Topic: Second Probe
Answer any two of the following questions in about 500 words (2 pages, double spaced) each.
1. “Hybridity” has been an important concept in postcolonial theory for a number of years and has been applied in multiple ways and in very different contexts. Discuss this concept and your understanding of its significance. Then, choosing three primary texts/films/videos from our course, analyze the appropriateness or usefulness of the notion of hybridity for understanding these texts. In what contexts do you find the concept helpful? In what contexts might we see the limitations of the notion?
2. One of the things that is disconcerting about the whole field of “postcolonial studies” is that it could be described in the words often used of the Victorian novel. “Postcolonial studies,” like the Victorian novel, could be called a loose, baggy monster. In other words, one might argue that postcolonial studies is a field with imperial ambitions—it threatens to swallow everything. Thinking back over your work for this course, make an argument that the term “postcolonial” has been so broadened as to become meaningless OR make an argument that there is a coherent, if disparate, body of theory that remains useful to the scholar of contemporary world literature.
3. In “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Spivak presents a nuanced analysis of the paradox at the heart of postcolonial representation. Briefly summarize her argument as well as her conclusions, and then answer the question Spivak poses in her title with respect to the performance artist Wilbur Sargunaraj. You may use the Love Marriage video, or any of his other videos on YouTube.
4. In “Woman-body-nation-space” Radhika Mohanram says, “[I] want to argue strongly, that the nation is always embodied, and the idealized body within any nationalistic discourse is always gendered,” (59) and that “the woman’s body, at some level, is like maps of/within the nation, in that it has triple functions: to encode boundaries, to reproduce sameness, and to reveal difference simultaneously” (61). Drawing from specific examples from The God of Small Things, illustrate how you might support Mohanram’s claims.
5. Pick a film or novel of your choosing and argue for why we should include it in the emerging canon of postcolonial literature/art/film. Referencing specific concepts and questions we have encountered in class, make a case for why we should consider your selection an artifact of the postcolonial world.