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

Anthropological Criticism: An Essay

Anthropological criticism refers, broadly speaking, to a form of criticism that situates the making, dissemination and reception of literature within the conventions and cultural practices of human societies. Such an undertaking has become increasingly suspect in the twentieth century as critiques of the idea of the centred subject and of a stable field of knowledge… Read More Anthropological Criticism: An Essay

Homi K Bhabha’s Theoretical Contributions to Film Studies

In his epistemological work on colonial and postcolonial discourse, cultural translation, hybridity and ambiguity, Homi Bhabha gives a central place to culture. Bhabha refers regularly to literature and (albeit to a lesser extent) to cinema. Speaking from a profoundly humanities perspective, and influenced by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Frantz Fanon and Jacques Derrida, Bhabha argues… Read More Homi K Bhabha’s Theoretical Contributions to Film Studies

Mimicry in Postcolonial Theory

An increasingly important term in post-colonial theory, because it has come to describe the ambivalent relationship between colonizer and colonized. When colonial discourse encourages the colonized subject to ‘mimic’ the colonizer, by adopting the colonizer’s cultural habits, assumptions, institutions and values, the result is never a simple reproduction of those traits. Rather, the result is… Read More Mimicry in Postcolonial Theory

Homi Bhabha’s Concept of Hybridity

One of the most widely employed and most disputed terms in postcolonial theory, hybridity commonly refers to the creation of new transcultural forms within the contact zone produced by colonization. As used in horticulture, the term refers to the cross-breeding of two species by grafting or cross-pollination to form a third, ‘hybrid’ species. Hybridization takes… Read More Homi Bhabha’s Concept of Hybridity