The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines the word colonialism as a practice, as a manner of doing things (OED Online, “colonialism,” n.d.). The word as such emerged in the mid to late nineteenth century in England. However, foreshortened versions such as colony and colonial have been extant and in use for far longer. “Colony” ostensibly comes from the Latin col_ō_nia, transported into Old English in the fourteenth century via the French colonie, or “tiller,” “farmer,” “cultivator,” “planter,” “settler in a new place.” But it has resonances in other European languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, and Dutch, each constituency shipping in its own, sometimes mottled, history of colonialism. Etymologies often trace the spoor of ideologies. So also with these connotations. They conveyed what was implicated by colonialism, their seeming innocuousness papering over the routes through which settler colonialism found its technologies of occupation, as we will go on to see.

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