The word postcolonial refers to (1) a period or state following (i.e., “post”) colonialism and (2) the effects of colonization on cultures, peoples, places, and textuality. The terms most often associated with postcolonial are imperialism, denoting the formation of an empire, and colonialism, which refers to the establishment and control of colonies by an imperial power. The first usage of postcolonial (or post-colonial) identified in the OED occurs in 1883 in the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, where it is defined as “occurring or existing after the end of colonial rule.” This association of the word with the practice of periodization is sustained well into the twentieth century; for instance, the OED cites this quotation from Gavin Black’s The Golden Cockatrice in 1975: “If there’s one thing worse than rampant colonialism… it’s post-colonial dictatorship.” By the late 1970s, literary critics used postcolonial to refer to the effects of colonization and to reading strategies capable of interrogating the (often naturalized) manifestations of colonial discourse in texts of all kinds and times. Although Edward Said did not use the term postcolonial in Orientalism (1978), his characterization of Orientalism as the discourse that constructed the Orient for Europeans afforded a model for the analysis...

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