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Strategic Orientalism: Postcolonial Theory Beyond East and West

Sat, May 27, 8:00 to 9:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua 309

Abstract

Inspired by Koichi Iwabuchi’s concept of “strategic hybridism,” this presentation examines how postcolonial theory has been both strategically ignored and strategically employed to position different socio-political actors with the result of masking power relations and overlooking complicities. Comparing key elements of the discourse surrounding the historical postcoloniality of France and Japan, it explores how postcolonial theory was used to discuss these two contexts, and at times served to obscure power dynamics falling outside common East/West lines. Calling for a more critical engagement with postcolonial theory, this presentation makes a case for the continuing usefulness of its key concepts as starting points for the development of carefully contextualized and historically situated examinations of narratives of the self, culture, and the nation.

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