This book is an analysis of the complex links between social relations—including notions of class, nationality and gender—and spatial relations, landscape, architecture and topography—in post-colonial contexts. Arguing against the psychoanalytic focus of much current post-colonial theory, it aims to set out in a new direction, drawing on a wide range of literary and non-literary texts to develop a more materialist approach. The book foregrounds gender in this field where it has often been marginalised by the critical orthodoxies, demonstrating its importance not only in spatial theorising in general, but in the post-colonial theorising of space in particular. Concentrating on the period of ‘high’ British colonialism at the close of the nineteenth century, it examines a range of colonial contexts, such as India, Africa, America, Canada, Australia and Britain, illustrating how relations must be analysed for the way in which different colonial contexts define and constitute each other.
This introductory chapter discusses the process by which spatial relations are considered classed, raced and gendered within the imperial and colonial contexts. It notes that the focus of the study is on the period of ‘high’ British colonialism during the last few years of the nineteenth century. It considers the question of spatiality and explains how the book—and the study—developed. It examines post-colonial theory, this book's theoretical position, and the concepts of space and spatial relations. This chapter also identifies the different levels of colonial space and discusses the public and private spheres, the contact zone, the sexualisation of space, and gender and space.
This chapter analyses the way that colonial subjectivity is formed within the colonial context. The discussion is concerned with analysing the very specificity of colonial subjectivity, as well as the way that certain forms of subject position develop in relation to, and in contrast to, other subjectivities. This chapter also considers the impact these different forms of subjectivity have on metropolitan contexts.
This chapter centres on the way that landscape can be viewed within the colonial context. It studies the viewing positions that are created for travellers within the colonial context. It also analyses the components of certain aesthetic positions, such as the sublime and the picturesque, and relates these to the positions of power that were assumed by views of the landscape within the colonial context.
This chapter takes a look at the way that colonial architecture structures the way that spatial relations are considered. The discussion focuses on the domestic architecture of the bungalow and the impact this had on the social relations between Indians and the Anglo-Indians. This chapter also analyses the specificity of colonial public and domestic architecture, while focusing on the way that these forms of architecture evolved out of a complex relationship with both indigenous and metropolitan styles of architecture.
This chapter discusses indigenous spatiality. It studies the way that this was often constructed, in contrast to a presumed British spatiality. It also tries to mark the sense that indigenous populations resisted colonial rule and tried to manage and restrict colonists, and that it is this resistance that makes its presence felt in the accounts of the colonists. This chapter also examines cannibalism and the seclusion of indigenous women.
This chapter considers the way the colonial constructions of subjectivity—within a post-colonial context—affect the way women and men judge their position in the world and within Britain. It examines the forms of behaviour that are considered possible in light of those constructions. This chapter also reviews the topics that were discussed in the previous chapters.