ANTH 4730 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-2: Derek Gregory, September 11 Attacks, Postcolonialism

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13 Aug 2016
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Derek Gregory – Chapter 1 – The Colonial Present
In this chapter, Derek Gregory sets the outline for what is to be explored in the
later chapters. What Derek means here with the colonial present is to turn our focus
towards the ongoing conflicts around the world, and how they are linked with our
colonial pasts. In other words, the colonial history has shaped today’s present situation.
His argument lies on the basis of shaping of culture through colonialism. He believes that
colonialism, instead of being a political or economical process, was actually a cultural
process (p. 8). The reason for this is that “The West” saw the need for others cultures to
be represented by them, and in turns also shaped their own culture. Derek’s concept of
Postcolonialism is also different than what we have looked so far. He believes
Postcolonialism tries to revisit the colonial past and explain how is it effecting the
present. He further goes on to explain that Postcolonialism also acts as opposition, in
other words, it studies the colonial present and tries to fight the current colonial powers
(p. 9). His use of a two-sides of the same coin analogy was something particularly
interesting that I found (p. 3). Even though the coin is made from the same material, yet
one side sees it self as modern and while the other is perceived as primitive. This was his
way to explain that modernity has developed “the other” and the ever need to shape that
other to a modern state as well.
Derek Gregory – Chapter 2 - Architectures of Enmity
This chapter begins with talking about the concept of Imaginative Geographies,
which was introduced by Edward Said (p. 17). This concept highlights the fact that we
construct our identities around what is familiar but also the identity of “the other” which
is unfamiliar to us and is often perceived as negative. Derek emphasis that while the
concept might be seen as imaginative it does materialize eventually. Derek believes that
the Imaginative Geographies and Colonial Modernity were the two key factors that made
Americans retaliate after the September 9/11 attacks (p. 20). The understanding of self
and other is really important in this chapter, as Derek explains through the use of
American universal values and the rigid cultural of Islam. Derek states that after the 9/11
attacks, even though many Islamic countries condemned the attack, one group of radicals
who associated themselves with Islam defined the whole cultural for the rest of the
followers. For Americans, this was the opportunity to link “all the others” to this culture
and did not allow any modifications within it. But for the Americans themselves they still
could practice their individuality. As Derek states on (p. 23) the wrong was seen in Islam
rather than what past policies of Britain, France and the United States had brought this
consequence. Lastly, Derek touches upon the closeness of a tragedy. Even though 9/11
took place in America it touched on everyone in the world, yet tragedies that have taken
place else where, where casualties were much higher, did not have the same implications.
Schwarz & Ray – Chapter 11 - Creolization, orality and nation language in the Caribbean
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