Colonialism's Culture

Colonialism's Culture : Anthropology, Travel and Government

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In this book, Nicholas Thomas explores the perceptions of colonized populations which have emerged in the course of European expansion, and critically assesses different approaches to colonial representation. Thomas argues that, while negative ideologies of racial denigration have been important, there is also a range of romanticizing, sentimental and exoticist images of others that require fuller appreciation. These images continue to play a significant role today, both in contemporary liberal attitudes towards other cultures and in scholarly disciplines like anthropology. The book aims to offer an account of the development of ideas about human difference and otherness, and of the conflict-ridden expression of these ideas in colonial projects at particular times. Thomas draws examples from the texts of 18th-century anthropology, 19th-century missionaries and colonial administration, as well as novelists of colonialism such as John Buchan. He shows that colonial culture was not some homogenous ideology that dominated the colonized, but an array of discourses with their own internal tensions and contradictions.
By reviewing debates about colonial culture and developing an innovative set of arguments, this book aims to provide an introduction to this field.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 152 x 229mm
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 074560871X
  • 9780745608716

Table of contents

1. From present to past: the politics of colonial studies 2. Culture and rule: theories of colonial discourse 3. From past to present: colonial epochs, agents and locations 4. Colonial governmentality and colonial conversion 5. Imperial triumph, settler failure 6. The primitivist and the postcolonial.
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