From postcolonialism to queer theory, giving a glimpse to the movements that led to it.

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Ilse Janet Figueroa Espinosa

From postcolonialism to Queer Theory, giving a glimpse to the movements that led to it.

First of all, I have to explain that I chose this topic, not just because I´m very familiarized with many things that have to do with gay people, but also because my presentation about postcolonialism made me get interested in all the movements derived from postcolonialstudies, especially in feminism. When I read more about feminism I found the term queer theory and that is why it seemed like it was an interesting topic to choose for this short essay since it is something that caught my attention when I first knew about it.
First of all I will start by explaining the movements related, beginning with a definition based on Nair Anaya’s essay Tramas y trampas delposcolonialismo:
Postcolonial studies are the set of discursive (literary, theoretical and critic) practices and cultural strategies that respond to the phenomenon of the European imperialism culminated in the 19th century and the independent process which from 1947 led to the dissolution of the great colonial empires.
According to the reading I can say the phenomenon of imperialism led to theanalysis of many matters such as slavery, migration, resistance and gender that is why feminism is very connected to postcolonialism. The purpose of this essay is to give a look to this connection between postcolonialism, feminism and Queer theory.
Feminism can be described as an ideology and a set of political, social and a literary movement that is divided in three waves:
First wave
The firstwave refers to the feminist movement developed in England and the United States in the 19th century, originally focused in the search of equal opportunities for women, the first wave continued to influence feminism in both Western and Eastern societies throughout the 20th century.
Second wave
The second wave is the period of feminism activity started in the 60’s that last until the end of 70’swhen other “oppressed” groups such as Blacks and homosexuals were being defined and the new left was on the rise. Second-wave feminism is closely linked to the radical voices of women’s empowerment and differential rights and, during the 80’ s to 90’s, also to a crucial differentiation of second-wave feminism itself, initiated by women of color and third-world women.
The third wave
This startedin the 90’s and still remains that arose from the fails of the last wave. It is also the awareness about the variety of women, there is not just one model of women determined by religion, social matters or nationalities.
Now we have some definitions about feminism and postcolonial studies, let´s begin with some authors that analyzed the cultural consequences of colonization and gave publicrecognition to postcolonial theory.
Edward Said with his book Orientalism caused a lot of controversy since in that book he questioned the values of West, he also questioned the mechanisms in which it based its power. He achieved postcolonial discourse was recognized as a subject of study.
Homi K. Bhabha considers that postmodernism leave aside the problematic of the non west world. He does not acceptthe notion of multiculturalism and cultural relativism.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak offers a radical vision of the phenomenon of imperialism. She got interested in the education in colonized countries and focuses a big part of her attention to the study of the different manifestations of marginalized subjects, especially women. With her book Can the subaltern Speak? Spivak gives voice to the“other”. To her any kind of extended categorization loses specificity and the presence of the “subalterns”. That is what leads her to concentrate in marginalized women in India.
As we can see, postcolonialism and feminism are closely linked, the first one led to the second one, the same way feminism led to Queer Theory, but what is Queer Theory?
Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea...