Notes on the ‘post-colonial’

Ella Shohat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The ‘post-colonial’ did not emerge to fill an empty space in the language of political-cultural analysis. On the contrary, its wide adaptation during the late eighties was coincident with and dependent on the eclipse of older paradigm, that of ‘Third World.' The terminological shift indicates the professional prestige and theoretical aura the issues have acquired, in contrast to more activist aura once enjoyed by ‘Third World’ within progressive academic circles. In that sense the prefix ‘post’ aligns the ‘post-colonial’ with another genre of ‘posts’ - ‘post-war, ' ‘post-cold war, ' ‘post-independence, ' ‘post-revolution’ - all of which underline a passage into new period and a closure of a certain historical event or age, officially stamped with dates. Since the ‘post’ in ‘post-colonial’ suggests ‘after’ demise of colonialism, it is imbued, quite apart from its users’ intentions, with an ambiguous spatio-temporality. Spreading from India into Anglo-American academic contexts, ‘post-colonial’ tends to be associated with Third World countries which gained independence after World War II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContemporary Postcolonial Theory
Subtitle of host publicationA Reader
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000325508
ISBN (Print)9780340652886
StatePublished - Jan 8 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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