By Andres Amundson, Eithan Martinez, and Thomas Lusk
Follow this link to listen to Two Unknowns.
European colonization had a profound impact on the world, and throughout the colonization process, colonizers and colonized subjects held a wide mixture of attitudes toward each other. This podcast explores several colonial and postcolonial works to question what these differing opinions were and what they mean today. Additionally, this podcast discusses the intricate relationship between the colonizer and the colonized through what Homi Bhabha calls “ambivalence.” This podcast also addresses the strange colonial phenomena of “mimicry,” the common desire of colonized to imitate the colonizer, and yet the colonizer’s desire to see these subjects fail in their imitations. Through the careful culmination of a variety of sources, these ambivalence and mimicry ideas are explored in a way to allow listeners to derive their own opinions on the matter.
This podcast draws from Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, Brian Friel’s play Translations, and Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place. It also references published academic research, such as Diana Rhoads’ “Culture in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart,” Paul Landau and Deborah Kaspin’s Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa, and Olúfémi Táíwò’s “How Colonialism Preempted Modernity in Africa.” Finally, this podcast incorporates ideas from postcolonial theory, including Homi Bhaba’s The Location of Culture, Gayatri Spivak’s Can the Subaltern Speak?, and Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth.
This podcast’s featured image depicts two children in colonial Africa and can be found here. This image shows the sharp contrast between European and African culture.
Landau, Paul Stuart., and Deborah Kaspin. “Empires of the Visual: Photography and Colonial Administration in Africa.” Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa, University of California Press, 2002.