The Other, The Big Other, and Othering

Critical theorists are particularly committed to opposing binary oppositions where one side is seen as privileged over or defining itself against an Other (often capitalized), for example, male/female, Occident/Orient, center/margin. Through such binary oppositions, Homi Bhabha explains, “The Other loses its power to signify, to negate, to initiate its historic desire, to establish its own… Read More The Other, The Big Other, and Othering

Hegemony

Hegemony, initially a term referring to the dominance of one state within a confederation, is now generally understood to mean domination by consent. This broader meaning was coined and popularized in the 1930s by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, who investigated why the ruling class was so successful in promoting its own interests in society. Fundamentally,… Read More Hegemony

Fanonism

A term for the anti-colonial liberationist critique formulated by the Martiniquan psychiatrist Frantz Fanon (1925–1961). Fanon’s work in Algeria led him to become actively involved in the Algerian liberation movement and to publish a number of foundational works on racism and colonialism. These include Black Skin, White Masks (1952, translated 1968), a study of the… Read More Fanonism

Decolonization

Decolonization is the process of revealing and dismantling colonialist power in all its forms. This includes dismantling the hidden aspects of those institutional and cultural forces that had maintained the colonialist power and that remain even after political independence is achieved. Initially, in many places in the colonized world, the process of resistance was conducted… Read More Decolonization

Paul Gilroy and His Theory of Black Atlantic

The term Black Atlantic was employed first by the Black British critic Paul Gilroy (Gilroy 1993). In that study, he addressed the cultural and historical linkages, which unified the peoples of African descent on both sides of the ocean that had been the scene of the diaspora of black Africans resulting from the Atlantic slave-trade… Read More Paul Gilroy and His Theory of Black Atlantic