By: Hichem Karoui
The term ‘post-colonialism’ is used to describe the aftermath of colonisation as well as the ongoing effects of colonialism. Post-colonialism is a branch of critical theory that looks at the intersection of race, gender, and class in relation to the colonial process.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in post-colonialist literature. This is likely due in part to the current political climate, which has made people more aware of the need for social justice. Because of this, post-colonialist literature is making a big comeback, from taking back personal stories to breaking down language barriers. Here are five ways post-colonialist literature is making a comeback.
Setting the scene
Post-colonialist literature is a form of literature that deals with the effects of colonisation on individuals, cultures, and societies. This body of work often reflects the experiences of people whose lives have been shaped by colonialism, imperialism, and globalised power structures. Post-colonial works typically challenge the dominant narrative by providing an alternative perspective. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, and Burger’s Daughter by Nadine Gordimer are all works of post-colonial literature.
Post-colonialist literature is often seen as a direct response to colonisation and imperialism, as writers reclaim the narrative and create a new society in the aftermath of colonialism. Such literature may also be seen as a form of protest, with writers standing up for social justice and making their voices heard.
Reclaiming personal narratives
One of the most powerful ways post-colonialist literature is making a comeback is by reclaiming personal narratives. Writers are taking back control of their stories and using them to challenge colonial discourses and make a new story. Post-colonial writers are reclaiming the story in a way that is empowering and helps build solidarity. Writers are not only reclaiming their stories, but they are also reclaiming their identities. Post-colonialist writers disagree with the idea that their lives are shaped by colonial power structures. Instead, they make works of art that show who they are as individuals. Through their writing, they are creating a space for themselves and others to express themselves without being defined by oppressive forces.
Redefining traditional genres
Another way post-colonialist literature makes a comeback is through the redefinition of traditional genres. Writers are breaking away from how genres have been defined in the past and making something completely new. This is often done by deciding which elements of the genre to keep and which to discard. This lets post-colonial writers change the rules of a certain type of writing and make something that is all their own. Post-colonial writers also use the genre to fight against the way colonial power structures make people feel bad. They are creating works that push the boundaries of what a traditional genre can do and create something that is innovative and transformative. By doing this, they are able to change the rules of genres and create works that are deep and make you think.
Breaking free from linguistic barriers
Post-colonialist literature is also making a comeback by breaking free from linguistic barriers. They do this in three ways:
- The first is to reclaim their native languages and the power that language has over their culture and identity. Through the use of their native tongue, they are able to express themselves in a way that is meaningful and powerful. Post-colonialist authors are also using language to challenge traditional power structures. Through the use of their native language, they are able to challenge the status quo and create a space for themselves that is free from oppressive forces.
- The second is to break away from the language of the previous colonial power by adopting a language of their choosing. This language is often associated with where they live and what they do for a living when staying in their home country means giving in to an oppressive government.
- The third way is for them to reclaim the previous imperialist language, not simply by adopting it but by making it dedicated to their cultural history and symbolically representing it to the most significant degree possible. This method adds importance to their cross-cultural search for a title and the acquisition of status.
We must also recognise that, in many cases, adopting a foreign language at the cost of the native tongue is a critical need for the post-colonialist writer. The primary issue is the birth nation’s lack of freedom of speech. How many Arab-Muslim authors have been forced into exile? How many authors have been targeted by Islamist terrorists regardless of the government’s position? How many Arab or Muslim governments protect the freedom of thought in their country? How many bloggers, writers, journalists, intellectuals and artists are still jailed due to an opinion, a blog post, or simply three words on Twitter? How many have been dragged through the dirt by fellow countrymen who sympathise with the Muslim Brotherhood or other extremists? Ask Human Rights Associations.
Post-colonialist literature is also making a resurgence by celebrating diversity. Post-colonial writers are creating works that celebrate and embrace difference. Through their stories, they are creating a space for different voices to be heard and for different perspectives to be expressed. Post-colonial literature creates a space for writers to express themselves without fear of judgement or persecution. Writers are not only celebrating their own cultures and identities but are also using their writing to raise awareness of issues in other cultures and communities.
Championing social justice
Post-colonialist literature is also making a comeback by championing social justice. Writers are creating literature that deals with pressing issues such as race, gender, sexuality, poverty, and class to bring about change. Through their writing, they raise awareness about various social issues and facilitate conversations about creating a more equitable and just society. Post-colonialist literature also plays a vital role in giving voice to marginalised communities and amplifying the voices of those who are not typically heard. Writers are creating works that challenge oppressive power structures and give voice to the voiceless.
Post-colonialist literature is making a comeback in a big way. From reclaiming personal narratives to championing social justice, post-colonialist literature is helping to create a new, more equitable and just society. Post-colonial writers are creating a space for themselves and others to express themselves without the oppressive forces of colonialism. Post-colonial literature is integral to the fight for social justice and needs to be supported and celebrated.