Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tuesday Quote: Homi Bhabha

Bhabha"I think we need to draw attention to the fact that the advent of Western modernity, located as it generally is in the 18th and 19th centuries, was the moment when certain master narratives of the state, the citizen, cultural value, art, science, the novel, when these major cultural discourses and identities came to define the "Enlightenment" of Western society and the critical rationality of Western personhood. The time at which these things were happening was the same time at which the West was producing another history of itself through its colonial possessions and relations. That ideological tension, visible in the history of the West as a despotic power, at the very moment of the birth of democracy and modernity, has not been adequately written in a contradictory and contrapuntal discourse of tradition. Unable to resolve that contradiction perhaps, the history of the West as a despotic power, a colonial power, has not been adequately written side by side with its claims to democracy and solidarity. This material legacy of this repressed history is inscribed in the return of post-colonial peoples to the metropolis."
--Homi Bhabha, from "The Third Space," an interview with Jonathan Rutherford, in Identity: Community, Culture, Difference (Lawrence & Wishart, 1990).


  1. I'm getting lost in his eyes! He's cute!

    *coughs while thinking of something relevant to say!*

    You know, that reminds me: recently I've come across the word 'Kiaspora' which, from what I understand, means the initial dispersion of people out of Africa into other parts of the world (not to be confused with the following 'Diaspora' created, for the most part, by the global slave trade anchored by the Middle Passage). We became different people (whatever that really means) in different parts of the world who would later come back and recolonize Africa. I'm only now understanding how truly complex colonization really is; this matrix of all these things we've learned the first time, the second time and now, living in our modern world. Google's not up on it yet - except for this beautiful poem.

    Anyway, did I mention that man's eyes? *swoon!*

  2. Thanks for the reply, Donald. This scholar from Connecticut, WD Wright, calls the earlier diasporas just that, diasporas, since they involved non-forced dispersals of people from the cradle of humankind, North-East-Central Africa (home of our common mother, Dinknesh), whereas the one initiated by the slave trade he calls "Western African Extensia," to keep in focus the notion that outside of Madagascar and smaller number of enslaved people brought from what east-central and southern Africa, the vast majority of people brought over during the period 1450-1880 came from Western (upper Guinea and lower Guinea) and Central (Congo-Angola) Africa, and he views it as an extension that has of course undergone transformation. Other scholars, like Brent Edwards, talk about diaspora as "practice"--it's an amazing, living, ongoing process--that we both see and experience and live every day. The poem is beautiful!