ASIAN 381: Postcolonial Theory

Course Level: Undergraduate 

Course Description: European imperialism in Asia developed in a complex manner through conscious planning and contingent occurrences. As a result of this complex development something happened to imperial culture for which it had not bargained: imperial culture found itself appropriated in projects of counter-colonial resistance which drew upon the many different indigenous local and hybrid processes of self-determination to resist and sometimes replace the power of imperial cultural knowledge. Post-coloniality is the result of this interaction between imperial culture and complex indigenous cultural practices. The aim of this course is to theorize this interaction between European metropole and its colonies in various parts of Asia. Our theorization may involve discussion about various kinds of experiences of race, migration, translation, suppression, resistance , representation, gender as well as responses to the master discourses of imperial Europe such as religion, history, linguistics and philosophy. In this year’s course we shall look closely at two things: (i) problems in the conceptualization of  postcolonial agency, i.e. how understandings of the nature of self and worldly reality inflect theories of action and capacity; (ii) the relationship between colonialism and religion as well as the relationship between religion and postcoloniality with special emphasis on the case of India.


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Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures 

Tara Singh & Balwant Kaur Chattha, Gurbax Singh & Kirpal Kaur Brar Professor of Sikh Studies

Philosophy/Religion/Postcolonial Theory/Sikh Studies/South Asian Studies

Office: 202 South Thayer Street
Office 6016
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608

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