Introducing postcolonialism and religion. In this episode, I explore the approach of postcolonialism in the study of religion.
That is, in what ways is history and the contemporary world relevant not only to the topic of religion, but also to how we analyse and understand religions and cultures?
For some postcolonialism is merely a buzz word — perhaps like intersectionality — that is heard frequently but little understood.
For others it is quite simply a methodology, a way of looking to approach a series of questions about a topic. Or as a description of the composition and power relations of the contemporary world.
In historical terms, perhaps, postcolonialism is the world that has superseded the colonial era (whenever that may have been).
For those who identify most strongly with the term postcolonialism, however, it is much more than this — it is a framework that helps to generate the key questions of our studies, and to contextualise not only what we observe and think about, but also what we are doing as scholars looking at the topic of religion
Postcolonialism is certainly a historical tool for analysis and it relies on asking questions (and trying to analyse) a series of unequal power relations.
Edward Said’s Orientalism
Gayatri Spivak, ‘Can the subaltern speak?‘(this is a complex and difficult paper to read, and you might wish to watch a YouTube video by Jason Campbell, where he goes into a lot of details trying to unpack the themes of Spivak’s paper)
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