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Postcolonial Thought and Social Theory$
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Julian Go

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190625139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190625139.001.0001

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Waves of Postcolonial Thought

Waves of Postcolonial Thought

(p.18) Chapter 1 Waves of Postcolonial Thought
Postcolonial Thought and Social Theory

Julian Go

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the two major “waves” of postcolonial thought. The first wave emerged as anticolonialism in the early to mid-twentieth century and included thinkers such as Franz Fanon, W. E. B. Du Bois, Amilcar Cabral, and Aimé Césaire. The second wave emerged in the wake of Edward Said’s Orientalism and included Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Subaltern Studies and Dipesh Chakrabarty.In the late 1980s and through the early 1990s, this second wave of postcolonial theory hit North American campuses. Sometimes referred to as “postcolonial studies,” it became a noticeable trend in the humanities. Although it was part of a wider academic revolution, it also constituted an emerging body of writing and thought in its own right. Postcolonial theory is not just about what happened in the world of empires but also about how empires have shaped how we see and understand the world; or alternatively, what we do not see, what we do not understand. Finally, postcolonial thought is about critiquing those modalities and meanings while seeking for alternatives. It is about finding ways of knowing and thinking that escape the strictures of the imperial episteme.

Keywords:   Postcolonial theory, Franz Fanon, W. E. B. Du Bois, Amilcar Cabral, Aimé Césaire, Edward Said, Orientalism, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Subaltern Studies

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