign steamers. Not a few of the passengers who arrive and depart hence are officials, who have so far overcome their bigotry to acknowledge that steamer traveling is eminently satisfactory.” As foreign powers had used steamers in their economic expansion in China during the First Opium War (1839–42), the Chinese had at first associated this mode of transport with imperialism and Western dominance before they became an integral part of passenger and commercial conveyance.

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International Biopolitics

Foucault, Globalisation and Imperialism

M.G.E. Kelly

In this article, I present a new Foucauldian reading of the international, via Foucault's concept of 'biopolitics'. I begin by surveying the existing Foucauldian perspectives on the international, which mostly take as their point of departure Foucault's concept of 'governmentality', and mostly diagnose a 'global governmentality' or 'global biopolitics' in the current era of globalisation. Against these majority positions, I argue that analysis of the contemporary international through the lens of Foucauldian biopolitics in fact shows us that our world system is marked by a parasitic imperialism of rich sovereign states over poor ones, carried on at the level of populations.

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'You ain't the man you was'

Learning to Be a Man Again in Charles Reade's A Simpleton

Georgina O'Brien Hill

This article examines the role of the sensation novel in the construction of male identities in the Victorian period through an examination of Charles Reade's A Simpleton, a Story of the Day (1873). This novel exploits Victorian anxieties surrounding male identity and seeks to affirm unstable concepts of masculinity through dominant codes of imperialism. O'Brien Hill argues that Reade's novel is unusual in the sensation canon due to the combination of the adventure sub-plot and sensational narrative devices, serving to expose the fluidity of male identity and Victorian fascination with the spectacle of masculinity in crisis.

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Peter Katz

This special issue of Critical Survey explores the reciprocal relationships between Victorian literature and Victorian science – both the representation of science in literature, and the appearance of the literary within scientific discourse. Recent trends in historicism inspire this collection to contextualise Victorian literature and culture through Victorian understandings of bodies. These critics rightfully begin from the assumption that only once we understand Victorian bodies as Victorians might have understood them can we theorise historical bodies as sites integral to the legitimisation of flows of cultural power: capitalism, imperialism, heteronormativity, and beyond.