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Postcolonialism

  • By: Victoria S. Downey
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Postcolonialism is a vast and diverse area of study that seeks to examine the experiences of peoples and places—colonized and colonizers alike—both during and following the period of formal colonialism. By using postcolonial theory, postcolonial studies attempt to lend voice to the colonized and offer alternative interpretations of the process of colonization and the experiences of colonialism and empire. They also seek to challenge the naturalized assumptions of Western power and knowledge while creating space for alternative (and equally valid) knowledges and power dynamics.

While postcolonial studies originated in the fields of literary and cultural studies, they have since become interdisciplinary engagements that bridge the humanities and social sciences, including human geography. This entry offers an overview of the various meanings of postcolonialism, postcolonial theory, postcolonial ...

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