Text Review of “A Small Place”

In Jamaica Kincaid’s story A Small Place, she explores the reality of Antigua through tourism, colonialism, and present-day Antigua.  Kincaid uses different tones and even in the first section addressed ‘you’ to make the reader feel affected, displaced or uncomfortable.   Kincaid expressed anger towards the colonialism that she experienced while growing up in Antigua and goes on to explain how it has molded the corruption of modern-day Antigua.

Kincaid argues that there are so many fundamental issues with developing countries such as Antigua because of European colonialism.  Just as we read in Things Fall Apart, the colonizers treated the natives terribly- enslavement, murder, imprisonment.  Just like the village of Umuofia was taught and told that Europe was a place of elegance and beauty, so was Kincaid told while growing up in Antigua; although, in both examples the colonizers were the exact opposite with their rude and brutal treatment.

Kincaid goes on to argue that due to their poor leadership and governance under colonial rule, it set a bad example of how the country should be ran after gaining independence. It led Antigua to be susceptible to the corruption that now rules the island.  Additionally, when the colonial control withdrew their forces, the country was left with very little making it harder to succeed as an independent country.  The corrupt government hides its struggles with the flock of tourism to their pristine beaches and perfect weather.

This essay does a great job inspiring conversation about identity, power and injustice.  Can you see the connections? The Antiguan identity being falsely molded by colonialism and tourism. The corrupt nature of power in modern day Antigua.  The injustice served by their corrupt governors and the injustices left when the colonizers retreated home.  There are so many more unexplored avenues of this story.  Kincaid writes in such a way to make you feel uncomfortable but in such a way that the displacement is eye-opening.

Othered Citizens

Kincaid portrayed an Antigua with corrupted government, culturally lost natives and prioritized white people through the eyes of an imaginary white tourist. She expressed her anger towards the English colonizers, and more than that, she uncovered the weakness in this small country and its people.

The major idea of this article is to reveal how Antiguan struggle in finding out their national identity after hundreds of years of being an English colony. The history of English governing washed away their notion of nationality, and maybe the ability of finding one. Antiguan are deprived of their own culture since they are taught in English and that they should believe in English god and love the queen of England. The repair of the national library was postponed; the government seems indifferent on cultivating culture independent of the English one. General citizens are not involved in controlling major economic activities in Antigua, foreigners do instead. Corruptions spread widely among Ministers, in which they monopolize profitable or even illegal businesses. Politically, Antigua people see themselves inferior to white westerners, even if they seem bad-mannered. They don’t feel centered in their home country but seconded or marginalized.

The article reminds me of the notion of other, which we came across many times in the readings throughout this course. This concept might help explain why Antiguans are lost in establishing a healthy self-centered identity. In the old colony times, the English governors and inhabitants did an excellent job in defining who are us and who are other, in their favor, of course. Hierarchies are formed based on the notion that colonizers are more intellectual and organized so that they stand in the center. That is why in Antigua, dark-skinned Syrians and Lebanese are regarded as foreigners, white people are not. The injustice maintained through post-colony times. The unfair institutions and hierarchies are internalized by Antiguans. They see corrupted government and rude westerners. But they don’t feel the urge to change all these. Because they do feel responsible for transforming the country, being part of other.

The take-home question from this article is what impact the history of colony might have on shaping national identities as well as citizenships. The work absolutely stimulates thoughts around identity forming and transforming by providing a representative post-colonial case of Antigua. Institutions of injustice are established by colonists to their benefit. It is going to be a long and suffering progress in transforming self-awareness from other to us.



Kincaid, Jamaica. 1988. A Small Place. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Dances with Wolves

Amanda Nall


Text Review Assignment: Dances with Wolves

Dances with Wolves is set in 1863 (filmed in 1990) and depicts the meeting and development of multiple relationships between a Union Army lieutenant, John Dunbar, and the Sioux people across South Dakota and Wyoming.

Most generally there is a difference in power between the Americans and the Native Americans that resides all throughout the movie. It is the preface through which the actions of John Dunbar are decided upon and it is the top concern for the Sioux chief, Kicking Bird. Relative to this class, the Native American people are seen as the Other by the Union Army and experience aggressive take over of the land that the Native Americans call home. They are dehumanized and seen as savages. At the end of the movie, Dunbar returns to his post and is dressed as a Sioux person but he is shot at and his horse, Cisco, dies because the Union Army blindly shot at someone who resembled a “savage”.

One intimate relationship develops between John Dunbar and an American woman, Stands with a Fist, who was taken in by the Sioux chief, Kicking Bird, at the age of six. Stands with a Fist is challenged by meeting another white person after having grown up and married within the Sioux tribe. She has to remember how to speak english and to open herself back up after losing her pervious husband. Stands with a Fist is battling her identity and trying to understand it after she has intimate feelings for John Dunbar but is, temporarily, banned from relations by the chief. Once the chief grants her freedom, she experiences an overwhelming affection for Dunbar and they are married soon after.

Throughout Dances with Wolves the main themes, discussed above, are morphed into a beautiful story and the development of personal relationships. I think that the director wants the audience to understand that getting to know someone is a rewarding experience and forming new relationships, keeping and open mind, and placing trusting others can bring rewards that reach beyond even the largest power struggles. I think that this movie is a perfect example to talk about identity and power and it is interesting that I found less injustice that expected. Perhaps there was less injustice on the plains of America before is was colonized by immigrants. The power struggle between the Union Army and the Sioux is clearly developed throughout the film and is a basis for many of the tribes actions and thus the plot of the movie. The identity struggle of both Stands with a Fist and John Dunbar is portrayed and both people learn to develop their identities in order to understand each other and be together.

History of Partition between India and Pakistan

1947, August 15th, British India was split into two different independent nation states. It consisted of Hindu majority India and Muslim majority Pakistan. The main vehicle for the Partition was the Indian National Congress with the best-known leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Before the 1940s, it had long argued for a single state with a strong centre. Unfortunately, other organizations supporting minorities felt their plan seemed sketchy. Because of Hindus taking up 80% of the population, people believed it could protect the political dominance. The situation sparked one the biggest migrations in human history. Tons of people and families traveled, and some did not make it. On the India side, societies that had lived there for years were suddenly fighting each other due to the shocking new reality of local violence. It was a mutual massacre that was unique and new. Additionally, there became “massacres, arson, forced conversions, mass abductions, and savage sexual violence. Some seventy-five thousand women were raped, and many of them were then disfigured or dismembered” (Dalrymple 2015). Many British soldiers and journalists who had experience with the Nazi death camps explained that the partition was worse – including “pregnant women had their breasts cut off and babies hacked out of their bellies; infants were found literally roasted on spits” (Dalrymple 2015). However, there was no comparison in these two distinct events.

By 1948, the journey came to a termination. Ayesha Jalal writes that it was a “defining moment that is neither beginning nor end, partition continues to influence how the peoples and states of postcolonial South Asia envisage their past, present and future” (Dalrymple 2015). This shows the suffering of so many people and families who have had to discover ways to understand background due to unforeseen acts by the partition. People are and were strong headed about their beliefs and would fight for that if they felt threatened and by any means necessary. “Many of the people concerned were very deeply attached not just to religious identity, but to territory” (The Conversation 2017). Additionally, both states had difficulty handling the needs and recovering post refugees from what had arisen. By the 1960s families were still migrating. Today, India and Pakistan are still trying to figure solutions out. This was by far one the most devastating times of history for South Asia.


William, Dalrymple. (2015, June 15). The violent legacy of Indian Partition. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/29/the-great-divide-books-dalrymple

Pant, Harsh. M. (2016, September 26). Kashmir flare-up puts India under new pressure to deal with Pakistan. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/how-the-partition-of-india-happened-and-why-its-effects-are-still-felt-today-81766

The Effect of the Partition of Bengal

The partitioning of Bengal was brought about by Lord Curzon, who was the British viceroy as well as the Governor-General of British India in 1905 (Roy, 2014). Curzon argued that Bengal could not be governed effectively due to its large size and had to be divided into East Bengal and West Bengal. East Bengal was largely inhabited by Muslims whereas West Bengal was dominated by Hindus. The decision to divide India was an attempt to weaken the population by turning it against itself to minimize resistance. The Muslims in the western part supported the decision because it allowed them to do business without the interference of the Hindus who had dominated Bengal’s business environment. East Bengal was neglected and isolated due to the poor communication system in the area (Roy, 2014). However, the Hindus of West Bengal protested against the decision since it made them minorities in the East and regarded the division as an act of strangling Bengal’s nationalism. Protests escalated from mass meetings to boycotting of British goods.

The partition resulted in massive resettlement as Hindus moved to the East whereas Muslims moved to the West. The partition led to the death of many local people as the British officials took on protesters. The debate on the division of Bengal has never ended long after India got its independence. Refugees, infiltrators, and migrates continuously flow across the borders of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh which were formed from the partition (Sengupta, 2011). Both the Indian and Pakistan governments have tried to stop the influx of refugees across the borders of the two countries. Initially, the Hindus fled East Bengal for safety which had become part of Pakistan, which was dominated by Muslims. However, the poor populations in the two divides were unable to migrate and decided to stay in their original locations (Roy, 2014). Although the British colonists may not have managed to reap the benefits of the partition then, they managed to turn the local communities against one another leading to the formation of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.




Roy, K. (2014). Partition of British India: Causes and Consequences Revisited. India Review13(1), 78-86. doi:10.1080/14736489.2014.873681

Sengupta, D. (2011). From Dandakaranya to Marichjhapi: rehabilitation, representation and the partition of Bengal (1947). Social Semiotics21(1), 101-123. doi:10.1080/10350330.2011.535673



Role of Christian Missionaries in Colonial Africa

The story of missionary work in colonial Africa begins with The Age of Discovery. This is a period where European powers set their sights on exploring the world. This was the start of a global economy, and colonialism. The British colonized many nations including Nigeria in order to exploit native labor and natural recourses beginning in the 1700’s (Reviews). Their justification for colonization was that they were providing better education and healthcare to the natives (Nigeria – Influence). Another primary justification for colonization was for missionary work. Today, Christianity is criticized in the context of Colonialism because the it was used to justify Colonialism. The British, along with many other European empires, pillaged these counties of resources, engaged in human trafficking of the native people, and exploited their labor in the collection of these resources.

Missionaries attempted to convert as many native people as possible to Christianity. This affect of this works is still apparent today where nearly half of Nigerians are Christian (Nigeria – United). Different denominations of Christianity divided the Nation into their own spheres of influence in order not to compete with each other. Among the Igbo, Catholic missionaries were particularly present. In fact, the British were successful in largely eliminating common practices in Nigeria of human sacrifice and the killing of infant children. The missionaries felt that spreading the gospel to these people was of great importance, and actively tried to erase their beliefs in Polytheism. British missionaries even promoted the Natives into leadership positions within the church. In fact, the British missionaries were successful in largely eliminating common practices in Nigeria of human sacrifice and the killing of infant children.

The Christian missionaries of the Colonial Age worked in very different ways from the missionaries of today. They believed that converting native people to Christianity was of such dire importance that they felt justified in forcibly and violently converting them. This did much damage not only to those directly impact by the hostility, but to the generations of lost culture and tradition of native religions all across Africa.

Works Cited

Nigeria – Influence of the Christian Missions, countrystudies.us/Nigeria/14.htm

“Nigeria – United States Department of State.” U.S. Department of State, https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/nigeria/

Reviews in American History: A Quarterly Journal of Criticism. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1973. Print

History of the British Takeover of Nigeria

Nigeria is a country in West Africa. It was colonized by the British in 1884 and the colony is established at the Berlin conference which divides Africa by European powers. The British targeted Nigeria because of its resources. The British wanted products like palm oil and palm kernel and export trade in tin, cotton, cocoa, groundnuts, palm oil and so on (Graham, 2009).  The British accomplished the colonization by using its military. Although there was strong resistance from natives against the British, it was all crushed by the British. As a result, the trading post at the Niger River is created and the British economic rule is maintained over the colonies, exploiting Nigerians (Graham, 2009).

After the British conquest of northern and southern Nigeria and the merging of the two to establish Nigerian colonies and protectorate, the British seeks the best interests between direct rule and indirect rule. They will not hesitate to use the means of direct rule if they think that indirect rule cannot guarantee their colonial status. The divide and rule policy is always adopted by the British over the colonization of Nigeria. The consequences of the colonization consist of many parts. Politically, slavery was abolished. Economically, the tax system and transportation system deepened the British’s plunder and control over the economy in Nigeria. Culturally, the British controlled the religious culture in Nigeria through training a group of local people to spread Christianity in Nigeria, opening missionary schools, and other ways.

“Nigeria was granted independence on October 1, 1960 but the journey to achieving the right to self-government started seven years before when Anthony Enahoro moved the motion for self-governance in the British-led parliament in 1953. […] Foremost Nigerians like Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Balewa who like Enahoro were some of the nationalists who fought for the country’s independence” (Omotayo). They were trying their best to convince their colonial Britain of the need for independence but prove and the capability of self-governance. They had to use their knowledge to prove this by presentation at the parliament and with solid logic. On the other hand, British need to consider the gain and loss from the Nigeria since British is under a turbulent era: Nazism in Europe was over, but Communism and the Soviet Union was increasingly powerful (America also). The available resources were limited, so it’s necessary for British to balance the risking of losing their power in the world.


Work Cited:

Katie Graham. (2009). “Nigeria: Colonization”. Retrieved from “https://hj2009per6nigeria.weebly.com/colonization.html”.

Omotayo Yusuf. (2017). “How Nigeria got its independence”. Legit. Retrieved from “https://www.legit.ng/1044956-four-nigerians-fought-britain-seven-years-won-pictured.html”.

What Does Subaltern Mean Anyway?

In Postcolonial Theory, “Subaltern” describes people in the lower social classes and the Other social groups that are displaced and marginalized while also living in an imperial colony. If there is little access or no access at all to the cultural imperialism then one is described as subaltern. The term Subaltern was coined by Antonio Gramsci, who was an Italian Marxist intellectual. He used it when describing cultural hegemony, in order to identify groups that were excluded, displaced, and marginalized due to the socio-economic institutions put into place, so their political voices would be denied. Gayatri Spivak states that “the reasonable and rarefied definition of the word subaltern that interests me is: to be removed from all lines of social mobility” (Spivak, 475).*

Now knowing what subaltern means, I am going to apply it to examples. In India, “the evidence suggests that Subaltern Studies has been an effort by secular “Southerners” (Biharis, Bengalis) to withstand the hegemony of the ‘North’, represented by the liberal-Marxist alliance centered in New Delhi” (Gran). It has also been an effort to withstand the religious fascism that has been rapidly trending in the “South” of India. Anyone who is not associated and one with the hegemony force, or part of the religious fascism that is spreading is considered to be subaltern. There is no line of mobility in the social hierarchy for the marginalized group(s). “Consciousness of the oppression of the subaltern, one senses from reading Guha, will induce the ruling class to change its ways” (Gran). Even with this consciousness of what is happening, it would be extremely hard, and near impossible to change the institution from the inside out to revert from its oppressive practices in the hierarchy.

The field of Subaltern Studies is about examining the “histories from below” (Ludden, 403). Ludden states that, “Subaltern Studies from its beginnings was felt by many, with some justice, to be somewhat too dismissive about predecessors and contemporaries working on not entirely dissimilar lines, and the claims of setting up a new ‘paradigm’ were certainly overflamboyant” (Ludden, 403). It studies the conditions of those in the social groups that have virtually no way to climb up the hierarchy of power within the institution that they dwell in. It studies the socio-economic conditions and statuses of those considered to be subaltern, and how the groups are affected as they are. The late Subaltern Studies has focused on three areas to study, which comprise of ‘derivative discourse,’ indigenous ‘community,’ and ‘fragments (Ludden, 407)’. The ways in which in this field is studied have and continue to change. This can be attributed to always evolving institutions, new scholarly perspectives, etc.


Works Cited:

Ludden, David. (2005). “Reading Subaltern Studies: Critical History, Contested Meaning, and the

Globalisation of South Asia”Permanent Black

Gran, Peter. (2004). “Subaltern Studies, Racism, and Class Struggle: Examples from India and the United States”. International Gramsci Society Online Article. http://www.internationalgramscisociety.org/resources/online_articles/articles/gran01.shtml

Spivak, Gayatri. (2005). “Scattered Speculations on the subaltern and the popular”. Postcolonial Studies, 8(4). https://doi.org/10.1080/13688790500375132


*Quick note from Caroline: Devon is doing a great job explaining a really tricky concept, and I want to highlight this important quote. Someone, or a group, who is subaltern is not just Other, minority, or disadvantaged; they are essentially unable to speak for themselves in the existing structures of power. That’s what Spivak is talking about here, and what Devon is talking about in the second paragraph.

The Critique of Colonialism

As a reminder from week 2, colonialism is an example of domination where one nation or group exerts economic and political control over another nation. Colonialism has been a common practice that can be found in a multitude of examples throughout history. However, the terms “colonialism” and “imperialism” are often used interchangeably. The root of colonialism is “colony”, a Latin word meaning farmer. Therefore, colonialism is often linked to a transfer of people to a new territory. “Imperium” is another Latin word that means, “command” and may include the means at how a nation exerts control over another nation. The practice of colonialism is often critiqued, and this critique may occur due to the way that colonialism can easily shift into a practice of imperialism.

The colonizer often exerts their beliefs, morals, and values onto the colonized nation and its population. The Colonial powers often attempt to justify their actions and values based on a belief that these ideals should be used in order to provide better education and civilization to the colony. However, certain attitudes of cultural, religious, and racial ideals are viewed negatively.  For example, European colonialism in Africa can be argued to be have yielded very negative effects that are still seen in Africa today. The Europeans came to Africa in search of slaves that they could provide for the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The domination that the Europeans exerted over the individuals in Africa could be equated to extreme violence.

However, in an attempt to justify their actions, Europeans sought to claim that these measures were necessary in order to bring order to higher civilization and education among society. One viewpoint indicates that, “colonialism is predicated quintessentially on race” (Ndobegang, 633). The idea that race is the apparent reason for one nation to exert control over another nation is why colonialism can be viewed so negatively. Equating race to status and role in society leaves a society to be solely based on discrimination, violence, and inequality. The Europeans came to Africa in search of finding slaves that they believed would bring a better quality of life to the populations that relied on slaves for labor. As they encroached on Africa’s territory, it brought along a justification for the violence and racial injustices that followed.


Works Cited:

S. D. Fomin & Michael M. Ndobegang(2006)African Slavery Artifacts and European Colonialism: The Cameroon Grassfields from 1600 to 1950, The European Legacy, 11:6, 633-646, https://www-tandfonline-com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/doi/full/10.1080/10848770600918224.

Kohn, Margaret, and Kavita Reddy. “Colonialism.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 29 Aug. 2017, plato.stanford.edu/entries/colonialism/.

Omolewa, Michael. “THE HISTORY OF COLONIALISM IN AFRICA–REVISITED.” The Journal of African American History, vol. 94, no. 2, 2009, p. 248+. Gale Academic Onefile, https://link-gale-com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/apps/doc./A206692962/AONE?u=colu44332&sid=AONE&xid=b7560051.