White Mythologies: Writing History and the West, 2nd Edition
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Said is praised for demonstrating so effectively western historicisms complicity in colonialism, but he is also chastised forcibly by Young for methodological and conceptual flaws that seemingly trap Said in the terms of his own critique. Young contends that throughout Saids work there is evidence of a privileged position propped up by a totalizing western liberalism.
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That is, by tending toward dualistic binaries that foreclose the possibility of contradiction, by repeatedly appealing to the values of humanism, and by elevating the individual genius and agency of intellectuals like himself to positions with critical distance and consciousness in relation to systems of oppression, Said replicates another kind of Orientalism. The paradox for Young is telling, given Saids status as the great campaigner against racism and ethnocentricism p.
In the final two chapters, Young examines the deconstructive work of Bhabha and Spivak, both of whom formulate possibilities for thinking and writing about history that circumvent the dialectic and disturb its reproduction of dominant structures of knowledge and power. For these theorists, and for Young, simple inversions positioning subalterns as the subjects of their own histories are insufficient to counter western historicism, since such inversions continue to constitute the Third World according to the terms of the original opposition which recuperates non-Western and women subjects as others for a Western Self.
Young is troubled by Bhabhas silence on the historical relations between various descriptions of the conditions of colonial discourse e. Young is similarly supportive of Spivaks worlding narratives that make obvious how the epistemic violence of the Western imperialist project has constructed the so- called Third World in ways that make impossible the recovery of a lost subaltern subject with an authentic voice p. Young finds disconcerting, however, Spivaks illumination of her own complicity in the oppressive systems of which even alternate and counter-histories form a part and suggests that she problematically exhibits the very feminist individualism she critiques.
In so far as Youngs book highlights exclusively male theorists with the exception of Spivak and merely sprinkles the significance of feminism to historiography throughout, I was left thinking that this particular criticism seemed to emanate from the patriarchal constituency that Young himself argues to be integral to western white mythologies p.
It is, moreover, difficult to accept Youngs disapproving judgements on Spivaks attention to her own positionality given that there is a complete absence from Youngs text of a contextualization of the possible ways in which his own authoritative choices and criticism might be complicit in reinstating the primacy of the West and white male theorists of history.
In the only major change to the original edition, a chapter entitled White Mythologies Revisited, Young had an opportunity to exhibit this sort of self-reflexiveness. In fact, he does implicitly acknowledge some earlier shortcomings by attempting to incorporate reformulations of Marxism by non-European thinkers such as Mao Zedong and Che Guevara.
Review of White Mythologies: Writing History and the West
However, the new chapter also centres Youngs own brilliance and innovation, in ways that replicate Western narratives of discovery, through descriptions of the book as having posed a question which few had ever considered a problem and as being the the first to chart and define the new field of post-colonial studies p. The white mythologies sustained by an arrogant and arrogating narrative p.
Youngs inability, within his own theoretical critique, to avoid suppressing the Other and bringing it under the aegis of an intellectually superior Self ironically lends weight to his salient points about the pervasiveness of racism and the capacity of that ruthless whiteness p. Still, by demonstrating that shared ethnocentric, Eurocentric, and universalist assumptions infuse the theorizations of radically dissident scholars who have been critically engaged in projects of independence and emancipation in solidarity with peoples outside the West, Youngs arguments about the implacable whiteness p.
It is a challenge to get beyond Youngs difficult prose and his dense analysis of complex scholarship, but the rewarding result is a richer appreciation of the political and ethical salience of the post- structuralist project and its fundamental aim to deconstruct the concept, the authority, and the assumed primacy of, the category of the west p. As the subtitle anticipates, this study deals almost exclusively with the history of Protestant education in Quebec over two centuries. Nonetheless, dealing with a neglected area of Quebec history as it does, it also offers numerous insights as well into rural and small-town Quebec and the ever-changing relations between the anglophone, francophone, and allophone populations of that province.
It is an exemplary study of a significant, though minority, community in Quebec as seen through the eyes of one of its main institutions, the elementary and secondary school. As a piece of historical writing, A. Read Free For 30 Days. White Mythologies Wri. Flag for inappropriate content. White Mythologies Wri For Later. Related titles.
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【德里达】White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text
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