Geographies of Postcolonialism: Spaces of Power and Representation


Joanne P. Sharp

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    View Copyright Page


    For Margaret Johnstone

    List of Figures and Tables

    • 1.1 Medieval map depicting ‘monstrous races’ 13
    • 1.2 Aristotle's cosmology 15
    • 1.3 Orientalism as discourse 20
    • 1.4 Delacroix, Fanatics of Tangier23
    • 1.5 Gerome, Dance of the Almeh23
    • 1.6 Roberts, Gateway to the Great Temple at Balbec24
    • 2.1 Ender, Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland im Urwald33
    • 2.2 Jan van der Straet's America43
    • 2.3 Advertising images 48
    • 2.4 Cairo street scene at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1889 49
    • 2.5 Stills from Carry on up the Khyber53
    • 3.1 Bentham's panopticon 58
    • 3.2 Schematic diagram of a coffee plantation, mid-nineteenth century 59
    • 3.3 Contrasting Delhi streetscrapes 61
    • 3.4 French style architecture in Hanoi, Vietnam 67
    • 4.1 Pletsch's Three Worlds concept 79
    • 5.1 Mecca-Cola 82
    • 5.2 Indiana Jones as saviour 87
    • 5.3 Advert for Condé Nast Traveler 89
    • 5.4 Benetton advert 90
    • 5.5 Drop the Debt advert 91
    • 5.6 Anti-Coke graffiti 98
    • 5.7 Uneven geography of Internet access rates, 2000 101
    • 6.1 Mehdy Kavousi 109
    • 6.2 ‘The law vs. Ayook’ 113
    • 6.3Indigène Du Caire118
    • 6.4 Veils as fashion 120
    • 6.5 Covers of Fanon's Black Skins, White Masks124
    • 6.6 Images of women from The Battle of Algiers128
    • 7.1 Cover of Xala137
    • 8.1 Bedouin women shaking the branches of a tree to dislodge leaves for their goats 149
    • 2.1 Founding membership of RGS by profession 34
    • 2.2 Binaries at the heart of western reasoning 37


    This book is based around an Honours course that I have taught at the University of Glasgow over the last ten years. When I was first putting the course together, Jim Duncan had just arrived at Cambridge and was also writing a new course for his students. In those days of frantically pulling notes and reading lists together, various bits and pieces of lectures were emailed back and forth, and so parts of this book bear the imprint of Jim's scholarship, for which it has benefited greatly. Going back further, it was Linda Alcoff's exceptional graduate course on Postcolonialism that inspired me to pursue this topic further, and to Beverley Allen I have a debt of gratitude for introducing me to The Satanic Verses and Xala. More recently, John Briggs has encouraged me to confront my postcolonial assumptions in places outside of Western academy, for which I am eternally grateful.

    Over the years teaching the course I have been lucky enough to have taught a number of excellent students who have engaged with, and challenged, this material (and interrupted the flow of my lectures) with enthusiasm and humour. I would like to thank them all, but especially Andy McMillan, Allan Lafferty, Martin Muir and Olly Zanetti. Thanks also go to Geraldine Perriam who generously read through an earlier draft of the book, and who has inspired me with her discussions of writing; and to John Moore of Glasgow University Library who helped me to source some of the images. Finally, thanks to Robert Rojek and Sarah-Jayne Boyd at Sage for their encouragement, support and patience during the production of this book.

    This book is dedicated to my grandmother, Margaret Johnstone, who died in February 2007 when I was completing the manuscript. While there is a lot here she would probably disagree with, I miss the opportunity to hear her say so.

    Publisher's Acknowledgements

    The author and publishers wish to thank the following for the permission to use copyright material:

    • Medieval map depicting ‘monstrous races’ around the margins of known geographical space. Source: Mappae Mundi: die ältesten Weltkarten, (Jos Roth'Sche Verlagshandlung: Stuttgart) 1895
    • Eugène Delacroix, Fanatics of Tangier (Les convulsionnaires de Tanger). Oil on Canvas 1837–1838. Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Bequest of J. Jerome Hill
    • Dance of the Almeh, Gerome, 1863. Oil on wood panel, 19 3/4 × 32 inches (50.2 × 8.3cm). Courtesy of the Dayton Art Institute. Gift of Mr. Robert Badenhop, 1951.15
    • Gateway to the Great Temple at Balbec, Roberts, 1841. Courtesy of The Royal Academy of Arts, London
    • Education Euder, (1856), Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland in Urwald. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
    • Jan van der Straet's America. Courtesy of The National Gallery of Art, Washington
    • Cairo street scene at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1889. Source: Glasgow University Library
    • Carry on up the Khyber montage. Source: Peter Rogers Production
    • Bentham's panopticon. Source: Foucault, Michael, Discipline and Punishment, 1975
    • Schematic diagram of a coffee plantation, mid-nineteenth century, from Duncan, J.S. (2002) ‘Embodying Colonialism?: Domination and Resistance in nineteenth century Ceylonese Coffee Plantations.’ This article was published in the Journal of Historical Geography, 28 (3): 317–38. © Elsevier
    • Contrasting Delhi streetscapes. Photo credits: John Briggs
    • Mecca-Cola. Source:
    • Indiana Jones as saviour © Lucasfilm Ltd
    • Benetton advert © Copyright 1990 Benetton Group S.p.A. – Photo: Oliviero Toscani
    • Drop the Debt advert. Courtesy of the Jubilee Debt Campaign
    • Anti-Coke graffiti. Source: Andrew McMillan
    • Internet access rates, 2000. Courtesy of Jeremy Crampton. Source: The Political Mapping of Cyberspace (Edinburgh University Press, 2003).
    • Mehdy Kavousi © Vincent Jannink/epa/Corbis
    • ‘The law vs. Ayook’ from ‘Colonialism On Trial’ by D.H. Monet and Skanu'u (1992). Courtesy of D. H. Monet, Canada |
    • Orientalist image of the veil. Indigène Du Caire, G. Lekegian and Cie. Source: Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, The New York Public Library Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
    • Veils as fashion. Courtesy of ©
    • Covers of Fanon's Black Skins, White Masks. Courtesy of Pluto Books,
    • Images of women from The Battle of Algiers. Source: Criterion Studio
    • Bedouin women shaking the branches of a tree to dislodge leaves for their goats. Courtesy of Irina Springuel

    While every effort has been made to trace the owners of copyright material, in a few cases this has proved impossible and we take this opportunity to offer our apologies to any copyright holder whose rights we have unwittingly infinged.

  • Bibliography

    Abu-Lughod, L. (1995) ‘The objects of soap opera: Egyptian television and the cultural politics of modernity’, in D.Miller (ed.), Worlds Apart: Modernity Through the Prism of the Local. London: Routledge. pp. 190–210.
    Adas, M. (1989) Machines as the Measures of Man. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    Ahmad, A. (1987) ‘Jameson's rhetoric of Otherness and the “national allegory”’, Social Text, 17: 3–25.
    Ahmad, A. (1992) ‘Orientalism and after’, in A.Ahmad, In Theory. London: Verso. (Reprinted in P.Williams and L.Chrisman (eds) (1994), Colonial Discourse and Post-colonial Theory. New York: Columbia, pp. 162–71.)
    Ali, M. (2003) Brick Lane. London: Doubleday.
    Allen, R.C. (1995) To Be Continued: Soap Operas Around the World. London: Routledge.
    Anzaldúa, G. (1987) Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute.
    Appadurai, A. (1994) ‘Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy’, in P.Williams, and L.Chrisman (eds), Colonial Discourse and Post-colonial Theory. New York: Columbia, pp. 324–39.
    Arnold, D. (1993) Colonizing the Body. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
    Aziz (2004) Viewpoint: why I decided to wear the veil. BBCi news. http://www/ viewed 3/2/04.
    Barber, B. (1992) ‘Jihad vs McWorld’, The Atlantic Magazine, March.
    Barthes, R. (1956) Mythologies. London: Grant and Culter.
    Baudet, H. (1988) Paradise on Earth: Some Thoughts on European Images of Non-European Man (trans. E.Wentholt). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Press.
    Bhabha, H. (1990) ‘Novel metropolis’, New Statesman and Society, 16 Feb: 16–18.
    Bhabha, H. (1994) The Location of Culture. London: Routledge.
    Blunt, A. (1994) Travel, Gender and Imperialism: Mary Kingsley and West Africa. New York: Guilford Press.
    Blunt, A. (2005) Domicile and Diaspora: Anglo-Indian Women and the Spatial Politics of Home. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Blunt, A. and McEwan, C. (2002) Postcolonial Geographies. London: Continuum.
    Briggs, J. and Sharp, J. (2004) ‘Indigenous knowledges and development: a postcolonial caution’, Third World Quarterly, 25 (4): 661–76.
    Bruner, E. (1991) ‘Transformation of self in tourism’, Annals of Tourism Research, 18: 238–50.
    Carter, P. (1987) The Road to Botany Bay: An Exploration of Landscape and History. New York: Knopf.
    Chatterjee, P. (1986) Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
    Chatterjee, P. (1993) The Nation and Its Fragments. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (See especially the chapter ‘Whose imagined community?’.)
    Childs, P. and Williams, P. (1997) An Introduction to Post-colonial Theory. London: Prentice Hall.
    Conrad, J. (1988 [1926]) Heart of Darkness (ed. R.Kimbrough)
    3rd edn
    . London and New York. W.W. Norton and Co.
    Coombes, A. (1994) Reinventing Africa: Museums, Material Culture and Popular Imagination. New Haven: Yale University Press.
    Currier, G. (1832) The Animal Kingdom: Arranged in Conformity With its Organization. Abridged version. New York: G. & C. & H. Carrill.
    Darwin, C. (1859) On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for life. London: Murray.
    Desai, K. (2006) The Inheritance of Loss. London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd.
    Domosh, M. (1991) ‘Towards a feminist historiography of geography’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 16: 95–104.
    Downing, J. (ed.) (1987) Film and Politics in the Third World. New York: Autonmedia.
    Driver, F. (1991) ‘Henry Morton Stanley and his critics: geography, exploration and empire’, Past and Present, 133: 134–66.
    Driver, F. (2001) Geography Militant: Cultures of Exploration and Empire. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Duncan, J. (1990) The City as Text. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Duncan, J. (1992) ‘Re-presenting the landscape: problems of reading the intertextual,’ in L.Mondada, F.Panese, and O.Söderström, (eds), Paysage e crise de la lisibilité. Lausanne: Université de Lausanne, Institut de Géographie, pp. 81–93.
    Duncan, J. (2002) ‘Embodying colonialism?: Domination and resistance in 19th century Ceylonese coffee plantations’, Journal of Historical Geography, 28, (3): 317–38.
    Duncan, J. (2007) In the Shadows of the Tropics: Climate, Race and Biopower in Ninteenth Century Ceylon. Aldershot: Ashgate.
    Fanon, F. (1963) ‘National Culture’, in The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, pp. 206–48.
    Fanon, F. (1963) The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. Especially ‘Concerning violence’
    Fanon, F. (1967) Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press.
    Foucault, M. (1970) The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. London: Tavistock.
    Frankenberg, R. (1993) White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    Friedman, J. (1981) The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
    Godlewska, A. (1994) ‘Napoleon's geographers (1797–1815): imperialists and soldiers of modernity’, in A.Godlewska and N.Smith (eds), Geography and Empire. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Greenhalgh, P. (1988) Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions and World's Fairs, 1851–1939. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    Gregory, D. (2004) The Colonial Present. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Gross, J. (1996) ‘Postcolonialism: subverting whose empire?’, Third World Quarterly, 17 (2): 239–50.
    hooks, b. (1990) ‘Marginality as a site of resistence’, in R.Ferguson et al. (eds), Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures. Cambridge, MA: MIT. pp. 341–43.
    Huggins, J., Huggins, R. and Jacobs, J. (1995) ‘Kooramindanjie: place and the postcolonial’, History Workshop Journal, 39: 165–81.
    Huntington, E. (1907) The Pulse of Asia: A Journey in Central Asia Illustrating the Geographic Basics of History. London: Constable.
    Huntington, E. (1915) Civilization and Climate. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
    Huntington, S. (1993) ‘The clash of civilizations’Foreign Affairs, 72 (3): 22–49.
    Irvine, R. (1981) Indian Summer: lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi. London: Yale University Press.
    Iyer, P. (1988) Video Night in Katmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East. New York: Vintage.
    Jacobs, J. (1996) Edge of Empire. London: Routledge.
    Jameson, F. (1986) ‘Third World literature in an age of multinational capitalism’, Social Text, 15: 65–88.
    Keith, W. and Pile, S. (1993) ‘Introduction part 2: The place of politics’, in W.Keith and S.Pile (eds), Place and the Politics of Identity. New York: Routledge, 22–40.
    Kenny, J. (1995) ‘Climate, race, and imperial authority: the symbolic landscape of the British hill station in India’, Annals, Association of American Geographers, 85: 694–714.
    King, A.D. (1976) Colonial Urban Development. London: Routledge.
    Kingsley, M. (1897) Travels in West Africa. London: MacMillan.
    Klein, N. (2007) ‘Using Crisis to Take on the Fakes’, The Herald, Oct 4, p. 7.
    Kumar, S. (2002) ‘The evolution of spatial ordering in colonial Madras’, in A.Blunt and C.McEwan (eds), Postcolonial Geographies. London: Continuum.
    Kureshi, H.The Buddha of Surburbia. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
    Lefebvre, H. (1991) The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Lévy, B-H. (2004), ‘Off with their headscarves’, The Sunday Times, 1/2/04, p. 5.2.
    Loomba, A. (1998) Colonialism/Postcolonialism. London: Routledge.
    Lutz, C. and Collins, J. (1993) Reading National Geographic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Massey, D. (1993) ‘Power-geometry and a progressive sense of place’, in J.Bird, B.Curtis, T.Putnam and G.Robertson (eds), Mapping the Futures. London: Routledge.
    MacCannell, D. (1976) The Tourist: A New Theory of the leisure Class. New York: Schocken.
    MacCannell, D. (1992) Empty Meeting Grounds. London: Routledge.
    McClintock, A. (1995) Imperial leather. London: Routledge.
    MacKenzie, J. (ed.) (1986) Imperialism and Popular Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    Mitchell, K. (1997) ‘Different diasporas and the hype of hybridity’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 15: 533–53.
    Mitchell, T. (1988) Colonising Egypt. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
    Moaveni, A. (2005) lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books Group.
    Mohanty, C., Russo, A. and TorresL. (eds) (1991) Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press.
    Myers, G. (2003) Verandas of Power: Colonialism and Space in Urban Africa. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
    Nakashima, D. and de GuchteneireP. (1999) ‘A new impetus for indigenous knowledge from the World Conference on Science’, Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor, 7 (3): 40.
    New Internationalist (2005) ‘The unreported year 2004’, New Internationalist, p. 8–9.
    Nwachukwu, F. (1994) Black African Cinema. London: University of California Press.
    Ouseman, S. (1974) XalaeChicago: Chicago Review Press.
    Peet, R. (1985) ‘The social origins of environmental determinism’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 75: 309–33.
    Philips, R. (1997) Mapping Men and Empire. London: Routledge.
    Pletsch, C. (1981) ‘The three worlds, or the division of social scientific labor, circa 1950–1975’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 565–590.
    Porter, D. (1994) ‘Orientalism and its problems’, in P.Williams and L.Chrisman (eds), Colonial Discourse and Post-colonial Theory. New York: Columbia, pp. 150–61.
    Prasad, M. (1992) ‘On the question of a theory of (third world) literature’, Social Text, 31/32: 57–83.
    Pratt, M.L. (1992) Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transmigration. London: Routledge.
    Radcliffe, S. (1994) ‘(Representing) post-colonial women: authority, difference and feminisms’, Area, 26: 25–32.
    Riffenburgh, B. (1993) The Myth of the Explorer. London: Wiley.
    Rostow, W. (1960) Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-communist Manifesto. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Rothenberg, T. (1994) ‘Voyeurs of imperialism: the National Geographic Magazine before World War II’, in A.Godlewska and N.Smith (eds), Geography and Empire. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Roy, A. (2002) ‘Come September’, Zmag. (accessed 1st March 2004).
    Rushdie, S. (1981) Midnight's Children. London: Picador.
    Rushdie, S. (1982) ‘The empire writes back with a vengeance’, The Times, July 3, p. 10.
    Rushdie, S. (1988) The Satanic Verses. New York: Viking.
    Rushdie, S. (1991) Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981–1991. New York: Granta.
    Ryan, S. (1996) The Cartographic Eye: How Explorers Saw Australia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Said, E. (1978) Orientalism. New York: Vintage.
    Said, E. (1985) ‘Orientalism reconsidered’, Cultural Critique, 1: 89–107.
    Said, E. (1993) Culture and Imperialism. New York: Knopf.
    Said, E. (1999) Out of place: a memoir. New York: Vintage.
    Sartre, J-P. (1963) ‘Preface’, in F.Fanon (ed.), The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Weidenfeld.
    Shohat, E. (1997) ‘Post-Third-Worldist culture: gender, nation and the cinema’, in Alexander et al. (eds), Feminist Genealogies, Colonial legacies, Democratic Futures. London: Routledge.
    Shohat, E. and Stam, R. (1994) Unthinking Eurocentrism. London: Routledge.
    Sidaway, J. (2000) ‘Postcolonial geographies: an exploratory essay’, Progress in Human Geography, 24 (4): 591–612.
    Silvern, S. (1995) ‘Nature, territory and identity in the Wisconsin treaty rights controversy’, Ecumene, 2 (3): 267–92.
    Smith, P. (1988) ‘Visiting the Banana Republic’, in A.Ross (ed.), Universal Abandon?Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
    Sparke, M. (1994) ‘White mythologies and anemic geographies: a review’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 12: 105–23.
    Sparke, M. (2005) In the Space of Theory: Postfoundational Geographies of the Nation-State. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    Spivak, G. (1990) ReadingThe Santanic Verses. Third Text, 11: 41–60.
    Spivak, G.C. (1994) ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, in P.Williams and L.Chrisman (eds), Colonial Discourse and Post-colonial Theory. New York: Columbia, pp. 66–111.
    Stanley, H.M. (1878) Through the dark continent: or, the sources of the Nile around the great lakes of equatoral Africa and down the Livingstone River to the Atlantic Ocean. London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington.
    Stoddart, D. (1986) On Geography. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Stoddart, D. (1991) ‘Do we need a feminist historiography of geography – and if we do, what should it be like?’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 16: 484–87.
    Sylvester, C. (1999) 'Development studies and postcolonial studies: disparate tales of the “Third World”, Third World Quarterly, 29 (4): 703–21.
    Wright, J. (1947) ‘Presidential address: terrae incognitae: the place of the imagination in geography’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 37: 1–15.
    Yeoh, B. (1996) Contesting Space: Power Relations and the Urban Built Environment in Colonial Singapore. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Young, I.M. (2003) ‘The logic of masculinist protection: reflections on the current security state’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 29 (1): 1–25.
    Young, R. (1990) White Mythologies: Writing, History and the West. London: Routledge.
    Zuhur, S. (1992) Revealing Revelling: Islamist Gender Ideology in Contemporary Egypt. State University of New York Press.

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website