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Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #98)

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  477 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Postcolonialism explores the political, social, and cultural effects of decolonization, continuing the anti-colonial challenge to western dominance. This lively and innovative account of both the history and key debates of postcolonialism discusses its importance as an historical condition, and as a means of changing the way we think about the world. Key concepts and issue ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published September 25th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2001)
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Aubrey
I cannot in good faith give this work a higher rating than I have. Interpretation of reading will always be a subjective beast, and so I subjectively imbue my reception with moral constraints and continue on as usual. It's impossible to present a credible method if the methodology is hopelessly corrupt; I do not know what the most holistic presentation of this subject matter would be, but it is not the standard sole white/white-passing boy picking and choosing his sources, shredding and simplify ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Postcolonialism : a very short introduction (Very Short Introductions #98), Robert J.C. Young
عنوان: درآمدی اجمالی بر پسااستعمارگری ؛ نویسنده: رابرت جی.سی. یانگ؛ مترجم ها: فاطمه مدرسی؛ فرح قادری؛ تهران، پژوهشگاه علوم انسانی و مطالعات فرهنگی؛ 1390، در 217 ص؛ مصور، رنگی؛ کتابنامه از ص 173 تا ص 197؛ شابک: 9789644265693؛ موضوع: تاریخ و نقد -- ادبیات قرن 21 م
Arianna
Jun 02, 2015 Arianna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone. literally everyone needs to read this
Shelves: favourites
I think the reading of this book should be mandatory in order to understand the world we live in.
Reading this book helped me reaffirm and understand ideas that were already present in my head, expanding them with new concepts and facts or defining them in better terms.
Adam
Jan 12, 2013 Adam rated it did not like it
Atrocious. Young is a terrible writer, absolutely uninterested in providing real arguments, instead using the rhetoric of an angry teenager in a Che t-shirt.

I don't think I have a problem with postcolonialism, broadly. Edward Said is one of my intellectual heroes. But I do have a problem with the sort of unconsidered, moronic, stupid, and, get this, fundamentally imperialistic and colonial PC white guilt 'you poor third world- sorry- tricontinental people' crap this book is full of. As just one
...more
Justin Evans
Not really well-named, but then, this isn't a short introduction to anything in particular. It's more like a selection of only the most outrageous stories from thirty years worth of the Guardian Weekly. So if you're young and want to get all hep up about bombing and racism, and are more or less unaware that, e.g., the 'problems' of Iraq are more or less the result of imperial/colonial/Western stupidity, this book will blow your mind. If you thought that 'postcolonial theory' was anything in part ...more
Aaron
Jan 12, 2011 Aaron added it
Not enough praise could be expressed for Oxford University Press’ ‘Very Short Introductions’. They provide excellent surveys of a field of study with just enough depth to sensitise the reader to the potential of a set of disciplinary tools. Unfortunately, praise for the series as a whole cannot be applied to every book. Robert J. C. Young’s addition to the series is one those texts that does what it promised but in a fashion which seems alien to its topic.

Young admits that Postcolonial theory ha
...more
Bertrand
You see those "very short introductions" pretty much everywhere, but I think that's the first one I actually read: in France, we have the older and parallel institutions of the "Que sais-je?" which endeavours, I think similarly, to publish short surveys of particular (or less particular) fields by leading academics.
I suppose Young's approach, even compared to the rest of the collection, is rather unorthodox:
He does not provide a survey of the issues engaged by postcolonialism, which would like
...more
missy jean
Sep 03, 2012 missy jean rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was sometimes confused by Young’s organization, but I appreciated his fundamental premise of emphasizing that postcolonialism can only be understood with a “bottom-up” perspective; as he writes in the introduction, "Postcolonialism is about turning the world upside down and looking at it from a different perspective, that is, from the perspective of the disenfranchised people, a majority of whom come from the developing world." To this end, I appreciated the fact that his narrative emphasized ...more
Jon
A solid intro to postcolonialism that approaches its subject from a less theoretical perspective and from a more activist, humanitarian viewpoint. Robert Young is insistent that the best approach to tackling postcolonial issues is not from the top down, but from the ground up. Using examples and ideas from Frantz Fanon, Che Guevara, Vandana Shiva, Ghandi, and others, Young rather nicely shows just how important and valid some of the actions and philosophies of these radical activists and revolut ...more
Pete
Jan 15, 2012 Pete rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
The books in Harvard's "A Very Short Introduction" series never feel as short as they look, and maybe that's partly why they're so effective. Postcolonialism has been a looming theme in my studies for the almost 8 years I've been studying in university (I want a refund). Young's "introduction" to the subject is easily the best summary for anyone that needs to have more than a passable awareness of the basic tenets of Postcolonialism but doesn't want to marry it.
laura
Jul 20, 2015 laura rated it really liked it
SHOUT OUT TO ARIANNA FOR RECOMMENDING THIS TO ME. really great. essential reading.
Lea Zekis
3.5
from what I actually read i enjoyed
Sara Khan
Jan 04, 2017 Sara Khan rated it really liked it
"a relatively minor move from direct to indirect rule, a shift from colonial domination to "a position not so much of Independence but of in-dependence."

"it means turning the world upside down . it means looking from the other side of the photograph, experiencing how differently things look when you live in Baghdad or Benin rather than Berlin or Boston."

"translation is also a kind of metaphorical displacement of a text from one language to another. if metaphor involves a version of translation
...more
Ike
Nov 25, 2016 Ike rated it liked it
3.5-3.75 stars (I clearly need a more specific grading system). Really, it's exactly what it claims to be, a very short introduction, but that did at times make me wish for more depth. Absolutely loved the last chapter on translation though, that's where it became difficult to choose between 3 or 4 stars.
Benedict Tan
Dec 13, 2016 Benedict Tan rated it really liked it
Shelves: july-dec-2016
His approach is pretty novel - telling stories to help readers grasp the complicated discipline of postcolonial theory..

Alyssa Long
Oct 09, 2016 Alyssa Long rated it it was ok
This book was disappointing after the globalization one from the same series. The organization was confusing and I was left with very little information about post colonial theory. Since that is the information I was after, I was definitely frustrated at the end. It was harder to read and I got less from it. Overall, a waste of time. I would not recommend it.
Aaron
May 14, 2009 Aaron rated it liked it
The postcolonialism entry into the Very Short Introduction series was a bit of a letdown after I enjoyed the literary theory one so much. Like that entry, Postcolonialism avoids looking at the specific academic theories; instead, Young mainly examines the historical moments that led to postcolonial theories. This maneuver is a good approach in so far as the field is too vast in both its academic positioning (philosophy, history, literature...) and its loci of interest (India, the Caribbean, Lati ...more
jzthompson
Post-Colonialism seems to be an important subject to get to grips with but I am afraid I would not start with this simplistic VSI for a introduction.

Rather than a broad introduction into what Postcolonialist theory involves the book reads as a long and disjointed list of stuff that happens in countries that used to be colonies. Things that the author approves of are "post-colonial" and things the author doesn't approve of are neo-colonial. So Algerian Rai music* is post-colonial, except when We
...more
Malin (JustMalin's)
Sep 19, 2016 Malin (JustMalin's) rated it really liked it
Does what it says on the tin. It's a very short introduction to postcolonialism, and if you go in to this expecting more you will be disappointed. For what it is, however, I think it's great.
Matthew Reed
Sep 10, 2007 Matthew Reed rated it it was ok
According to the author, "the strategy of this book has been to introduce postcolonialism without resorting to the abstractions of postcolonial theory." Which is all well and good for the author, but while there is a lot of interesting stuff in this book, when I was done I knew very little more about the subject than when I started it. At times the book sounded more like a religious tract or a political advertisement, as if he was trying to justify the subject to the reader. I couldn't help wond ...more
Sue Lyle
Nov 09, 2013 Sue Lyle rated it liked it
A very readable narrative approach to colonialism and its aftermath through the stories of some of the main protagonists in the struggle to fight against colonial domination. It attempts to include all the countries that have been colonised and provides an overview of the vast sweep of domination and control of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East by the powers of Europe and neo-colonial domination by multinational companies today. But in such a short and limited book it provides little ...more
Joseph Sverker
There are one or maybe two good sections in this book. One is about women in postcolonialism, in particular eco-feminism, but that, to my mind is the only redeeming feature of this book. It reads so much like a manifesto for postcolonialism that I think it is embarrassing that OUP ever could let something like this through their publication process. I think it is a good thing that the authors of these books writes from 'within' the field so to speak, but surely some level of critical distance sh ...more
Matthew
Oct 02, 2015 Matthew rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: those without access to google or any other books
A strange and unsatisfying attempt. There might be a coherent book in here somewhere, if there is, however, it shouldn't be marketed as: 'Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction'. It seems terrible to condemn someone for enthusiasm, but the reader should be warned that this book contains passages of cringingly saccharine enthusiasm and sincerity. The author appears to think readers will empathise and understand better if the the beauty of the scenery is emphasised … repeatedly.

It's hard to i
...more
Steven
Dec 05, 2007 Steven rated it really liked it
Holy crap, I'm so glad I read this. First off, if you've been put off by the highly abstracted language of intellectual poco literature, fear not. It shows up in this book in the examples (segregated as chapters), but only needs to be understood in it's own right in the final chapter (humorously titled "Translation"). I don't really want to ruin the book for you except to say that I finally have a good basic understanding of the foundation Frantz Fanon builds on.

Some bad points: in the section o
...more
Darius Daruvalla-riccio
The concept of Postcolonialism offers a lot to think about and this book gives you an idea of what it is all about. So the book essentially achieves its purpose.

That's a very vague purpose though. It draws on issues from all over the world that don't quite seem to follow each other in a unified flow of information. You essentially get a splattering of topics that leave you with the vague notion that Postcolonial people want to forge their own identity but that's hard to do because of the effects
...more
Genevieve
Apr 08, 2009 Genevieve rated it it was ok
At times illuminating, at times very frustrating. The author takes a very circuitous route to approaching postcolonialism, piecing together a collection of journalistic-style stories that are apparently supposed to add up to a sense of what postcolonialism is. One might get a sense of a general postcolonial worldview or perspective from the book, but it does not really discuss the theoretical underpinnings or historical development of postcolonialism.

This book is not the same as the author's Pos
...more
Jeremy
Aug 02, 2008 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Due to it's narrative style, it's certainly easier to read than many of the other offerings by OUP's Very Short Introductions series; but it's readability shouldn't be mistaken for a lack of substance. Aside from the weird and oblique suggestion that Americans are taller because of the human growth hormones that are injected into cattle, Young's writing is concise and pointed. The downside of this brevity is that many of the critical terms that Said, Bhabha, Spivak and others routinely use aren' ...more
Todd
Oct 27, 2015 Todd rated it it was amazing
Quite a surprise this book. I've read I think 5 of the Very Short Introduction books and enjoyed all of them, and this one I read right on the heels of the Empire, A Very Short Introduction book (which I thoroughly enjoyed). What was such a nice surprise is the perspective of this book. I had expected it would take a top down approach looking at post-colonialism from a systemic point of view, but I was very pleasantly surprised when the book looked at it from the bottom up, that is, from the peo ...more
Jeff
Oct 03, 2011 Jeff rated it did not like it
If you are looking for an introduction to Postcolonial thought, I'm not sure that this is your book. In spite of the author's attempt to bring the theory down to a manageable level, there are several instances where the jargon still slips through.

Additionally, there are several instances where the author contradicts himself. Unforunately, he seems to have no problem with this as he admits that he is simply trying to let the individuals he highlights speak for themselves, irregardless of whether
...more
Mohammed Asiri
Nov 19, 2015 Mohammed Asiri rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The first and the last part of this book are marvellous. Although, it doesn't talk much about post colonialism theoretically, it brings lots of examples from the world around.

Post colonialism is mainly cultural practice against colonialism. In other words, it is a movement when the sound of marginal people, like women, black people or the third world, has been heard. It tries to unmask the real image of imperialism which based on controlling others.

Some researches believe the colonialism is st
...more
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“Have you ever been the only person of your own colour or ethnicity in a large group or gathering? It has been said that there are two kinds of white people: those who have never found themselves in a situation where the majority of people around them are not white, and those who have been the only white person in the room. At that moment, for the first time perhaps, they discover what it is really like for the other people in their society, and, metaphorically, for the rest of the world outside the west: to be from a minority, to live as the person who is always in the margins, to be the person who never qualifies as the norm, the person who is not authorized to speak.” 3 likes
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