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Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

Robert JC Young
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 Jun 2003 Very Short Introductions (Book 98)
This innovative and lively book is quite unlike any other introduction to postcolonialism. Robert Young examines the political, social, and cultural after-effects of decolonization by presenting situations, experiences, and testimony rather than going through the theory at an abstract level. He situates the debate in a wide cultural context, discussing its importance as an historical condition, with examples such as the status of aboriginal people, of those dispossessed from their land, Algerian raï music, postcolonial feminism, and global social and ecological movements. Above all, Young argues, postcolonialism offers a political philosophy of activism that contests the current situation of global inequality, and so in a new way continues the anti-colonial struggles of the past.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) + Orientalism + Culture And Imperialism
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (26 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192801821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192801821
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.4 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Robert J. C. Young is Professor of English and Critical Theory at Oxford University and a Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford. Recent publications include Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Culture, Theory and Race (Routledge, 1995), and Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell, 2001). He is also General Editor of Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies (Routledge).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear! - the view from 'the center' 8 July 2012
By Christopher H TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Oh dear. The author cites a feature film, 'Rabbit Proof Fence', to make his point about the treatment of Aboriginals in Australia. What he has not done is check the facts behind the tale spun by the scriptwriters. Not one of the many, many books and articles about this event has been consulted. Instead a highly embellished, melodramatic, commercially-produced film is treated as equivalent to scrupulously accurate documentary history. It isn't. It also shows an obvious error in what is a useful, yet flawed introduction.

Make no mistake, as a summary of postcolonial theories current in European and American academia this book does the job well. It is useful in that sense.

However, the book's coverage of theorists who lived (or live) in colonial, neo-colonial and post-colonial nations is inadequate. Reading this book you would think that white people with academic jobs in Europe and America do most of the thinking. All ideas need to be validated by 'the center' (its worth checking The Reluctant Fundamentalist on this point). Working through this book, and having been born, raised and still living in a former colonial nation, there are moments as I read it when I am torn between frustration and anger.

Critical discussion of colonialism has been taking place outside Europe and America for hundreds of years, but it is neither explored nor acknowledged in this book. Why no discussion of cultural cringe? Why no discussion of cultural alienation? These conditions are a key part of experience in former colonial nations, yet the terms don't even appear in the book's index. I guess it goes to show the gap between theory and real life. The book might adopt the sympathetic posture of a reconstructed post-colonial, although like many texts on the subject it is paradoxically Euro-American Colonialist in outlook.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review 21 April 2010
Excellent expose on post colonial theory in practice, but very short indeed. It does not cover all aspects of post colonialism, but it is very useful in understanding what this concept means, how to use it, and why we should use it. I am glad I bought it and highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in this topic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars superb book 8 Jan 2014
By Chris
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of an excellent series that cuts to the chase to give an overview of an area of great importance. young is a brilliant writer who is able to bring to light even the dimmest of academic areas.
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By opus
Despite the fact that I am entirely unsympathetic to the author's 'bleeding-heart liberalism' as evidenced by the book, I do think that what he writes is both interesting and makes as fine a case as can be made for his position.

The paradox, as it seems to me for the author, is this: that in castigating The West (for bringing Writing, The Wheel and The Four-Part Fugue to sub-Saharan Africa) he thus tacitly supports a case of (say) Nigeria for the Nigerians, yet is of course then embarrassed to conclude as logic says he must,(say) England for the English (long live the Anglo-Saxon Liberation Front).

One may also wonder why, as part of the evil, white, misogynistic, rape-loving patriarchy he does not promptly resign his academic tenure in favour of someone from the alleged minorities he espouses - preferably a disabled, non-white (not that white exists), non-xtian female or LGBTQXR person.

On re-reading I feel compelled not to allow to pass without correction a statement made by the author on page 75. After referring to Arabic 'fluid tonal sounds' (what does that mean? - likewise on Page 76 we have a - to me - incoherent reference to 'tonal harmonics' - but I should not be too critical for the author is a Professor of English not a Professor of Music - and I do not think that previously anyone had traced James Dean's iconic status back to 'Pop') he says that Western music is limited by its notation system to half tones. That is not correct: as early as the Eighteenth Century, Tartini, the Italian composer devised a simple alteration to the western system of written music so as to incorporate quarter tones where required (which usually they are not).
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4.0 out of 5 stars A neat concise little book. 26 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very useful little book for those wanting to get a quick overall look at this subject. A helpful read.
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