Bhabha`s Signs Taken For Wonders

Presentation by Derrick Carter
 Mimicry-
the art or practice of mimicking
 Hybridity- a “presence” of power
demonstrated by a culture.
 Differance- binaries (difference with a
 Enstellung- Psychanalytic term for
 England
taught other places their
“culture” through the Bible (and other
English literature), but didn’t teach the
whole thing…because well, that would be
silly. Instead, they taught them what they
might be able to weave into their lives,
rather than the whole book (a.k.a. the
Bible, a.k.a. the English book).
 Bible
+ British Culture
= “Civilized Culture”
 So
the English Book (as Bhabha calls it)
was brought to distant lands full of
“uncivilized savages” to expand British
culture, because God forbid that people
go living their own lives in their own
 England
was setting itself up as a beacon
of how to live by and the instructions to
civilize people were contained in the
 Seeing as they were the ones who
brought it over, the other cultures would
never become equal, but just be imitating
how the English culture behaved.
So how revolutionary
might it have been to
watch other cultures
that were formed by
the English write
back to them
attacking in English?
It brought to life a
“presence of
authority” and just
who is in control of
“Hybridity is the sign of the productivity of colonial power,
its shifting forces and fixities; it is the name for the strategic
reversal of the process of domination through disavowal
(that is, the production of discriminatory identities that
secure the “pure” and original identity of authority).
Hybridity is the revaluation of the assumption of colonial
identity through the repetition of discriminatory identity
effects. It displays the necessary deformation and
displacement of all sites of discrimination and domination.
It unsettles the mimetic or narcissistic demands of colonial
power but reimplicates its identifications in strategies of
subversion that turn the gaze of the discriminated back
upon the eye of power.”
(End of second column on 1882 and beginning of first column
on 1883)
 That
is familiar.
 “inscrutability” of the Chinese
 “unspeakable” rites of the Indians
 “indescribable” habits of the Hottentots
 “rudeness” of
Americans (not in the
actual essay, but still)
They [crucial moments in English literature] are
also signs of a discontinuous history, an
estrangement of the English book. They mark the
disturbance of its authoritative representations
by the uncanny forces of race, sexuality, violence,
cultural and even climatic differences which
emerge in the colonial discourse as the mixed
and split texts of hybridity. If the appearance of
the English book is read as a production of
colonial hybridity, then it no longer simply
COMMANDS authority. It gives rise to a series of
(Second column, page 1883)
 “When
the natives demand an Indianized
Gospel, they are using the powers of
hybridity to resist baptism and to put the
projection of conversion in an impossible
position. Any adaptation of the Bible was
forbidden by the evidences of
(Second Column, page 1887)
 “It
is THEIR book and they printed in
their language for our use”
 “For by alienating the “English” as the
middle term, the presence of authority is
freed of a range of idealogical correlatesfor instance, intentionality, originality,
authenticity, cultural normativity.”
(First Column, page 1888)
 THE BOOK! (not the ENGLISH book!)
Someone from a culture
formed through influences of
someone else and their own
beliefs to make a culture of
their own. He may not be
proper by certain cultures,
but he lived his own
Also when asked what he
thought of British civilization.
He responded that he
thought it was a good idea.
you are not our father!
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