Studies 19 September, 2017

Imperialism and the writing of the self in postcolonial criticism: preliminary notes on the Moroccan self and imperial heritage

Mbark Bouzzit

M'bark Bouzzit  obtained his Master's degree in comparative literature from Ibn Zouhr University, Agadir, Morocco, in 2012 . He also received "diplome de l'Ecole Normale superieure de L'enseignment" from ENS, Rabat in 2012. He is a teacher of English.He as well lectures on Media Studies at Ibn Zouhr, Agadir. M'bark Bouzzit is the writer of The Subversion of Colonialism: Moroccan Women Write to the Empire. He is also the writer of many articles  both in English and Arabic on issues of culture, ideology, history and representation.  He is currently completing his PhD research on imperialism and identity, working within a special research group dedicated to Interactions in Literature: Culture and Society at Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Morocco.


Imperial ideology still warrants thorough scrutiny on the part of the postcolonial observer. Though it has been repeatedly dismantled, misrepresentation and exploitation are ubiquitous and atrocities still go viral in the Arab-Muslim world. I claim that there is still a certain discontinuity in the application of the ethos from which the imperial West claims to take its activity. This paper further argues that the very defect which accompanies imperial ideology is that it fails to conceive of its own contradictions. That some practices have become axiomatic, the writing of the postcolonial identity as a subversion of imperial representations, structures of thought and behavior should become an essential quest for the postcolonial critic. This paper advances the premise that the writing of postcolonial identity as a subversive strategy is essentially a writing of that which imperial ideology silences or fails to see, namely its hegemonic domination and brutality. It is also a writing of that which distinguishes the postcolonial self with its own semic, cultural and interpretive codes. The flaw, as I argue, is that the postcolonial self (i.e. the Moroccan self) is still denigrated in Western media and its writing by its postcolonial critics raises some serious theoretical problems. I ascertain that the postcolonial self is still positioned in the margins of the Western reason, and the postcolonial critic's wish to give voice to identities he/she consciously/unconsciously term 'marginal' is in itself problematic. To define the postcolonial self as being extremely separate/different from the Western self might lead to atavist or monistic conception of the whole matter, and to define it as being essentially different but still dependent on the extreme center might explicitly subjugate it to the same imperial hegemony it wishes to shed. The outcome is that no matter how different his/her writing is the postcolonial critic is interpellated to the same imperial ideology he wishes to subvert.


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