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Saturday, 04 May 2013 17:42

Rationality and Colonisation: The Colonisation of the Mind

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colonialism guns
Western rationality was imposed on colonised people at the point of a gun
 
I used to teach Critical Theory at a Whare Wananga (Maori School of Higher Learning) and it always seemed a little strange to me to be applying a form of Western European critical logic to the processes of decolonisation that such an institution embodies and requires. To put this another way, it was logical and mental processes and thoughts such as these that were at the very core of the colonisation of indigenous peoples throughout the Enlightenment in the first place. These or very similar mental structures had been at the heart of what the Black American writer James Baldwin called "the colonisation of the mind". Yet here I was, promising that this time they would liberate rather than enslave! This piece was written as part of my PhD in trying to unpack Western rationality to show how its operational form had been captured by the dominant culture in the service of their power, and how, in contrast, Western rationality contains within it the seeds of hope and liberation for the oppressed and colonised.

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