This is so depressing. Keep Natalie Portman away from Uganda, please!
Posts tagged neocolonialism.
The assumptions are evident: nature is unproductive; organic agriculture based on nature’s cycles of renewability spells poverty; women and tribal and peasant societies embedded in nature are similarly unproductive, not because it has been demonstrated that in cooperation they produce less goods and services for needs, but because it is assumed that “production” takes place only when mediated by technologies for commodity production, even when such technologies destroy life. A stable and clean river is not a productive resource in this view: it needs to be “developed” with dams in order to become so. Women, sharing the river as a commons to satisfy the water needs of their families and society, are not involved in productive labor: when replaced by the engineering man, water management and water use become productive activities. Natural forests remain unproductive till they are developed into monoculture plantations of commercial species.
Up next, Thomas Friedman, just back from the Mideast.
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This segment sponsored by Chevron.
Today I was teaching my students ‘A Passage To India’ — where teaching and seething become one intersecting activity — when one of my student’s cracked. He asked me if it was ever possible to have a cultural exchange, where a Bigger,…
I absolutely agree with you, many countries and spaces exist to be consumed by the Bigger Culture, and Eat. Pray. Love is the most recent example. Last year, I reviewed William Dalrymple’s ‘Nine Lives’ which is basically a huge corporation in itself of How Can We Make India More Exotic (TM) so the book follows this dude who’s trying to find the “most exotic, extreme tales or religion” in India where we have tantrics drinking chicken blood, naked nuns committing suicide as a way of self-immolation and while reading it, it hit me just how much the Western world needs this India. They can’t stand the India I see around: where beauty and pain co-exist, where we turn our heads away from beggars we see on streets, the place where your being Hindu can allow you to dictate over lives of other castes and religions, where we worship American Pop artists, where Nationalism is a constant rheumatic rhetoric, where the Nation is up for debate, where people die in Kashmir because of ill-defined lines, where poverty has never heard of being humane, this is the place which makes most for most of the West’s IT sector, this is a land where there are too many dialects but not enough languages and so many things I can’t type out because I’m gushing.
But no, they don’t want to see this India. For them, India is an infinitely open land, open to subjection and invasion, to possession and punishment. And it’s not their fault alone, we’ve encouraged Universalism as well. For us, being a part of the ‘First World’ is more important than say not carrying out organised genocide in Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. Somewhere, selling and packaging this India which caters to foreigners who want to “find something”, to “reconnect with the Spiritual”, we’ve sold this image to ourselves as well. Which is precisely why I think it’s really important we have this conversation right now. Books like A Passage To India shouldn’t be read without remembering the Colonial possession of minds and bodies, to understand there is no such thing as “post-colonial” just because somewhere in History it says we’re now a free country. All this being said, I firmly believe Cultural Appreciation Without Appropriation is possible, if we try a little harder to see the face behind the packaged bodies and voices.
I’ve always been kind of uneasy about the designation of “postcolonialism” to things, because it implies that colonialism is dead, we’ve hashed out all the mistakes made, and everyone is committed to not repeating it again. But, how can postcolonialism & neocolonialism exist at the same time? It seems like the same kind of hasty designation of the US as postracial as soon as there’s a black president. Am I the only one who thinks this seems uneasy?
I also HATED reading A Passage to India in high school. I remember pointing out that so much of the book was just two waifish white women being frustrated with Indian food because their stomachs were weak and with Indians in general because the two of them were too condescending to make friends. My teacher said, “But that’s the point of the story,” and I don’t think she got that my objection was that that’s the point of every story.