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Postcolonialism or postcolonial studies is an academic discipline that analyzes, explains, and responds to the cultural legacy of colonialism and imperialism. Postcolonialism speaks about the human consequences of external control and economic exploitation of native people and their lands. Drawing from postmodern schools of thought, postcolonial studies analyse the politics of knowledge (creation, control, and distribution) by examining the functional relations of social and political power that sustain colonialism and neocolonialism—the imperial regime's depictions (social, political, cultural) of the colonizer and of the colonized.
As a genre of contemporary history, postcolonialism questions and reinvents the manner in which a culture is being viewed, challenging the narratives expounded during the colonial era. Anthropologically, it records human nations between the colonists and the peoples under colonial rule, seeking to build an understanding of the nature and practice of colonial rule. As a critical theory, it presents, explains, and illustrates the ideology and practice of neocolonialism with examples drawn from history, political science, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and human geography. It also examines the effects of colonial rule on the cultural aspects of the colony and its treatment of women, language, literature, and humanity.
As an epistemology (the study of knowledge, its nature and verifiability), as an ethics (moral philosophy), and as a politics (affairs of the citizenry), the field of postcolonialism address the politics of knowledge—the matters that constitute the postcolonial identity of a decolonised people, which derives from: (i) the coloniser's generation of cultural knowledge about the colonised people; and (ii) how that Western cultural knowledge was applied to subjugate a non–European people into a colony of the European Mother Country, which, after initial invasion, was effected by means of the cultural identities of 'coloniser' and 'colonised'.
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