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Digitizing the Western Gaze

The End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign

Jessica Cammaert

The increasing digitization of print media has resulted in the expansion of female genital mutilation (FGM) eradication efforts from print articles, editorials and novels, to online newspapers. The Guardian recently launched an online “End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign,” incorporating video, film, and multimedia. This report reviews the digitization of FGM eradication efforts by comparing End FGM to past anti-female circumcision screen texts. Focusing on a film featured in the campaign, Shara Amin and Nabaz Ahmed’s 2007 documentary, A Handful of Ash, this report applies a post-colonial feminist critique of gender, sexuality and colonialism to examine how the digitization of pain and suffering is mobilized and consumed. Comparing the film to anti-circumcision screen texts, Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé and Sherry Hormann’s Desert Flower, this report historicizes the global media campaign and highlights its’ repackaging of past imperialist discourses on the body in new digitized ways.

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Censorship as Freedom of Expression

The Tailor and Ansty Revisited

Maryann Gialanella Valiulis

Censorship laws were introduced in the Irish Free State in 1928 and sparked immediate controversy among intellectuals, the media, and the political classes. The issue of censorship became the center of a conversation about Irish national identity. It was, in part, an assertion of independence and a conscious rejection of colonialism, an attempt to decide what stories would be told about them, what image they would portray to the world. In 1942, one text in particular sparked a renewal of the censorship controversy: Eric Cross's book, The Tailor and Ansty, which was banned because it was a realistic portrayal of Irish peasant life that was unacceptable to post-colonial Ireland, and because the author, an English folklorist, was perceived to be trying to undermine post-colonial attempts to establish a modern identity for Ireland. Thus, the application of censorship laws in Ireland can be seen as a move to free Irish self-identity from the negative portrayals of the Irish so prevalent in the colonial period.

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Luigi Cajani

This article reconstructs the evolution of the representation of Italian colonialism in history textbooks for upper secondary schools from the Fascist era to the present day. Textbook analysis is conducted here in parallel with the development of Italian historiography, with special attention being paid to the myth of the "good Italian", incapable of war crimes and violence against civilians, that has been cherished by Italian public opinion for a long time. Italian historians have thoroughly reconstructed the crimes perpetrated by the Italian army both in the colonies and in Yugoslavia and Greece during the Second World War, and this issue has slowly entered history textbooks.

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Paula Montero

When compared to the extensive historiography on missionary activity, the anthropology of missions is a relative newcomer, emerging as such in the context of the recent critique of the colonial system. In view of the importance of historiographical literature in outlining the subject, on the one hand, and of the impact of the decolonization of the African continent on anthropology, on the other hand, my purposes in this essay are, firstly, to examine how the historiography of colonial America and of African colonialism has handled the subject of missions; secondly, to describe the role of missionary activity in the historiographical debate in the context of the crisis of colonialism; and, lastly, to analyze how post-colonial critique has given rise to a new anthropology of missions.

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Collections without End

The Ghostly Presences of Captain Matthew McVicker-Smyth and his Western Australian Mineral Collection in the State Library of Western Australia

Andrea Witcomb and Alistair Patterson

The discovery of five photographs in 2018 in the State Library of Western Australia led us to the existence of a forgotten private museum housing the collection of Captain Matthew McVicker Smyth in early-twentieth-century Perth. Captain Smyth was responsible for the selling of Nobel explosives used in the agriculture and mining industries. The museum contained mineral specimens in cases alongside extensive, aesthetically organized displays of Australian Aboriginal artifacts amid a wide variety of ornaments and decorative paintings. The museum reflects a moment in the history of colonialism that reminds us today of forms of dispossession, of how Aboriginal people were categorized in Australia by Western worldviews, and of the ways that collectors operated. Our re-creation brings back into existence a significant Western Australian museum and opens up a new discussion about how such private collections came into existence and indeed, in this instance, about how they eventually end.

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The Colonial State and Carnival

The Complexity and Ambiguity of Carnival in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

Christoph Kohl

Carnival performances and their political implications underwent significant transformations in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. By focusing on two periods of colonization, this article examines carnival as an event that involves a multitude of meanings and forms of imitation that could imply resistance to colonialism, but were by no means limited to critique and upheaval. Colonizers, colonized, and the people mediating and situated between these overarching categories could ascribe various meanings to specific performances, thereby underlining the multi-dimensional character of carnivalesque rituals and their heterogeneous significations. In these performances, mimicking the colonizers was an active, creative, and ambiguous undertaking that repeatedly and increasingly challenged colonial representation. However, the colonial state proved to be far less controlling and totalizing than is often assumed.

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Many a Standard at a Time

The Ottomans' Leverage with Imperial Studies

Marc Aymes

This article aims to explore the consequences of including Ottoman studies in the larger field of imperial studies. It strives to combine a close reading of the Ottoman imperial epithets with considerations of how the Ottomans may contribute to theorizing empire as a model. In particular, the article engages in a discussion of whether the "sublime sultanate" developed into a colonial pattern of empire over its final century of existence. As it turns out, the Ottoman practice of administration did not come down to a simulacrum of European colonialism; the article points instead to a semiotics of empire that took its cue from a multidimensional logic of governmentality. Accordingly, archival idiosyncrasies are taken to imply the contrary of an Ottoman exceptionalism. They serve rather to highlight that concepts carry with them a vast repertoire of meanings to be activated in practice.

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The Uncanniness of Missionary Others

A Discursive Analysis of a Century of Anthropological Writings on Missionary Ethnographers

Travis Warren Cooper

ethnographer’s “anti model,” to state it in another way—representative of the dual project of Christianization and colonialism. Thus, Malinowski begins to contemplate “a really effective anti-missionary campaign” ( Stocking 1992: 245 ). The anthropologist

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Prelude to Colonialism

Moroccan Muslims and Jews through Western Lenses, 1860–1912

Michael M. Laskier

This study is a portrayal of Moroccan Muslims and Jews by European travellers, journalists, experts and diplomats from the latter half of the nineteenth century until the transformation of Morocco in 1912 into a colonial entity under French and Spanish protectorates. In this pre-colonial setting, we catch a glimpse of a traditional society and its gradual, albeit partial, evolution towards modernity among the Jews as well as an understanding of Europe’s economic, political and cultural penetration into the Sharifian Empire, which for hundreds of years preserved its independence when many Islamic societies capitulated to foreign domination. What were the major challenges confronted by Morocco in the pre-colonial era? Did Muslims and Jews conform to or reject modernisation brought by European culture? What were the socioeconomic conditions and the juridical status of the Jews vis-à-vis the Muslim majority? These are some of the main concerns of our investigation.

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Imitations of Buddhist Statecraft

The Patronage of Lao Buddhism and the Reconstruction of Relic Shrines and Temples in Colonial French Indochina

Patrice Ladwig

From 1893 onward, French colonialism sponsored and restructured Lao and Khmer Buddhism in order to create an ‘Indochinese Buddhism’. Over a span of several decades, the French promoted monastic education, reconstructed the major temples in Vientiane, and renovated the That Luang, the most important Buddhist relic shrine of Laos. This article explores the motivations and strategies for this endeavor, specifically focusing on French efforts to ‘re-materialize’ Lao Buddhism’s religious architecture. I argue that the renovation of these monuments as symbols and centers of power under the auspices of the École française d’Extrême-Orient was based on mimetic processes that should be understood as a form of ceremonial governmentality and colonial politics of affect, whose goal was to win the ‘sympathies’ of the colonized.