Postcolonial Women Writers 7.0: Postcolonial Feminism

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In this series, novels by several postcolonial women writers have been examined. Each of these female authors engages with aspects of postcolonial feminism. Such aspects included the use of re-telling or counter-narrative as well as ambiguous or unresolved endings.

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“Postcolonial feminism” is an umbrella term for a movement which has also been called “third world feminism” and “global feminism.” An international movement which has its roots in international responses to the UN Decade of Women (1975-1985), “postcolonial feminism” is most well known for the challenge it has posed to Western feminist politics. THE STOCKTON POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES PROJECT
Postcolonial Feminism rejects the Western feminist idea that all women experience similar oppressions globally. Although there may be common strands among some women, all women are different as a result of their race, ethnicity, age, culture, sexual orientation, etc.. Because of this, oppressions that are deemed universal to all women are actually experienced differently, and even uniquely, by each and every woman.
Postcolonial feminism was born as a response to colonialism, imperialism, and Euro-American feminists’ emphasis on sisterhood, which is one way Euro-American values are imperialistically imposed on other cultures. Postcolonial feminism is an intervention into such problematic frames of thought in hegemonic Euro-American feminism. The theory resists Euro-American feminists’ tendency to universalize the forms of oppression they face in their own lives, a tendency which ignores the crucial differences in the way women from various national, ethnic and religious backgrounds experience gender. FEM MAGAZINE
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One specific aspect that was present in every novel examined was the use of an ambiguous or unresolved ending. Each of these female authors challenge the idea that readers need to be satisfied with an ending. By ending on cliffhangers or using the novels as a prologue to the future, these postcolonial women writers counter the Western notion of a “perfect ending” by showing that there is more of a story beyond the novel’s ending.

This connection between women as historical subjects and the re-presentation of Woman produced by hegemonic discourses is not a relation of direct identity, or a relation of correspondence or simple implication. It is an arbitrary relation set
up by particular culture. UNDER WESTERN EYES, CHANDRA TALPADE MOHANTY

Another aspect of postcolonial feminism that was present in each of the novels in this series is the counter-narrative or retelling.WIDE SARGASSO SEA is a counter-narrative and retelling Jane Eyre. WHITE TEETH is a counter-narrative and retelling of the typical Londoner’s appreciation of their multicultural city. ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS: A RETELLING is a feminist counter-narrative and retelling of the ancient stories in One Thousand and One Nights. HERE COMES THE SUN is a counter-narrative and retelling of Western perspective of Caribbean countries—specifically Jamaica—being nothing but “beautiful” and “vacation worthy.” AMERICANAH “re-imagines racial solidarity between African immigrants of the “new” African diaspora and African Americans of the “old” African diaspora” (THE “OUTSIDER WITHIN”). HOME FIRE is a counter-narrative and retelling of the Western perspective of the men and women who have been pulled into the Islamic State. From this series, we have concluded that a counter-narrative and a retelling go hand-in-hand—a book cannot be one without the other. 
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Wide Sargasso Sea

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White Teeth​

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One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling​

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Here Comes the Sun​

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BUY ON AMAZON
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Americanah​

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BUY ON AMAZON
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Home Fire​

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BUY ON AMAZON
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Jean Rhys

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THE TLS
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Zadie Smith

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BRITISH COUNCIL – LITERATURE

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Hanan al-Shaykh

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PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

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Nicole Dennis-Benn

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NICOLEDENNISBENN.COM

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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CHIMAMANDA.COM

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Kamila Shamsie

 

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