Reading colonial discourses
in Beginning postcolonialism (second edition)
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This chapter first looks at Edward W. Said's Orientalism, providing a brief outline of Said's definition of Orientalism in two sections. The first highlights the general shape of the discourse of Orientalism and its manifold manifestations, while the second looks at the set-piece and stereotypical assumptions about cultural difference which it fashions and asserts as truth. Some of the important criticisms of Orientalism are surveyed to gain a sense of how the study of colonial discourses has developed. Then, Homi Bhabha's thought is considered to build a working knowledge of his concepts of 'ambivalence' and 'mimicry' in the operations of colonial discourses. The chapter contains STOP and THINK activities designed to assist readers in delineating his thoughts. It concludes with a critical exploration of a poem from the colonial period that directly addresses colonial life, as Rudyard Kipling's 'The Overland Mail' is considered in the light of the reading strategies.

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