In groups, list of all the countries that were colonies or territories of another country (e.g., Great Britain, Portugal, France, United States, etc.) in 1900, 1939, and today, and then note the date each achieved independence. Which territories or colonies have not yet achieved independence or have achieved only partial independence? Each group member research the independence movement(s) in one of those countries and report to the class.
The principal overseas dependencies of the United States include the territories of Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. After researching the history of United States control of these territories, argue for or against their right to independence.
Pretend that Fidel Castro’s government has been overthrown and that you have been named as a member of the committee charged with drafting a constitution for the new government. What declarations or articles will you argue should be included in the new constitution? Read the constitutions of other countries including the United States as part of your research.
Some theorists of Postcolonialism are known for their notoriously dense and often unreadable prose. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is one of them. In groups, read her essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” included in Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg’s Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (1988), summarize it, and present its main points to your class. Discuss the differences in the main points that your group presented and those of other groups.
The conflict of cultures is at the heart of much postcolonial literature. Think about a time when you came into contact with a culture you knew little about, and then write a short essay about that event.