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WSTB05 Abstract assignment 1

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Read the attachment “WSTB05 Abstract assignment instructions”for instructions and detail description. Also, “Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 2008 (1999). “Colonizing Knowledges.”.

WSTB05 Abstract assignment

Choose an article to write up and submit in abstract form. You are also encouraged to adopt the process of writing abstracts
These abstracts should be 1—2 pages total (typed and double-spaced), regardless of the length of the reading. However, only the first 1—2 paragraphs will a conventional abstract; the rest will be critical reflection. For the abstract portion, you should summarize the major points of the reading, and then provide your own critical analysis of the article’s major points or claims. Note that being critical does not require you to be negative about the author or article, but is about taking a questioning stance.
For the abstract portion, you will be assessed on?• how well you pull out the main ideas of each reading, • how clearly you present each idea in your writing
Critical analysismight include some of the following:?• your thoughts on possible applications of the article;?• questions you have about the author’s/authors’ chosen approach to their topic; • connections you see to other course materials;?• gaps between what the author(s) set out to do and what the article delivers;?• oversights in the author’s/authors’ analysis;?• possible other directions for the author’s/authors’ ideas.
Please include specific citations in your abstracts, though for course readings, you only need to provide the author’s/authors’ last names and page number in brackets. Though it is not necessary to draw on non-course materials for this assignment, if you do mention other articles, provide complete reference information. No cover page is required, but please put your name and student number, as well as the name of the author(s) and article you are abstracting, at the top of the page.

F a i r D e a l i n g ( S h o r t E x c e r p t )
Title: Colonizing Knowledges
Author: Smith, Linda Tuhiwai, 1950
Course: Approches to Research in WGS
Course Code: LEC01 Term:
Department: WST
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Colonizing Knowledges
We have a history ofpeople putting Maori under a microscope in the same way a
scientist looks at an insect. The ones doing the looking are giving themselves the power
to define.
Merata Mita1
In the previous chapter the metaphor of an archive was used to convey
the sense by which the West drew upon a vast history of itself and
multiple traditions of knowledge which incorporate cultural views of
reality, of time and space. This chapter argues that the form of
imperialism which indigenous peoples are confronting now emerged
from that period of European history known as the Enlightenment. The
Enlightenment provided the spirit, the impetus, the confidence, and the
political and economic structures that facilitated the search for new
knowledges. The project of the Enlightenment is often referred to as
‘modernity’ and it is that project which is claimed to have provided the
stimulus for the industrial revolution, the philosophy of liberalism, the
development of disciplines in the sciences and the development of
public education. Imperialism underpinned and was critical to these
developments. Whilst imperialism is often thought of as a system which
drew everything back into the centre, it was also a system which
distributed materials and ideas outwards. Said’s notion of ‘positional
superiority’ is useful here for conceptualizing the ways in which know
ledge and culture were as muchpart of imperialism as raw materials and
military strength. Knowledge was also there to be discovered, extracted,
appropriated and distributed. Processes for enabling these things to
occur became organized and systematic. They not only informed the
field of study referred to by Said as ‘Orientalism’ but other disciplines
of knowledge and ‘regimes of truth’. It is through these disciplines that
the indigenous world has been presented to the West and it is through
these disciplines that indigenous peoples often research for the fragments
of ourselves which were taken, catalogued, studied and stored. It is not
the intention of this chapter to tell the history of Western knowledge
but rather to draw that history down into the colonized world, show the
relationship between knowledge, research and imperialism, and then
discuss the ways in which it has come to structure our own ways of
knowing, through the development of academic disciplines and through
the education of colonial elites and indigenous or ‘native’ intellectuals.
Western knowledge and science are ‘beneficiaries’ of the colonization of
indigenous peoples. The knowledge gained through our colonization has
been used, in turn, to colonize us in what Ngugi wa Thiong’o calls the
colonization ‘of the mind’.2
Establishing the Positional Superiority of Western Knowledge
The project of modernity signalled the end of feudalism and absolutist
authority, legitimated by divine rule, and announced the beginning of
the modern state. The new state formation had to meet the requirements
of an expanding economybased on major improvements in production.
The industrial revolution changed and made new demands upon the
individual and the political system. The modern state was wrested from
the old regime of absolutist monarchs by the articulation of liberal
political and economic theories.3 Asa system of ideas, liberalism focuses
on the individual, who has the capacity to reason, on a society which
promotes individual autonomy and self-interest, and on a state which
has a rational rule of law which regulates a public sphere of life, but
which allows individuals to pursue their economic self-interest. Once it
was accepted that humans had the capacity to reason and to attain this
potential through education, through a systematic form of organizing
knowledge, then it became possible to debate these ideas in rational and
‘scientific’ ways.
The development of scientific thought, the exploration and
‘discovery’ by Europeans of other worlds, the expansion of trade, the
establishment of colonies, and the systematic colonization of indigenous
peoples in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are all facets of the
modernist project. Modernism is more than a re-presentation of
fragments from the cultural archive in new contexts. ‘Discoveries’ about
and from the ‘new’ world expanded and challenged ideas the West held
about itself4 The production of knowledge, new knowledge and
transformed ‘old’ knowledge, ideas about the nature of knowledge and
the validity of specific forms of knowledge, became as much
commodities of colonial exploitation as other natural resources.5
Indigenous peoples were classified alongside the flora and fauna;
hierarchical typologies of humanity and systems of representation were
fuelled by new discoveries; and cultural maps were charted and
territories claimed and contested by the major European powers. Hence
some indigenous peoples were ranked above others in terms of such
things as the belief that they were ‘nearly human’, ‘almost human’ or
‘sub-human’. This often depended on whether it was thought that the
peoples concerned possessed a ‘soul’ and could therefore be ‘offered’
salvation and whether or not they were educable and could be offered
schooling. These systems for organizing, classifying and storing new
knowledge, and for theorizing the meanings of such discoveries,
constituted research. In a colonial context, however, this research was
undeniably also about power and domination. The instruments or
technologies of research were also instruments of knowledge and
instruments for legitimating various colonial practices.
The imaginary line between ‘east’ and ‘west’, drawn in 1493 by a Papal
Bull, allowed for the political division of the world and the struggle by
competing Western states to establish what Said has referred to as a
‘flexible positional superiority’ over the known, and yet to become
known, world.6 This positional superioritywas contested at severallevels
by European powers. These imaginary boundaries were drawn again in
Berlin in 1934 when European powers sat around the table once more
to carve up Africa and other parts of ‘their’ empires. They continue to
be redrawn. Imperialism and colonialism are the specific formations
through which the West came to ‘see’, to ‘name’ and to ‘know’
indigenous communities. The cultural archive with its systems of
representation, codes for unlocking systems of classification, and
fragmented artefacts of knowledge enabled travellers and observers to
make sense of what thev saw and to represent their new-found
knowledge back to the West through the authorship and authority of
their representations.
Whilst colonialism at an economic level, including its ultimate
expression through slavery, opened up new materials for exploitation
and new markets for trade, at a cultural level, ideas, images and
experiences about the Other helped to shape and delineate the essential
differences between Europe and the rest. Notions about the Other,
which already existed in the European imagination, were recast within
the framework of Enlightenment philosophies, the industrial revolution
and the scientific ‘discoveries’ of the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries. When discussing the scientific foundations of Western
research, the indigenous contribution to these foundations is rarely
mentioned. To have acknowledged their contribution would, in terms
of the rules of research practice, be as legitimate as acknowledging the
contribution of a variety of plant, a shard of pottery or a ‘preserved head
of a native’ to research. Furthermore, according to Bazin, ‘Europeans
could not even imagine that other people could ever have done things
before or better than themselves’.7 The objects of research do not have
a voice and do not contribute to research or science. In fact, the logic
of the argument would suggest that it is simply impossible, ridiculous
even, to suggest that the object of research can contribute to anything.
An object has no life force, no humanity, no spirit of its own, so there
fore ‘it’ cannot make an active contribution. This perspective is not
deliberately insensitive; it is simply that the rules did not allow such a
thought to enter the scene. Thus, indigenous Asian, American, Pacific
and African forms of knowledge, systems of classification, technologies
and codes of social life, which began to be recorded in some detail by
the seventeenth century, were regarded as ‘new discoveries’ by Western
science.8 These discoveries were commodified as property belonging to
the cultural archive and body of knowledge ot the West.9
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries also constituted an era of
highly competitive ‘collecting’. Many indigenous people might call this
‘stealing’ rather than ‘collecting’. This included the collecting of terri
tories, of new species of flora and fauna, of mineral resources and of
cultures. James Clifford, for example, refers to ethnography as a science
which was
fa] form of culture collecting … |which] highlights the ways that diverse
experiences and facts are selected, gathered, detached from their original
temporal occasions, and given enduring value in a new arrangement.
Collecting – at least in the West, where time is generally thought to be
linear and irreversible – implies a rescue of phenomena from inevitable
historical decay or loss.”1
The idea that collectors were actually rescuing artefacts from decay and
destruction, and from indigenous peoples themselves, legitimated
practices which also included commercial trade and plain and simple
theft. Clearly, in terms of trade indigenous peoples were often active
participants, in some cases delivering ‘made to order’ goods. The
different agendas and rivalries of indigenous groups were also known to
have been incorporated into the commercial activities of Europeans.
Hence, muskets could be traded and then used to pursue traditional
enemies or one group of people could be used to capture and assist in
the enslavement of another group who were also their traditional rivals.
Indigenous property is still said to be housed in ‘collections’, which in
turn are housed either in museums or private galleries, and art and
artefacts are often grouped and classified in the name of their ‘collector’.
These collections have become the focus of indigenous peoples’
attempts to reclaim ancestral remains and other cultural items (known
in the West as ‘artefacts’) belonging to their people.
It is important to remember, however, that colonialism was not just
about collection. It was also about re-arrangement, re-presentation and
re-distribution. For example, plant species were taken by Joseph Banks
for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Here they could be ‘grown,
studied, and disbursed to the colonial stations, a centre of plant transfers
on the scientific level, and of the generation and publication of know
ledge about plants’.11 The British Empire became a global laboratory for
research and development. New species of plants and animals were
introduced to the colonies to facilitate development and to ‘strengthen’
indigenous species. This point is worth remembering as it contrasts with
the view, sometimes referred to as a diffusionist explanation, that
knowledge, people, flora and fauna simply disbursed themselves around
the world. This botanical colonization had already been successfully
carried out in other places: for example, maize, sweet potatoes, and
tobacco from South America had been widely distributed. In the centre
of this collection and distribution network was the imperial ‘home’
country. The colonies were peripheral satellites which gained access to
these new knowledges and technologies through ‘recourse to the
writings of authors in the centre’.12 One effect of this system of
redistribution was the interference caused by new species to the
ecologies of their new environments and the eventual extinction of
several species of bird and animal life.13 In the case of New Zealand,
Cherryl Smith argues that, ecologically, the indigenous world was
colonized by weeds.14
Among the other significant consequences of ecological imperialism
—carried by humans, as well as by plants and animals —were the viral
and bacterial diseases which devastated indigenous populations. This
devastation or genocide was, in the accounts of many indigenous
peoples, used deliberately as a weapon of war. Stories are told in Canada,
for example, of blankets used by smallpox victims being sent into First
Nation communities while the soldiers and settlers camped outside
waiting for the people to die. There were several ideologies which
legitimated the Western impact on indigenous health and well-being.
These supported racial views already in place but which in the later
nineteenth century became increasingly legitimated by the ‘scientific’
views of social Darwinism. The concept of the ‘survival of the fittest’,
used to explain the evolution of species in the natural world, was applied
enthusiastically to the human world. It became a very powerful belief
that indigenous peoples were inherently weak and therefore, at some
point, would die out. There were debates about how this could be
prevented, for example, through miscegenation and cultural assimilation,
and whether this, in fact, was ‘desirable’. Judgements on these issues
circled back or depended upon prior considerations as to whether the
indigenous group concerned had souls, could be saved, and also could
be redeemed culturally. Influential debates on these matters by Catholic
scholars such as Bartolome de Las Casas took place during the sixteenth
century. In nineteenth-century New Zealand someof the debates delved
rightdown into the supposed fecundity rates of indigenous women and
the better prospects for racial survival if miscegenation occurred. There
were very serious scientific views put forward to account for the demise
of the indigenous populations. Some views included: sterility caused by
the ‘licentiousness’ of the women, a vegetable diet, infanticide and
abortion. Other causes were put down to a sense of ‘hopelessness’ and
lack of spirit, which came about through contact with ‘civilization’.15
But there were also state policies (federal, provincial and local) of
‘benign neglect’ which involved minimal intervention (the ‘infected
blanket’ strategy) while people suffered and died. There were also more
proactive policies based around such ideas as ‘Manifest Destiny’ which
sanctioned the taking of indigenous lands by any means.16 Ward
Churchill and other indigenous writers classify these actions as part of
the Columbian legacy of genocide.17 In relation to the diseases and dis
ease which the West is said to have introduced to indigenous peoples,
the bigger question has always been the extent to which the impact of
disease is an inevitable consequence of contactwith the West. The signifi
cance of the issues which this question raises emerges when we examine,
in a later chapter, the world-wide search currently being undertaken
amongst indigenous populations for genetic solutions to Western dis
eases. Aborigine activist Bobbi Sykes has an ‘acid test’ for the Western
impact on indigenous health which consists of two lists: one a list of
diseases introduced by Europeans to Aboriginal people, the other a list of
diseases introduced by Aboriginal people to Europeans. There are no
itemslisted on the secondlist. That emptyspace tells a very potent story.18
The globalization of knowledge and Western culture constantly
reaffirms the West’s view of itself as the centre of legitimate knowledge,
the arbiter of what counts as knowledge and the source of ‘civilized’
knowledge. This form of global knowledge is generally referred to as
‘universal’ knowledge, available to all and not really ‘owned’ by anyone,
that is, until non-Western scholars make claims to it. When claims like
that are made history is revised (again) so that the story of civilization
remains the story of the West. For this purpose, the Mediterranean
world, the basin of Arabic culture and the lands east of Constantinople
are conveniently appropriated as part of the story of Western civilization,
Western philosophy and Western knowledge.1” Through imperialism,
however, these cultures, peoples and their nation states were re
positioned as ‘oriental’, or ‘outsider’ in order to legitimate the imposition
of colonial rule. For indigenous peoples from other places, the real
lesson to be learned is that we have no claim whatsoever to civilization.
It is something which has been introduced from the West, by the West,
to indigenous peoples, for our benefit and for which we should be duly
The nexus between cultural ways of knowing, scientific discoveries,
economic impulses and imperial power enabled the West to make
ideological claims to having a superior civilization. The ‘idea’ of the West
became a reality when it was re-presented back to indigenous nations
through colonialism. By the nineteenth century colonialism not only
meant the imposition of Western authority over indigenous lands,
indigenous modes of production and indigenous law and government,
but the imposition of Western authority over all aspects of indigenous
knowledges, languages and cultures. This authority incorporated what
Said refers to as alliances between the ideologies, ‘cliches’, general beliefs
and understandings held about the Orient and the views of ‘science’ and
philosophical theories.2″
For many indigenous peoples the major agency for imposing this
positional superiority over knowledge, language and culture was colonial
education. Colonial education came in two basic forms: missionary or
religious schooling (which was often residential) followed later by public
and secular schooling. Numerous accounts across nations now attest to
the critical role played by schools in assimilating colonized peoples, and
in the systematic, frequently brutal, forms of denial of indigenous
languages, knowledges and cultures. Not all groups of indigenous
peoples, however, were permitted to attend school —some groups being
already defined in some way as ‘ineducable’ or just plain troublesome
and delinquent. Furthermore, in many examples the indigenous language
was used as the medium of instruction and access to the colonizing
language was denied specifically. This policy was designed to deny
opportunities to participate as citizens.
Colonial education was also used as a mechanism for creating new
indigenous elites. It was not the only mechanism for producing elite
groups, as the traditional hierarchies within an indigenous society who
converted to the colonial ideology also formed part of the elite group.
Schooling helped identify talented students who were then groomed for
more advanced education. Many of these students were sent away to
boarding schools while others were sent to the metropolitan centre in
Europe for their university studies. In these settings, and through their
learning, students acquired the tastes, and sampled some of the benefits
and privileges, of living within the metropolitan culture. Their elite status
came about through the alignment of their cultural and economic
interests with those of the colonizing group rather than with those of
their own society.
School knowledge systems however, were informed by a much more
comprehensive system of knowledge which linked universities, scholarly
societies and imperial views of culture. Hierarchies of knowledge and
theories which had rapidly developed to account for the discoveries of
the newworldwerelegitimated at the centre. Schools simply reproduced
domesticated versions of that knowledge for uncritical consumption.
Although colonial universities saw themselves as being part of an
international community and inheritors of a legacy of Western know
ledge, theywere also part of the historical processes of imperialism. They
were established as an essential part of the colonizing process, a bastion
of civilization and a sign that a colony and its settlers had ‘grown up’.
Attempts to ‘indigenize’ colonial academic institutions and/or individual
disciplines within them have been fraught with major struggles over
what counts as knowledge, as language, as literature, as curriculum and
as the role of intellectuals, and over the critical function of the concept
of academic freedom.21
Colonizing the Disciplines
Academic knowledges are organized around the idea of disciplines and
fields of knowledge. Theseare deeply implicated in eachother and share
genealogical foundations in various classical and Enlightenment philoso
phies. Most of the ‘traditional’ disciplines are grounded in cultural world
views which are either antagonistic to other belief systems or have no
methodology for dealing with other knowledge systems. Underpinning
all of what is taught at universities is the beliefin the concept of science
as the all-embracing method for gaining an understanding of the world.
Some of these disciplines, however, are more directly implicated in
colonialism in that either they have derived their methods and under
standings from the colonized world or they have tested their ideas in
the colonies. How the colonized were governed, for example, was
determined by previous experiences in other colonies and by the
prevailing theories about race, gender, climate and other factors
generated by ‘scientific’ methods. Classification systems were developed
specifically to cope with the mass of new knowledge generated by the
discoveries of the ‘new world’. New colonies were the laboratories of
Western science. Theories generated from the exploration and exploita
tion of colonies, and of the people who had prior ownership of these
lands, formed the totalizing appropriation of the Other.
Robert Young argues that Hegel
articulates a philosophical structure of the appropriation of the other as
a form of knowledge which uncannily simulates the project of nineteenth
century imperialism; the construction of knowledges which all operate
through forms of expropriation and incorporation of the other mimics at
a conceptual level the geographical and economic absorption of the non-
European world by the West.22
David Goldberg claims that notions of the Other are more deeply
embedded in classical philosophy but became racialized within the
framework of liberalism and the ideas about people and society which
developed as disciplines through liberalism.23 In an interesting discussion
on the discourses which employ the word ‘civilization’, John Laffey
suggests that the word ‘civilization’ entered Anglo-French usage in the
second part of the eighteenth century, enabling the distinction to be
drawn between those who saw themselves as civilized and those who
they then regarded as the ‘savages’ abroad and at home.24 As a standard
of judgement, according to Laffey, the word ‘civilized’ became more
defined with the help of Freud and more specialized in the way different
disciplines employed the concept. One such use was comparative and
allowed for comparisons between children and savages or children and
women, for example. This way of thinking was elaborated further into
psychological justifications for the distinctions between the civilized and
the uncivilized. Freud’s influence on the way disciplines developed in
relation to colonialism is further explored by Marianna Torgovnick, who
examines the links between Freud and anthropology in her analysis of
Malinowski’s book ‘The Sexual Life of Savages’.25 According to
Freud’s explanation of the human psyche in terms of sexuality undergirded
their endeavors and influenced the structure of many ethnographic
enquiries at this stage of the discipline’s development even when those
enquiries suggested (as they often did) modifications of Freudian
paradigms, such as the Oedipus complex.26
Other key intellectuals have also been referred to as not so innocent
philosophers of the truth. Henry Louis Gates Jr names Kant, Bacon,
Hume, Jefferson and Hegel as ‘great intellectual racialists’ who have been
influential in defining the role of literature and its relationship to
humanity, ‘The salient sign of the black person’s humanity … would be
the mastering of the very essence of Western civilization, the very7
foundation of the complex fiction upon which white Western culture
has been constructed….’2″
Of all the disciplines, anthropology is the one most closely associated
with the study of the Other and with the defining of primitivism.28 As
Adam Kuper argued, ‘The anthropologists took this primitive society as
their special subject, but in practice primitive society proved to be their
own society (as they understood it) seen in a distorting mirror.29 The
ethnographic ‘gaze’ of anthropology has collected, classified and
represented other cultures to the extent that anthropologists are often
the academics popularly perceived by the indigenous world as the
epitome of all that it is bad with academics. Haunani Kay Trask accuses
anthropologists of being ‘takers and users’ who ‘exploit the hospitality
and generosity of native people’.3″ Trinh T. Minh-ha makes similar
references to anthropology and anthropologists, including those whose
intent now is to train Third World anthropologists. ‘Gone out of date,’
she says, ‘then revitalised, the mission of civilizing savages mutates into
the imperative of “making equal”.’31 In writing a history of geography,
Livingstone refers to this discipline as the ‘science of imperialism par
excellence’.32 His comment relates to geographical studies into such
things as the mapping of racial difference, the links which were drawn
between climate and mental abilities, the use of map makers in French
colonies for military intelligence and the development of acclimatization
societies.33 As suggested above in the Introduction, history is also
implicated in the construction of totalizing master discourses which
control the Other. The history of the colonies, from the perspective of
the colonizers, has effectively denied other views of what happened and
what the significance of historical ‘facts’ may be to the colonized. ‘If
history is written by the victor,’ arguesJanet Abu-Lughod, ‘then it must,
almost by definition, “deform” the history of the others.’34 Donna
Awatere claims that, ‘The process of recording what happened auto
matically favours the white occupiers because they won. In such a way
a whole past is “created” and then given the authority of truth.’3d These
comments have been echoed wherever indigenous peoples have had the
opportunity to ‘talk back’ to the academic world.
While disciplines are implicated in each other, particularly in their
shared philosophical foundations, they are also insulated from each
other through the maintenance of what are known as disciplinary
boundaries. Basil Bernstein has shown how this works in his paper on
the ‘classification and framing of knowledge’.36 Insulation enables
disciplines to develop independently. Their histories are kept separate
and ‘pure’. Concepts of ‘academic freedom’, the ‘search for truth’ and
‘democracy’ underpin the notion of independence and are vigorously
defended by intellectuals. Insularity protects a discipline from the ‘out
side’, enabling communities of scholars to distance themselves from
others and, in the more extreme forms, to absolve themselves of
responsibility for what occurs in other branches of their discipline, in
the academy and in the world.
In the context of research and at a very pragmatic level researchers
from different projects and different research teams can be in and out
of the same community (much in the way many government social
services are in and out of family homes), showing ‘as a collective’ little
responsibility for the overall impact of their activities. At other levels
criticism of individual researchers and their projects is deflected by the
argument that those researchers are different in some really significant
‘scientific’ way from others. How indigenous communities are supposed
to work this out is a mystery. There are formal organizations of
disciplines, researchers and communities of scholars, many of which
have ethical guidelines. These organizations are based on the idea that
scholars consent to participate within them as scholars, as professionals,
or as ethical human beings. Not all who carry out research in indigenous
communities belong to, or are bound by, such collegial self-discipline.
Disciplining the Colonized
The concept of discipline is even more interesting when we think about
it not simply as a way of organizing systems of knowledge but also as
a way of organizing people or bodies. Foucault has argued that discipline
in the eighteenth century became ‘formulas of domination’ which were
at work in schools, hospitals and military organizations.3″ Techniques of
detail were developed to maintain discipline over the body. The
colonizing of the Other through discipline has a number of different
meanings. In terms of the way knowledge was used to discipline the
colonized it worked in a variety of ways. The most obvious forms of
discipline were through exclusion, marginalization and denial. Indigenous
ways of knowing were excluded and marginalized. This happened to
indigenous views about land, for example, through the forced imposition
of individualized title, through taking land away for ‘acts of rebellion’,
and through redefining land as ‘waste land’ or ’empty land’ and then
taking it away. Foucault suggests that one waydiscipline was distributed
was through enclosure. This is the other side of exclusion in that the
margins are enclosures: reserved lands are enclosures, schools enclose,
but in order to enclose they also exclude, there is something on the
outside. Discipline is also partitioned, individuals separated and space
compartmentalized. This allowed for efficient supervision and for
simultaneous distinctions to be made between individuals. This form of
discipline worked at the curriculum level, for example, as a mechanism
for selecting out ‘native’ children and girls for domestic and manual
work. It worked also at the assessment level, with normative tests
designed around the language and cultural capital of the white middle
The deepest memory of discipline, however, is of the sheer brutality
meted out to generations of indigenous communities. Aborigine parents
in Australia had their children forcibly removed, sent away beyond reach
and ‘adopted’.38 Native children in Canada were sent to residential
schools at an age designed to systematically destroy their language and
memories of home. There is a growing body of testimony from First
Nations people in Canada which tells of years of abuse, neglect and
viciousness meted out to young children by teachers and staff in schools
run by various religious denominations.39 These forms of discipline were
supported by paternalistic and racist policies and legislation; they were
accepted by white communities as necessary conditions which had to be
met if indigenouspeople wanted to become citizens (of their own lands).
These forms of discipline affected people physically, emotionally,
linguistically and culturally. They were designed to destroy every last
remnant of alternative ways of knowing and living, to obliterate
collective identities and memories and to impose a new order. Even after
the Second World War, when the post-colonial period was beginning
according to some cultural studies theorists, many indigenous peoples
around the world were still not recognized as humans, let alone citizens.
The effect of such discipline was to silence (for ever in some cases) or
to suppress the ways of knowing, and the languages for knowing, of
many different indigenous peoples. Reclaiming a voice in this context
has also been about reclaiming, reconnecting and reordering those ways
of knowing which were submerged, hidden or driven underground.
Colonialism and ‘Native’ Intellectuals
The position within their own societies of ‘native’ intellectuals who have
been trained in the West has been regarded by those involved in
nationalist movements as very’ problematic. Much of the discussion
about intellectuals in social and cultural life, and their participation in
anti-colonial struggles, is heavily influenced by Marxist revolutionary’
thought, is framed in the language of oppositional discourse, and was
written during the post-war period when struggles for independence
wereunder way.40 Included within the rubric of ‘intellectual’ by liberation
writers such as Frantz Fanon are also artists, writers, poets, teachers,
clerks, officials, the petit bourgeoisie and other professionals engaged in
producing ‘culture’. Theirimportance in nationalist movements is related
to their abilities to reclaim, rehabilitate and articulate indigenous cultures,
and to their implicit leadership over ‘the people’ as voices which can
legitimate a new nationalist consciousness.
At the same time, however, these same producers and legitimators of
culture are the group most closely aligned to the colonizers in terms of
their class interests, their values and their ways of thinking. This view
was restated in 1984 by Donna Awatere who wrote that ‘[Colonial
Maori] … are noticeable because they have succeeded as white in some
section of white culture; economically, through the arts, at sport,
through religion, the universities, the professions.’41 There were con
cerns that native intellectuals may have become estranged from their
own cultural values to the point of being embarrassed by, and hostile
towards, all that those values represented. In his introduction to
Cesaire’s Return to My Native I^and Mazisi Kunene wrote that, ‘those
[students] who returned despised and felt ashamed of their semi-literate
or illiterate parents who spoke inelegant patois’.42 In New Zealand the
few Maori who were trained at universities in the last part of the
nineteenth century are generally viewed positively as individuals who
retained a love for their culture and language and who were committed
in the context of the times to the survival of indigenous people. What
is problematic is that this group of men have been named by the
dominant non-indigenous population as individuals who represent ‘real’
leadership. They have been idealized as the ‘saviours of the people’ and
their example remains as a ‘measure’ of real leadership.
As Fanon has argued, the problem of creating and legitimating a
national culture ‘represents a special battlefield’43 and intellectuals are
important to this battle in a number of different ways. In recognizing
that intellectuals were trained and enculturated in the West, Fanon
identifies three levels through which ‘native’ intellectuals can progress in
their journey ‘back over the line’.44 First there is a phase of proving that
intellectuals have been assimilated into the culture of the occupying
power. Second comes a period of disturbance and the need for the
intellectuals to remember who they actually are, a time for remembering
the past. In the third phase the intellectuals seek to awaken the people,
to realign themselves with the people and to produce a revolutionary
and national literature.45 In this phase the ‘native writer progressively
takes on the habit of addressing his [sic] own people’.46
Fanon was writing about Algeria and the structure of French
colonialism in Africa. He himself was trained in France as a psychiatrist
and was influenced by European philosophies. One of the problems of
connecting colonialism in New Zealand with its formations elsewhere is
that New Zealand, like Canada and Australia, was already privileged as
a white dominion within the British Empire and Commonwealth, with
the indigenous populations being minorities. Whilst geographically on
the margins of Europe, they were economically and culturally closely
attached to Britain. Within these states the indigenous people were
absolute minorities. The settlers who came arrived as permanent
migrants. For indigenous peoples in these places this meant a different
kind of experience with colonialism and different possibilities for
decolonization. What it also points to is that indigenous intellectuals
have emerged from different colonial and indigenous systems. In the
Pacific Islands, for example, scholars come from majority cultures and
independent island nations but they have also been incorporated at a
regional level into the metropolitan cultures of Australia and New
Zealand.47 Hau’ofa argues that ‘the ruling classes of the South Pacific
are increasingly culturally homogeneous. They speak the same language,
which is English; they share the same ideologies and the same material
life styles….’48
Currently the role of the ‘native’ intellectual has been reformulated
not in relation to nationalist or liberationary discourses but in relation
to the ‘post-colonial’ intellectual. Many intellectuals who position
themselves as ‘post-colonial’ move across the boundaries of indigenous
and metropolitan, institution and community, politics and scholarship.
Their place in the academy is still highly problematic. Gayatri Spivak,
who writes as a post-colonial Asian/lndian intellectual working in the
United States, argues that Third World intellectuals have to position
themselves strategically as intellectuals within the academy, within the
Third World or indigenous world, and within the Western world in
which many intellectuals actually work. The problem, she argues, for
Third World intellectuals remains the problem of being taken seriously.
For me, the question ‘Who should speak?’ is less crucial than “Who will
listen?’. ‘I will speak for myself as a Third World person’ is an important
position for political mobilisation today. But the real demand is that,when
I speak from that position, I shouldbe listened to seriously; not with that
kind of benevolent imperialism….49
Spivak acknowledges that the task of changing the academy is difficult:
‘I would say that if one begins to take a whack at shaking the structure
up, one sees how much more consolidated the opposition is.'”‘”
The role of intellectuals, teachers, artists and writers in relation to
indigenous communities is still problematic, and the rhetoric of libera
tion still forms part of indigenous discourses. Indigenous communities
continue to view education in its Western, modern, sense as being
critical to development and self-determination. While criticizing indige
nous people who have been educated at universities, on one hand, many
indigenous communities will struggle and save to send their children to
university on the other. There is a very real ambivalence in indigenous
communities towards the role of Western education and those who have
been educated in universities. This is reflected in many contexts in
struggles over leadership, representation and voice between those
perceived as ‘traditional’ and those seen either as the ‘radicals’ or simply
as having Western credentials. In Australia, the term ‘flash blacks’
encompasses both those who are well educated and those who have
high-flying jobs. In NewZealand one struggle over the value of Western
education was played out in the 1980s through a process of reprivileging
of ‘elders’ and a reification of elders as the holders of all traditional
knowledge and a parallel deprivileging of the younger, frequently much
better educated members (in a Western sense) of an iwi (tribe). Maori
academics who work away from their tribal territories can easily be
criticised because they live awayfrom home, and are perceived therefore
as being distanced from the people. At the same time they are drawn
into tribal life whenever a crisis occurs or there are additional demands
for specialist knowledge and skills. The bottom line, however, is that in
very fundamental ways they still remain members of an iwi with close
relations to families and other community ties.
The ‘Authentic, Essentialist, Deeply Spiritual’ Other
At a recent international conference held in New Zealand to discuss
issues related to indigenous intellectual and cultural property rights, the
local newspapers were informed and invited to interview some of the
delegates. One news reporter thought it would be a good idea to have
a group photograph, suggesting that it would be a very colourful feature
for the newspaper to highlight. When she and the photographer turned
up at the local marae (cultural centre) they were so visibly disappointed
at the motley display of track suits, jeans and other items of ‘modern’
dress, that they chose not to take a photograph. ‘Oh, I forgot to come
as a native’, joked one of the delegates. ‘My feathers got confiscated at
the airport when I arrived.’ ‘I suppose my eyes are too blue.’ ‘Are we
supposed to dress naked?’ As we have seen, the notion of ‘authentic’ is
highly contested when applied to, or by, indigenous peoples.
‘Authorities’ and outside experts are often called in to verify, comment
upon, and give judgements about the validity of indigenous claims to
cultural beliefs, values, ways of knowing and historical accounts. Such
issues are often debated vigorously by the ‘public’, (a category which
usually means the dominant group), leading to an endless parading of
‘nineteenth century’ views of race and racial difference. Questions of
who is a ‘real indigenous’ person, what counts as a ‘real indigenous
leader’, which person displays ‘real cultural values’ and the criteria used
to assess the characteristics of authenticity are frequently the topic of
conversation and political debate. These debates are designed to
fragment and marginalize those who speak for, or in support of,
indigenous issues. They frequently have the effect also of silencing and
making invisible the presence of other groups within the indigenous
society like women, the urban non-status tribal person and those whose
ancestry or ‘blood quantam’ is ‘too white’.51 In Tasmania, where experts
had already determined that Aborigines were ‘extinct’, the voices of
those who still speak as Aboriginal Tasmanians are interpreted as some
political invention of a people who no longer exist and who therefore
no longer have claims.
Recent poststructural and psychoanalytical feminist theorists have
argued against the claims made by earlier generations of feminists that
women as a group were different, because their essence as women was
fundamentally, undeniably different, and that therefore their ‘sisterhood’
would be a natural meeting place for all women. Pedagogically, essentialism
was attacked because of its assumption that, because of this essence,
it was necessary to be a woman and to experience life as a woman before
one could analyse or understand women’s oppression. Third World
women and women of colour also attacked this assumption because it
denied the impact of imperialisms, racism and local histories on women,
who were different from white women who lived in First World nations.
The concept of authentic, which is related to essentialism, was also
deconstructed but more so from psychoanalytic perspectives because the
concept assumed that if we strip away the oppressions and psychological
consequences of oppression we would find a ‘pure’ and authentic ‘self.
One of the major problems with the way words are defined is that these
debates are often held by academics in one context, within a specific
intellectual discourse, and then appropriated by the media and popular
press to serve a more blatant ideological and racist agenda.52 As Trinh
T. Minh-ha put it when writing of anthropologists in particular, ‘But
once more they spoke. They decide who is “racism-free or anti-colonial”,
and they seriously think they can go on formulating criteria for us….’33
In the colonized world, however, these terms are not necessarily
employed in the same way that First World academics may have used
them. The term ‘authentic’, for example, was an oppositional term used
in at least two different ways. First, it was used as a form of articulating
what it meant to be dehumanized by colonization; and, second, for
reorganizing ‘national consciousness’ in the struggles for decolonization.
The belief in an authentic self is framed within humanism but has been
politicized by the colonized world in ways which invoke simultaneous
meanings; it does appeal to an idealized past when there was no
colonizer, to our strengths in surviving thus far, to our language as an
uninterrupted link to our histories, to the ownership of our lands, to our
abilities to create and control our own life and death, to a sense of
balance among ourselves and with the environment, to our authentic
selves as a people. Although this may seem overly idealized, these sym
bolic appeals remain strategically important in political struggles.
Furthermore the imputing of a Western psychological ‘self, which is a
highly individualized notion, to group consciousness as it is centred in
many colonized societies, is not a straightforward translation of the
individual to the group, although this is often the only way that
Westerners can come to understand what may constitute a group. The
purpose of commenting on such a concept is that what counts as
‘authentic’ is used by the West as one of the criteria to determine who
really is indigenous, who is worth saving, who is still innocent and free
from Western contamination. There is a very powerful tendency in
research to take this argument back to a biological ‘essentialism’ related
to race, because the idea of culture is much more difficult to control.
At the heart of such a view of authenticity is a belief that indigenous
cultures cannot change, cannot recreate themselves and still claim to be
indigenous. Nor can they be complicated, internally diverse or contra
dictory. Only the West has that privilege.
The concept of essentialism is also discussed in different ways within
the indigenous world. It is accepted as a term which is related to human
ism and is seen therefore in the same way as the idea of authenticity. In
this use of the word, claiming essential characteristics is as much
strategic as anything else, because it has been about claiming human
rights and indigenous rights. But the essence of a person is also dis
cussed in relation to indigenous concepts of spirituality. In these views,
the essence of a person has a genealogy which can be traced back to an
earth parent, usually glossed as an Earth Mother. A human person does
not stand alone, but shares with other animate and, in the Western sense,
‘inanimate’ beings, a relationship based on a shared ‘essence’ of life. The
significance of place, of land, of landscape, of other things in the
universe, in defining the very essence of a people, makes for a very
different rendering of the term essentialism as used by indigenous
The arguments of different indigenous peoples based on spiritual
relationships to the universe, to the landscape and to stones, rocks,
insects and other things, seen and unseen, have been difficult arguments
for Western systems of knowledge to deal with or accept. These
arguments give a partial indication of the different world views and
alternative ways of coming to know, and of being, which still endure
within the indigenous world. Concepts of spirituality which Christianity’
attempted to destroy, then to appropriate, and then to claim, are critical
sites of resistance for indigenous peoples. The values, attitudes, concepts
and language embedded in beliefs about spirituality represent, in many
cases, the clearest contrast and mark of difference between indigenous
peoples and the West. It is one of the few parts of ourselves which the
West cannot decipher, cannot understand and cannot control … yet.
1 Mita, M. (1989), ‘Merata Mita On…’, in the NewZealand Listener, 14 October, p. 30.
2 Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (1986), Decolonizing the Mind: the Politics ofLanguage inAfrican
Literature, James Currey, London.
3 (aggar, A. (1983), Peminist Politics and Human Nature, Harvester Press, Sussex.
4 Hall, S. (1992), ‘The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power’, Chapter 6 of
Formations of Modernity, eds S. Hall and B. Gielben, Polity Press and Open
University, Cambridge, pp. 276-320.
5 Goonatilake, S. (1982), ‘Colonies: Scientific Expansion (and Contraction)’, in
Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, Winter, pp. 413-36.
6 Said, E. (1978), Orientalism, Vintage Books, New York, p. 7.
7 Bazin, M. (1993), ‘Our Sciences, Their Science’, in Race and Class, Vol. 34, No. 2,
pp. 35-6.
8 Goonatilake, ‘Colonies’.
9 Adas, M. (1989), Machines as the Measure ofMan. Science, Technology and Ideologies of
Western Dominance, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
10 Clifford, J. (1988), The Predicament ofCulture, Twentieth Century Ethnography, Literature,
and Art, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, p. 231. See also on the topic of
collection, Ames, M. (1986), Museums, The Public and Anthropology, University of
Columbia Press, London.
11 Brockway, L. H. (1979), Science and Colonial Expansion. The Role ofthe British Royal
Botanical Gardens, Academic Press, New York, p. 187.
12 Goonatilake, ‘Colonies’, p. 432.
13 Crosby, A. W. (1986), ‘Biotic Change in Nineteenth Century New Zealand’, in
Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, Winter, pp. 325-37.
14 Smith, C. W. (1994), ‘Kimihia te Matauranga, Colonization and Iwi Development’,
MA thesis, University of Auckland, p. 23.
15 Pool, D. L. (WIT), The Maori Population of New Zealand 1769-1971, Auckland
University Press and Oxford University Press, Auckland, pp. 75-105.
16 Churchill, W. (1994), Indians Are Us? Culture and Genocide in Native North America,
Common Courage Press, Maine.
17 Ibid., pp. 28-42/
18 Sykes, R. B. (1989), Black Majority, Hudson Hawthorn, Victoria, p. 185.
19 Bernal,M. (1991), Black. Athena, The Afroasiatic Roots ofClassical Civilisation, Vintage,
20 Said, E. Orientalism, pp. 205-6.
21 See, for examples of these debates in relation to indigenous issues, Ngugi wa
Thiong’o (1986), Decolonizing the Mind. The Politics oflanguage in African Literature,
James Currev, London, and Haunani Kay Trask (1993), From a Native Daughter,
Common Courage Press, Maine.
22 Young, R. (1990), White Mythologies, Writing, History and the West, Routlcdge,
London, p. 3.
23 Goldberg, D. T. (1993), Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics ofMeaning, Blackwell,
24 Laffey, J. F. (1993), Civilisation and its Discontented, Black Rose Books, New York.
25 Torgovnick, M. (1990), Cone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives, University of
Chicago Press, Chicago.
26 Ibid., p. 7.
27 Gates, H. L. (1994), ‘Authority (White) Power and the (Black) Critic: It’s All
Greek to Me’, in Culture/Power/History, eds N. Dirks, G. Eley and S. B. Ortner,
Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
28 Stocking, G. Jr (1987), Wictorian Anthropology, The Free Press, London.
29 Kuper, A. (1988), ‘The Invention of Primitive Society, Routledge, London, p. 5.
30 Trask, H. K. (1993), Trom a Native Daughter, Common Courage Press, Maine.
31 Minh-ha, Trinh T. (1989), Woman, Native, Other, Indiana University Press,
Bloomington, p. 59.
32 Livingstone, D. (1992), The Geographical Tradition, Blackwell, Oxford.
33 Ibid., p. 216.
34 Abu-Lughod, J. (1989), ‘On the Remaking of History: How to Reinvent the Past’,
in Remaking History, Dia Art Foundation, Bay Press, Seattle, p. 118.
35 Awatere, D. (1983), ‘Awatere on Intellectuals: Academic Fragmentation or
Visionary Unity’, article in Craccum, Auckland University Students’ Association, 3
May, Auckland, pp. 6-7.
36 Bernstein, B. (1971), ‘On the Classification and Framing of Knowledge’ in
Knowledge and Control: NewDirections for the Sociology ofEducation, ed. M. F. D. Young,
Collier Macmillan, London, pp. 47-69.
37 Foucault, M. (1977), Discipline andPunish: The Birth ofthe Prison, trans. A. Sheridan,
Penguin, London, p. 137.
38 This practice is known popularly as the ‘stolen childfen’ policy but an official
inquiry was conducted by the Australian government called ‘A National Inquiry
into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their
Families’. This was completed in 1997.
39.A government commission to investigate the abuses in the residential school
system for Indian children was recently completed by the Canadian government.
For further background read Furness, E. (1995), \’ictims of Benevolence: The Dark
Legay ofthe Williams Lake Residential School, Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver; Haig-
Brown, C. (1988), Resistance and Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School,
Tillacum Library, Vancouver in L. Taine, ed. (1993), Residential Schools: the Stolen
Years, University of Saskatechewan Press, Saskatson.
40 Gramsci’s views on the intellectual have been influential, among other Marxist
views. So too have the existentialist views of Jean Paul Sartre who wrote the
introduction to Fanon’s book, ‘The Wretched of the Earth. A critique of these
influences on Fanon, in particular, can be read in Young, White Mythologies.
41 Awatere, D. (1984), Maori Sovereignty, Broadsheet, Auckland, p. 83.
42 Cesaire, A. (1969), Return to My Native Land, translated by |ohn Berger and Ana
Bostock, introduction bv Mazisi Kunene, PenguinBooks, Harmondsworth, p. 24.
43 Fanon, F. (1990), The Wretched ofthe Earth, Penguin, London, p. 193.
44 Ibid., pp. 178-9.
45 Ibid., p. 179.
46 Ibid., p. 193.
47 Hau’ofa, E. (1987), ‘The New South Pacific Society: Integration and
Independence’, in Class and Culture in the South Pacific, eds A. Hooper, S. Britton,
R. Crocombe, J. Fluntsman and C. Macpherson, Centre for Pacific Studies, Uni
versity of Auckland, Institute for Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific,
pp. 1-15.
48 Ibid., p. 3.
49 Spivak, G. (1990), ‘Questions of Multiculturalism’, in The Post-Colonial Critic:
Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues, ed. S. Harasayam, Routledge, New York, pp. 59-60.
50 Spivak, G. (1990), ‘Criticism, Feminism and the Institution’, in ‘The Post-Colonial
Critic, p. 6.
51 ‘Blood quantum’ refers to the ‘amount’ of native blood one has and is used in
places such as Flawai’i to determine eligibility access to Hawai’ian lands and
identity. It is based on racial beliefs that the more indigenous peoples inter
married the more assimilated or ‘watered down’ they became. Conversely if they
did not inter-mam’ thev remained ‘pure’.
52 Similar debates occur over a word such as ‘invention’, where anthropologists may
talk to each other about the invention of culture; the media can then accuse
indigenous people of inventing culture to serve their own interests at the expense
of the dominant group. This occurred in New Zealand over an article written by A.
Hanson (1991), ‘The Making of the Maori: Culture Invention and its Logic’, in
.American .Anthropologist, pp. 890—902. One of the larger dailv newspapers took the
article and turned it into the following headline: ‘LIS EXPERT SAYS MAORI
CULTURE INVENTED’, Dominion, Saturday 24 February.
53 Minh-ha, Trin T., Woman, Native, Other, p. 59.

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