Discovery of India (Redux)

May 16th, 2008

The history of colonialism is replete with examples of discoveries of people and places who were already there…and doing quite well, thank you very much.  Most often when Europeans went on their voyages of discovery it meant very bad things for a very long time for those who were “discovered”.

I have found it to be challenging – ethically, politically, culturally – to be a privileged, white, American male traveling and working in parts of the world where people are disadvantaged by the very same dyamnics of global-historical political economy that have produced the privilege I inherited but did not earn.

One of the reasons I think it so important for our students to live and learn in and from other cultures is the awareness of positionality that can – but does not always – come as a result of being seen as others see you.

I would love to read reflections on positionality and the complexities of global postcoloniality as you make your way through India. 

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