f_0016598_14350 - Postcolonialism and Postcoloniality: A...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, No. 4, Winter 2008 20 Postcolonialism and Postcoloniality: A Premortem Prognosis Narasingha P. Sil * Postcolonialism as theory, contrasted with postcoloniality as reality, was born sometime during the earlier period of the Cold War that had developed Sphinx-like following the World War II announcing the death of Europe and the rise of two extra-European superpowers. Naturally, the end of the War also began a decade-long process of decolonization, marking the end of European political domination over most of Asia and Africa. The collapse of the continent that owned almost one half of the globe generated a profoundly unsettling soul- searching and re-examination of the values and norms of metropolitan civilization informed by the Enlightenment masculist and quasi-racist rationality, although a critique of Western bourgeois views and values dates back to the works of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and later Rudolf Pannwitz (1881-1969), author of The Crisis of European Culture (1917), and Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), author of The Decline of the West (1918). The arch-annihilator of Enlightenment rationality, a French phenomenon par excellence , is ironically a French intellectual, the Poitiers born Michel Foucault (1926-84), whose famous question “ What is this Reason that we use?” in his essay titled deliberately “What is Enlightenment?” debunked the definition of the Enlightenment in the German philosophe Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) Was ist Aufklärung ? (1784). The Enlightenment notion of the inevitability of civilizational progress predicated upon human rationality had dethroned Christian metaphysics, the very fulcrum of medieval European intellectual life, and propounded a new metaphysics—regime of reason. But the Cold War anti-rational postmodernism unhinged the hold of the metaphysics of reason and like Nietzsche’s God killed the sovereign autonomous individual. It also announced the death of centers, that is, all the organizing frameworks privileging various centers such as “anglocentrism,”
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, No. 4, Winter 2008 21 “Eurocentrism,” “ethnocentrism,” “androcentrism,” and “logocentrism.” These Enlightenment-based “isms” had formed as well as in-formed the metanarratives of Western civilization, the idea of progress, humanism, Liberalism, or Marxism. However, the modern age, even the very concept of modernity, has been decried by the postmodernists, whom some scholars label occidentalists or West-bashers (Buruma and Margalit 2004: 1-12). These critics of Western civilization rightly maintain that modernity, which had once been a progressive force, has degenerated into a source of repression through its own creation: technology, consumerism, materialism, ideology, bureaucracy, the nation state, and other institutions and norms (See Washbrook 1997: 410-43). Postmodernists’
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course PHIL 101 taught by Professor Anchustegui during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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f_0016598_14350 - Postcolonialism and Postcoloniality: A...

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