Centre for Postcolonial Studies |

Archive: Jul 2016



By Coro J-A Juanena

The Centre for Postcolonial Studies was delighted to welcome Dr Coro J-A Juanena to the inaugural workshop on 18 January 2016, where she presented the recently-launched online platform of the Kolonialismo Osteko ikasketa Zentroa (KOIZ), located in Bilbao, Spain. Here, she shares her thoughts on the development of the initiative.

Coro Juanena - blogpost image

KOIZ is a young association formed at the end of 2015 with the objective of becoming a forum for the production, exchange and dissemination of knowledge of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies, through collaborative work and its articulation with other academic and professional institutions, both Basque and international. Despite coming out of different academic traditions, we consider that post- and de- colonial perspectives share the same critical view on the postcolonial condition. From both theoretical positions, it is possible to collaborate in decolonisation projects and the creation of alternatives to the different contemporary transnational realities.

Today, more pressing than ever, an epistemic and intellectual reordering is necessary; one capable of creating new theoretical and research productions about the culturally different Other. The artistic expression and creation of knowledge about the post- and de- colonial condition is a social fact in and of itself that has created and creates post- and de- colonial realities with significant social and political consequences. Sites of interpretation, exchange, self-representation and debate are necessary at a time when modernity illnesses have tended to become chronic. The history of colonialism continues to be entangled in the weave and plot of the present, therefore, decolonisation projects are urgent for building dialogic bridges between culturally different Others that work towards transnational justice. This is one of the reasons why we have created a collaborative network among social movements, researchers, professionals, students and critical institutions that are working in this theoretical field and/or seeking to develop alternative politics to the coloniality of power.

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A few thoughts on animals, allegories and postcolonial literature


By Lucile Desblache

The Hunted Slaves

Image: Richard Ansdell, The Hunted Slaves (1861).

The Centre for Postcolonial Studies was delighted to welcome Professor Lucile Desblache (University of Roehampton) to the inaugural workshop on 18 January 2016, where she presented the activities of the Centre for Research in Translation and Transcultural Studies. Here, she shares her current research interest in animal representations in postcolonial literature.

Fictional beasts, figures of the Other par excellence, are generally presented as tropes of others, mirrors of human perception of alterity, rather than beings with non-human specificities.

In the postcolonial literary context, where allegory has been identified as a recurrent strategy for interrupting and transforming dominant discourses (Spivak 1999), animal representations in literature seem particularly reductive. They can be used to reinterpret tales and fables, such as creole’s rewritings of La Fontaine, and given new meanings in a postcolonial context. They can evoke a dominant subject, the ‘Same’, in opposition to the Other: dogs and horses are thus frequently represented as accessories and tools of White domination in narratives of slavery. They can appear as figures of resistance to colonialism, such as insects in some of J. M. Coetzee’s novels (In the Heart of a Country for instance). They can also appear as abused victims, often in a parallel to human pariahs (in Indra Sinha’s fable on the Bhopal disaster, Animal’s People, to take one example).

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