Punjab Research Group

Punjab: Colonial discourse and beyond by Amandeep Singh

Posted in Articles by Pippa on February 10, 2012

Punjab: Colonial discourse and beyond

Many times there has been an interesting question that is raised in academic circles, “How did the miniscule population from Europe, not only controlled, but also ruled, over the greater majority of their colonies?”

One reason that scholars have pointed out is that beyond the military and political control, the rule of the European imperialist countries extended and penetrated deep into the psyche of a common man in their colonies, making him accept the superiority of ‘value’ system of Europe over its native tradition. More than its legal authority, the control of Europe and so called ‘West’, extended to enslave the minds of their colonial population. Beyond providing a political and economic governance, European interaction with their colonies in east brought about a fresh wave of meanings to society and culture that influenced their native language, music, art, religion, education, law, justice, economic system, architecture, medicine, technology and traditional value system. For executing Divide and Rule, it is important to first divide the psyche of a common man. Division is nothing but a subjective phenomenon that creates smaller independent units from a larger group. In order to create independent smaller units, it is important to construct some kind of boundaries of each unit and identify a relationship within the unit and that can be used as a symbol of ‘identity’ of that unit. The persuasions used for creation of these boundaries included, race-caste, language, religious group, geographical location etc. Each smaller unit carries a psyche of common connection within a group and comparison with other different groups and that becomes central nervous system of ‘Division’.

Read full article: http://www.sikhnet.com/news/punjab-colonial-discourse-and-beyond


RGS/IBG Annual Conference – Call for Papers

Posted in Conferences, News/Information by Pippa on January 25, 2009

Uma Kothari (University of Manchester) and Richard Phillips (University of Liverpool) invite abstracts for a session at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference, which will be held at the University of Manchester, 26th-28th August 2009:


Colonial Imaginaries and Postcolonial Transformations

The aims of this session are to demonstrate contemporary forms of agency by subaltern groups that attempt to transform, subvert, challenge and rework colonial representations albeit in the context of ongoing articulations of a colonial imagination.

Colonial discourse has been central to the construction of non-western people as legitimate subjects of colonial rule, passive counterparts to the active, civilised westerners who are conversely represented as natural imperial overlords.

Geographical imagination is central to this discursive logic, with geographical media such as exploration, adventure and travel being routinely deployed in the construction of western superiority, through representations of civilised, self-possessed, humanised and active subjects.

However, despite a proliferation of research on the power of colonial and specifically geographical imagination, much less attention has been paid to the contestation of this discourse, particularly by the colonial and would-be colonial subjects who are rendered passive and anonymous through this discourse.

This agency is rarely acknowledged with the West, which is portrayed from within as the originating site of the production of knowledge, ideas and history while those in and of the ‘Third World’, with limited self-determination, are perceived primarily as the receiver of these influences.

Building on Said’s notion of `imaginary geographies’, concerned with how spaces are perceived, represented and interpreted through a colonial discourse, and how these problematically construct ideas and images of other people, we invite contributions that examine the various ways in which colonial imaginations of the past and their current manifestations are being contested and reconfigured, particularly through geographical media and imaginative forms.


Please send abstracts (200 words) to Uma Kothari (uma.kothari@manchester.ac.uk) or Richard Phillips (richard.phillips@liverpool.ac.uk) by 18 February 2009.

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