What are some issues that Postcolonialism addresses?

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

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One of the primary issues that Postcolonialism addresses is how individuals go about constructing identity in the face of massive change. For Postcolonial literature, identity was an external construct.  "Western" nations had colonized indigenous people for so long that identity was seen through the lens of this external group.  With the removal of colonial powers, Postcolonialism strives to examine how identity changed as a result of this removal and how individual voice can exist independent of and sometimes remain dependent on this form of "the other."  Postcolonial literature seeks to address how individuals see themselves and their world, how individuals can live a sort of "double life" in terms of their own notion of self.  The examination of this duality becomes one of the critical issues in Postcolonial literature and is something that Postcolonalism strives to address.

I think that another issue that Postcolonialism addresses is how individuals navigate their present and future in a world where so much has changed.  Envisioning one's life under Colonial rule and then seeing it outside of Colonial rule causes a significant alteration in reality.  One of the issues that Postcolonialism addresses is the change in this reality.  How individuals and societies navigate it in their present and in the construction of the future is a significant issue in Postcolonialism.  It helps to define much of Postcolonial thought because it recognizes that the past casts an influence on both present and future.  Exploring this dynamic is an issue that is integral to understanding Postcolonialism.

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