Identify the main idea in "Networks of Resistance" by Elleke Boehmer.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of Boehmer's primary points is that the exchange of ideas that is intrinsic to Colonialism helped to develop the vocabulary and consciousness that led to its dismantling and the rise of Postmodernism.  In the cross- cultural exchange that was Colonialism, ideas emerged that would eventually lead to its subversion.  For example, Boehmer points to the example of Gandhi, who used appeals to British notions of law and justice evident in the Magna Carta and other "Western" appeals to individual rights and entitlements.  Boehmer suggests that "cross- imperial ideas were made available for annexation by non- white political elites in quest of solidarity and through a common vocabulary of rights."  In this idea, the ability to develop a vocabulary rooted in Colonial assertions of the political good became a part of the indigenous frame of reference.  

Such an ability to understand the "language of the oppressors" in terms of understanding their own political history and background enabled the various networks of resistance to emerge.  This "shifting of their dilemmas" enabled resistance movements to take form that appropriated the language and understanding of the oppressors, helping to eventually dislodge them from the position of power.  Boehmer's main idea ends up suggesting that Postcolonialism's struggle to find "the other" is an ongoing one, for its birth comes from the force that seeks to silence it.

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