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 …

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