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» Mimicry, Ambivalence, And Hybridity Postcolonial Studies @ Emory

1/9/2014 » Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity Postcolonial Studies @ Emory Postcolonial Studies @ Emory Go About Introduction Authors & Artists Critics & Theorists Terms & Issues News & Events PCMS Program at Emory Posts Comments Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity Robinson Crusoe and Friday by Carl Offterdinge/public domain Daniel Dafoe’s 1719 novel, Robinson Crusoe, is a rich text for understanding the mechanisms of European colonialism and the relation between the colonizer and the colo




  1/9/2014» Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity Postcolonial Studies @ Emory Postcolonial Studies @ Emory   Go AboutIntroductionAuthors & ArtistsCritics & TheoristsTerms & Issues News & EventsPCMS Program at EmoryPosts Comments Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity Robinson Crusoe and Friday byCarl Offterdinge/public domainDaniel Dafoe’s 1719 novel,  Robinson Crusoe , is a rich text for understanding the mechanisms of Europeancolonialism and the relation between the colonizer and the colonized (represented by Crusoe and Friday). Dafoerepresents Crusoe as being the ultimate incarnation of an Englishman: industrious, self-determining and ready tocolonize natives. Crusoe encounters a native and he names him Friday, teaches him English, the words of God,and slowly “civilizes” the dark-skinned native. Although the novel forecloses any possibility of understandingFriday’s experience, a reader could start to wonder how Friday’s relation to Crusoe affects his own sense of identity. In the novel, we only see Friday as mimicking Crusoe and civilization–but what effects does this mimicryhave on a colonized subject and psyche? And how does mimicry and hybridity affect textual representation and  1/9/2014» Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity Postcolonial Studies @ Emory signification?The term hybridity  has become one of the most recurrent concepts in postcolonial cultural criticism. It is meantto foreclose the diverse forms of purity encompassed within essentialist theories. Homi Bhabha is the leadingcontemporary critic who has tried to disclose the contradictions inherent in colonial discourse in order to highlightthe colonizer’s ambivalence  in respect to his position toward the colonized Other. The simple presence of thecolonized Other within the textual structure is enough evidence of the ambivalence of the colonial text, anambivalence that destabilizes its claim for absolute authority or unquestionable authenticity.Along with Tom Nairn, Homi Bhabha considers the confusion and hollowness that resistance produces in theminds of such imperialist authors as Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, and E. M. Forster. But while Nairn seestheir colonialist grandiose rhetoric as disproportionate to the real decadent economic and political situation of lateVictorian England, Bhabha goes as far as to see this imperial delirium forming gaps within the English text, gapswhich are the signs of a discontinuous history, an estrangement of the English book. They mark the disturbanceof its authoritative representations by the uncanny forces of race, sexuality, violence, cultural and even climaticdifferences which emerge in the colonial discource as the mixed and split texts of hybridity. If the English book isread as a production of hybridity, then it no longer simply commands authority.His analysis, which is largely based on the Lacanian conceptualization of mimicry as camouflage focuses oncolonial ambivalence. On the one hand, he sees the colonizer as a snake in the grass who, speaks in “a tonguethat is  forked  ,” and produces a mimetic representation that “emerges as one of the most   elusive and effectivestrategies of colonial power and knowledge” (Bhabha 85). Bhabha recognizes then that colonial power carefullyestablishes highly-sophisticated strategies of control and dominance; that, while it is aware of its ephemerality, itis also anxious to create the means that guarantee its economic, political and cultural endurance, through theconception, in Macaulay’s words in his “Minute on Indian Education” (1835),”of a class of interpreters betweenus and the millions whom we govern – a class of persons Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, inopinions, in morals and in intellect” – that is through the reformation of that category of people referred to byFrantz Fanon in the phrase, “black skin/white masks,” or as “mimic men” by V.S.Naipaul. Friday could be one of these mimic men; but as we have already seen, the process of colonial mimicry is both a product of and produces ambivalence and hybridity.Bhabha explains that Macaulay’s Indian interpreters and Naipaul’s mimic men are authorized versions of otherness: “part-objects of a metonymy of colonial desire, end up emerging as inappropriate colonial subjects …[who], by now producing a partial vision of the colonizer’s presence” (88). What is left in the repeating action of mimicry, according to Bhabha, is the trace, the impure, the artificial, the second-hand. Bhabha analyses theslippages in colonial political discourse, and reveals that the janus-faced attitudes towards the colonized lead tothe production of a mimicry that presents itself more in the form of a menace and rupture rather than than aresemblance and consolidation.Hybridity, Bhabha argues, subverts the narratives of colonial power and dominant cultures. The series of inclusions and exclusions on which a dominant culture is premised are deconstructed by the very entry of theformerly-excluded subjects into the mainstream discourse. The dominant culture is contaminated by the linguisticand racial differences of the native self. Hybridity can thus be seen, in Bhabha’s interpretation, as a counter-narrative, a critique of the canon and its exclusion of other narratives. In other words, the hybridity-acclaimerswant to suggest first, that the colonialist discourse’s ambivalence is a conspicuous illustration of its uncertainty;and second, that the migration of yesterday’s “savages” from their peripheral spaces to the homes of their   1/9/2014» Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity Postcolonial Studies @ Emory “masters” underlies a blessing invasion that, by “Third-Worlding” the center, creates “fissures” within the verystructures that sustain it. Further reading Bakhtin, M.M.. The Dialogic Imagination . Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981.Belnap, Jeffrey Grant. The Post-colonial State and the “Hybrid” Intellectual  . California: U.M.I.,1993.Bhabha, Homi.  Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1995.Brathwaite, Edward Kamau. “Creolization in Africa.” Ashcroft, et al. The Postcolonial Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 1995. 202-205.Chambers, Iain & Lidia Curti, eds. The Post-Colonial Question. London: Routledge, 1996. 9-11; 49-50; 134-5; 250-51.Hobsbawm, Eric and Terence Ranger. The Invention of Tradition . Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 1983.Hogan, Patrick Colm. “The Gender of Tradition: Ideologies of Character in Post-ColonizationAnglophone Literature.” Order and Partialities: Theory, Pedagogy and the “Postcolonial  .” Ed.Kostas Myrsiades and Jerry McGuire. Albany: SUNY Press, 1995. 87-110.James, C. L. R.  Beyond a Boundary . London: Hutchinson, c1963.Mongia, Padmini, ed. Contemporary Postcolonial Theory. London: Arnold, 1996. 127-8; 284-91;329-31. Nandy, Ashis. The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism . Delhi: OxfordUniversity Press, 1983.Ranger, T. O.  Dance and Society in Eastern Africa, 1890-1970: the Beni ngoma . London:Heinemann, 1975.Taussig, Michael.  Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses . New York: Routledge,1993.Young, Robert J.C.. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race. London: Routledge,1995.Author: Abdennebi Ben Beya, c. 1998.Last edited: July 2012Tags: Hybridity, Identity, Race, Representation, United Kingdom, Violence Post a Comment Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Name * Email * Website  1/9/2014» Mimicry, Ambivalence, and Hybridity Postcolonial Studies @ Emory Comment  Post Comment Things To Know How To Cite Our PagesSubmit Announcements & CFPs© Copyright 2012 Postcolonial Studies @ Emory.Theme: Enterprise by StudioPress. Privacy & Terms   Type the text