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1 Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie - Master of Arts Thesis - Euroculture 2009/2010 The image of Europe in postcolonial Pune. The Indian academic perspective on Europe. Postcoloniality, Postcolonialism and Hybridity. Submitted by: Giacomo Orsini s Supervised by: dr. M.C. Margriet van der Waal dr. Marcin Galent Place, date Signature

2 I, Giacomo Orsini hereby declare that this thesis, entitled The image of Europe in postcolonial Pune. The Indian academic perspective on Europe. Postcoloniality, Postcolonialism and Hybridity, submitted as partial requirement for the MA Programme Euroculture, is my own original work and expressed in my own words. Any use made within it of works of other authors in any form (e.g. ideas, figures, texts, tables, etc.) are properly acknowledged in the text as well as in the List of References. I hereby also acknowledge that I was informed about regulations pertaining to the assessment of the MA thesis Euroculture and about the general completion rules for the Master of Arts Programme Euroculture. Signed... Date... 1

3 Table of contents Preface Introduction On the meanings of the postcolonial On the meanings of postcolonialism On the meanings of postcoloniality Methodology. A qualitative research Reading Speaking Talking about Europe and postcolonial India Narrating Europe Postcolonial knowledge Sociology and India The Department of Sociology of Pune University Opening sociology English, English studies and the colonies Postcolonial English studies at Pune University On the perception of Europe in a postcolonial context Europe, India and uneven development Stereotypes and experience: Indian nationalism in the mirror Experiencing stereotypes: European prejudices in the mirror Conclusion Bibliography

4 Preface To try to understand yourself from the other s perspective is, in every dimension of our life, one of the most difficult experience to be achieved and fully accepted. To understand Europe and the European identity, looking at it from outside of it, is as fascinating as it is a difficult task. However, to understand how Europe looks from outside of it has an undeniable academic value, being at the same time an intriguing way to question European identity itself. These are some of the reasons that led me to approach the study of the image of Europe, from the postcolonial perspective of one of the most important academic centre of India. Since the first steps of this research, the aim was to think about an alternative to the Eurocentric paradigm that, through colonialism, made of Europe the only centre from which critically to observe the rest of the world. However, before to start, I feel the need to thanks all those who helped me in this complicated but fascinating experience of understanding. In particular, I want to thanks all the scholars that helped me on finding the right points of view and the correct perspectives. Hoping to do not forget anyone, my thanks go to my supervisors Margriet van der Waal and Marcin Galent, for their punctual advices and suggestions. To professors Sharmila Rege, Anurekha Chari and Swati Shirwardkar for their inestimable help to make me aware of what does it means to understand social sciences from a postcolonial perspective. To Mangesh Kulkarni for his willingness to share with me his own peculiar view of postcolonialism and postcoloniality and to Lars Klein for the suggestions he gave me during the conversations we had in the canteen of the University of Pune. I would like also to thanks professors Aniket Jawaree and Raj Rao of the Department of English for their collaboration. A special thanks and hug go to my friends Santosh Sabale, Richa Singh and Sanjay Kumar Kamble, as well as to Ashutosh Thakary for his fundamental help. I cannot forget to thanks my parents, that supported me during all these years of study, travels, explorations and experiences. Finally, I do the greatest good luck to Enrica, my niece, who was born a few days before I finished to write this thesis. 3

5 1. Introduction Tagore [...] argues against an intense sense of the dissociation of Indian from other people elsewhere. [He] also rejects [...] the temptation to see Indian culture as frail and fragile, something that will break if touched by other cultures and which has to be protected through isolation from outside influences. 1 [the] tranquillity [of the oppressor] rests on how well men fit the world the oppressors have created, and how little they question it. 2 Through colonialism, Europe built up an Eurocentric world in which many categories of culture and knowledge, explicitly and implicitly, were and are built up around an assumed centrality of Europe and the West. The rest, as everything non-european or non-western, became since that time marginal. The colonial enterprise, was spread and imposed all over the world as a system of knowledge and perception of the globe whose the centre was the European metropolis, surrounded by the non-european periphery. As Joanne P. Sharp clearly pointed out: [...] colonialism was distinct [...] because of its unprecedented scale but also because of its establishment alongside a specific form of rational knowledge (called the European Enlightenment). [...] The way that European colonists came to know the world has been highly influential. The combination of scientific knowledge and capitalism within the context of superiority provided the framework through which the new lands and people became known to the Europeans and subsequently became the basis for European control of them. 3 Such a world was organized around a binary structure in which the perception of Europe existed in its opposition to non-europe. The centre begun to perceive itself in distinction to its own periphery, as two separated entities. For knowledge, this binary [saw] Western societies as modern societies [...] against [...] non-western societies, or preliterate, premodern societies. 4 In all fields of study, colonialism reshaped knowledge, producing a binary universal understanding based on positivist assumptions 1 A. Sen, The Argumentative Indian. Writing on Indian History, Culture and Identity (New York: Picador, 2005), P. Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, (New York: Herder and Herder, 1972), J. P. Sharp, Geographies of Postcolonialism. Space of power and representation (New Delhi: Sage 2009), 4. 4 S. Patel, Beyond the Binaries: A Case for Self-Reflexive Sociologies, Current Sociology 54, no. 3 (2006),

6 where European Enlightened rationality was held to be the very and the only centre. The same civilizing mission through which colonialists justified their territorial expansion, was based on the production of irreconcilable difference between black and white [while expanding] the contact between Europeans and non-europeans, generating a flood of images and ideas on an unprecedented scale. 5 This universalizing and Eurocentric knowledge was spread across almost the totality of the earth s surface, through the establishment of colonial educational systems in which universities became places for the reproduction of colonial power. With the decolonisation, such an unbalanced structure of the world did not disappear in favour of an eventual alternative configuration of knowledge and world understanding. In the territories of the ex-colonies, Eurocentric sciences and humanities still dominate the scene, reproducing the European conception of a world defined by binaries. At the same time, while increasing the transcontinental mobility and the consequent interactions of both students and professors, in Europe and outside of it, new academic perspectives increasingly try to challenge mainstream Eurocentric knowledge. Among such contemporary challenging academic attempts, probably the most fascinating one is the theoretical approach known as postcolonialism or postcolonial theory. As a disciplinary project devoted to the academic task of revisiting, remembering and, crucially, interrogating the colonial past, 6 it, during a period of about thirty years, exponentially increased its influence and relevance in the study of the humanities throughout the globe. This, created the apparently contradictory situation where in the same departments of the academies of the ex-colonies, mainstream perspectives are taught together with new critical approaches, such as postcolonialism. This happens in an environment in which the unequal influence of the West and Europe create situations of global inequities and marginalisation. At the same time, also within Europe, postcolonial theories started to generate a similar situation in which scholars begun to question the European binary selfunderstanding. Inside and outside the academic context, such self-questioning perspectives found its translation into a renewed attention toward identity and its definition, especially thinking to a relatively new social, cultural and political entity as it is the EU. There is indeed a lot of discussion in the European academies, as well as throughout the continental public sphere, about how an eventual European identity 5 J. P. Sharp, Geographies of Postcolonialism, L. Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory. A critical introduction (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009), 4. 5

7 should look like. Much of these discussions are mainly focused on the attempt to overcome the exclusory system of differences based on national identities, on essentialist and monolithic perception of identity, in favour of more inclusive concepts such as multiculturalism, transculturalism and cosmopolitanism. 7 Western academics as Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, ten years ago wrote that colonialism constructs figures of alterity [...] negative construction[s] of non-european others [that] finally [...] founds and sustains European identity itself. 8 At the same time, actual theoretical efforts to define a European identity are unlikely to escape the production of new binaries. As certified by Marijke Cornelis et all. nowadays: discussions within the European Union about the possibility of achieving a singular European identity largely are stalled in a debate between unqualified multiculturalism and absolute monoculturalism. [...] Continuing to frame the debate as a stark choice between these two views, [it] institutionalizes an unproductive dichotomy. 9 Then, the idea to oppose each other multiculturalism and monoculturalism, risks to do not escape a binary understanding of identity, centred around the tense relation between two theoretical categories as multiculturalism and monoculturalism are. Once more, there is not a third way to intend identity itself, but only two options apparently in contradiction among themselves. In this very complex frame, India represents one of the places where such dynamics of re-formulation of the universal, are gaining an increasing relevance and prominence, in both the academic and the non-academic contexts. The contemporary central position that the country is assuming, in both the economic and political international stage 10, is accompanied by a growth of new academic paradigms, and a dynamic process of internal innovation of national academies. 11 The sub-continental country is opening itself more and more to the rest of the world without forgetting the colonial past and the postcolonial present. A dramatically increased number of interactions with European scholars and academies are characterized also by practices 7 G. Delanty and C. Rumford, Rethinking Europe. Social theory and the implications of Europeanization, (Oxford: Routledge, 2005), M. Hardt and A. Negri, Empire, (Harvard University Press: London, 2000), M. Cornelis, R. Pinxten and R. A. Rubinstein, European Identity: Diversity in Union, International Journal of Public Administration 30, no. 6-7 (2007), P. Khanna, Il futuro dell India è tra i grandi del mondo, Limes. Rivista Italiana di Geopolitica, no. 6 (2009), S. Patel, Higher Education at the Crossroads, Economic and Political Weekly 39, no. 21 (2004). 6

8 of reformulated relations between who was once the colonised, and who was the colonizer. New spaces of dialogue and mutual understanding are open, also thanks to the growth of students and professors exchange programs that impressively increased a more bidirectional, transcontinental mobility. Inside this complex picture, where both the ex-colonies and Europe started a process of self-reflection, this thesis methodologically attempts to subvert the Eurocentric construction of identity and knowledge. Indeed, as it appears from the title, the aim is to investigate and define the image of Europe, as it is perceived from outside, by non-europeans. To do this, it has been selected a specific social and cultural context, represented by two departments of Pune university, where professors and students have been questioned about Europe and European knowledge, in order to define the academic environment where their perception of the old-continent developed. For this thesis, the other has been neither passively nor negatively involved, being rather positively implicated in the research process, becoming the primary source of information, enabled to address the research itself. It is not any more the object of observation, but rather one of the active subjects of the investigation. In practice, starting from a discussion of the two strictly related concepts of postcoloniality and postcolonialism, the following pages are an elaboration and analysis of the relations between non-european and European knowledges, within a non-european academic context, to conclude with a discussion on the perception of Europe by non-european individuals. In other words, the objective is to define the image of Europe in a Indian academic reality, focusing on the processes through which such an image has been shaped. Therefore, the non- European is fundamental for the definition of the European, but in a radically opposed way to the oppositions-based one that colonialism generated. Hence, according to what has been described until now in these first lines, the thesis presents the results of a three months field work spent among the sociology and the English departments of the Pune University. The research has been articulated as an analysis of narrative and academic literature on the postcolonial, both Indian and non- Indian, accompanied by interviews with local professors and students. Basically, the thesis is divided in three main parts. It starts from a discussion and definition of the meanings of both postcolonialism and postcoloniality - chapter one - as they will be understood in the following analysis. Representing the introductory research step, the discussion of the postcolonial comes first, to contextualize all further discussions. The following chapter - chapter two - is a description of the methodology that has been 7

9 elaborated for the different phases of the investigation. After these two preliminary chapters, a third section - chapter three - concerns itself with the relation between European and non-european knowledges. In particular, it contextualizes the discussion on postcolonialism and postcolonaility in the departments of English and sociology of Pune University. It presents the results of a deep and articulated literature study, accompanied by a considerable number of interviews with professors of the same departments. In other words, this section of the thesis consists of a description of how non-european places of knowledge production, such as these two university departments, relate themselves to Eurocentric knowledge on one side, and postcolonial theories on the other. Then, continuing from such a deep contextualization, the last chapter - chapter four - presents the results of three narrative interviews with Pune University students from the two departments analysed before. The common feature shared by these students is that they very recently went to different European universities, for diverse one-year student exchange programs. They were asked to narrate their own European experiences in order to give an idea of how they perceive Europe. This was done focusing both on the everyday life, and their new academic context abroad. These students views could somehow represent a source of inspiration for new ways to comprehend identity on one side, and the contact between European and non-european academic and non-academic knowledges and cultural contexts on the other. Their awareness of the field of postcolonial theories, that are significantly popular in the departments of Pune University where they were educated, crossed with their experiences in European academic contexts, is expected to produce an articulated image and perception of Europe from a non-european position, able to open new horizons for intercontinental mutual understanding. 8

10 2. On the meanings of the postcolonial Colonialism colonises minds in addition to bodies. 12 No discussion of the 'postcolonial' should proceed without participants making known their understanding of the term. 13 Postcolonial is a term that refers to a very wide range of meanings. Within such a variety, inevitably there are even contradictory and incompatible connotations. As a matter of fact, most of the controversies move around the term itself: [...] the prefix post complicates matters because it implies an aftermath in two senses temporal, as in coming after, and ideological, as in supplanting. It is the second implication which critics of the term have found contestable: if the iniquities of colonial rule have not been erased, it is premature to proclaim the demise of colonialism. A country may be both postcolonial (in the sense of being formally independent) and neo-colonial (in the sense of remaining economically and/or culturally dependent at the same time). 14 Since postcolonial theory started to be discussed, critics have claimed an inherent inadequacy of the term itself. Indeed, according to them, the prefix post in postcolonial works as a dangerous fiction: it covers the real condition of domination and subjugation that many non-western countries and peoples are still experiencing. As noticed by Linda Hutceon the prefix post not only is premature but also has the disadvantage of embodying the ideology of linear progress that underpinned empire, as well as continuing to orient analysis around the colonial centre. 15 Others have instead defended postcolonial theory as a crucial social criticism, necessary to subvert the unequal distribution of the power in the world. 16 However, the issue is relatively easy to overcome if instead of looking at the prefix, the attention is rather concentrated on the possible articulations of the endings, as well as on the analysis of the contents that the term implies. Thus, the postcolonial can be articulated as postcolonialism and 12 A. Nandy, The intimate enemy. Loss and recovery of self under colonialism, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994), B. Parry, The postcolonial: conceptual category or chimera? The Politics of Postcolonial Criticism 27, (1997): A. Loomba, Colonialism/Postcolonialism (Special Indian Edition) (Oxon: Routledge, 2007), L. Hutceon, Introduction: Colonialism and the Postcolonial Condition: Complexities Abounding, PMLA Special Topic: Colonialism and the Postcolonial Condition 110, no. 1, (1995), P. Mongia, Contemporary Postcolonial Theory. A reader (New Delhi: Oxford India Paperbacks, 1996),

11 postcoloniality. These two expressions refer to diverse but not necessarily contradictory meanings. Indeed, if under the umbrella of postcolonialism are included all those theories that challenge the colonial and universalizing European logics of appropriation, postcoloniality refers rather to the concrete condition of dependence, both economic, cultural, political and social, characterizing many non-european states nowadays. However, the existential resonance of the postcolonial or of postcoloniality is not inherently opposite to the academic dogma of the postcolonialism. 17 I would rather say that such idealised incompatibility is neither realistic, nor it implies any constructive significance. In a way, we can see one postcoloniality as the field in which the other postcolonialism develops; at the same time, postcolonialism finds in postcoloniality its core challenge. Indeed, postcolonial studies aim to subvert the postcolonial condition characterizing the contemporary. In his work Beginning Postcolonialism, John McLeod writes: postcolonialism recognises both historical continuity and change. On the one hand, it acknowledges that the material realities and modes of representation common to colonialism are still very much with us today, [while] on the other hand, it asserts the promise, the possibility, and the continuing necessity of change. 18 Nevertheless, it is still necessary to further contextualize which meanings of postcolonialism and postcoloniality will be used in the following pages. Indeed, despite the brief categorization developed above, both terms entail a various range of diverse realities and relations. Potentially, they cover a huge number of phenomena, dynamics and theoretical approaches. For the purpose of this thesis, only a limited number of features of postcolonialism and postcoloniality most relevant to this study will be taken into account. Then, in order to give to the reader some of the basic tools for the understanding of the framework in which the all research is included, those features are discussed in the following two sub-chapters. Further specifications are instead reserved for the next steps of the thesis, when the discussion will be restricted to certain areas of research, such as the influence of postcolonial discourses on contemporary non- European social sciences. 17 L. Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory, 3 [emphasis added]. 18 J. McLeod, Beginning Postcolonialism (New Delhi: Viva Books, 2010),

12 2.1. On the meanings of postcolonialism Analysing large parts of the diverse theoretic production on the concept of the postcolonial, some main common features can be distinguished, as coexisting in either dialogic or oppositional relations. As a matter of fact, postcolonialism can be seen as a radical separatist resistance to Western cultural hegemony 19, and as a body of writing that attempts to shift the dominant ways in which relations between Western and non-western people and their world are viewed [forcing] its alternative knowledges into the power structures of the West as well as the non-west. 20 In other words, Not only [postcolonialism] has been privileged as the position from which to deconstruct colonialism's past self-representations and legitimating strategies but it is also designated the location for producing properly postmodern intellectual work on the contemporary world. 21 Since the publication of Said s book Orientalism 22 in 1978, postcolonial theory has challenged two main instruments of colonial authority, namely knowledge and power. Taking inspiration by Foucault, who described knowledge and power as integrated with each other 23, Said s Orientalism refers simultaneously to an academic endeavour on one side, as well as to a form of representing everything non-western through which the dominance of the West over the East has been established, confirmed and recognised. Then, instead of concentrating all the critical analytical effort exclusively on the economic and political dimensions of European and colonial dominance, the attention has been shifted to knowledge. In this new theoretical frame, the positivist understanding of knowledge as something objective and universal started to be challenged. Indeed, according to postcolonial theorists, the postcolonial representation of the world has been historically generated in Europe, to be later violently transferred and imposed outside the old- Continent through colonialism: Western ways of knowing [ ] have become 19 A. Sen, The Argumentative Indian, I. Marion Young, The logic of masculinist protection: reflections on the current security state, Sings: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 29, no. 1 (2003): B. Parry, The postcolonial..., E. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1978). 23 M. Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archeology of the Human Sciences (London: Tavistock, 1970). 11

13 universalised to the extent they are often seen as the only way to know. 24 Then, the founding mission of postcolonialism becomes a critical re-reading of history, to reveal its inherent Eurocentric construction influencing our understanding of the present. As effectively stated by Walter Mignolo knowledge is also colonised and, therefore, it needs to be de-colonised. 25 It is in fact important to recognize that Eurocentric world history is more than a theory: it is a vast complex of beliefs, a world model, made up of countless statements of fact and explanatory theories. 26 Postcolonialism, on the other hand, can be seen as a negation of Eurocentrism, somehow producing a sort of destructive tension with everything definable as European. As stated by Gyan Prakash, such criticism seeks to undo the Eurocentrism produced by the institution of the West s trajectory, its appropriation of the other as History, [trying] to fiercely combat the persistence of colonialist knowledge in nationalist and mode-of-production narratives. 27 Thus, with part of its roots in poststructuralist theories 28, postcolonialism tries to subvert European discourses. In his insightful book Provincializing Europe, the Indian author Dipesh Chakrabarty wants to provincialize or decentre 29 Europe. By proving how history has been structured to accommodate Europe at the centre of the world, the author shows how the periphery discovers its own historically imposed marginality, beginning to claim contemporary multiple centralities. Introducing his book, Dipesh Chakrabarty writes: Provincializing Europe is not a book about the region of the world we call Europe. That Europe, one could say, has already been provincialized by history itself. Historians have long acknowledged that the so-called European age in modern history began to yield place to other regional and global configurations toward the middle of the twentieth century. European history is no longer seen as embodying anything like a universal human history. [...] The Europe I seek to provincialize or decentre is an imaginary figure that remains deeply embedded in clichéd and shorthand forms in some everyday habits of thoughts that invariably subtend attempts in the social sciences to address question of political modernity in South Asia. The phenomenon of political modernity [...] is impossible to think of anywhere in the world without invoking certain categories and concepts, the genealogies of which go deep into the intellectual and even theological 24 J. P. Sharp, Geographies of Postcolonialism, W. Mignolo, Globalization and De-Colonial Thinking, in Cultural Studies, edited by Escobar Arturo and Walter Mignolo (Durham: Duke UP, 2008), J. M. Blaunt, Eight Eurocentric Historians, (New York: The Guilford Press, 2000). 27 G. Prakash, Postcolonial Criticism and Indian Historiography, Third World and Post-Colonial 99, no. 31/32 (1992): L. Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory, viii, and P. Mongia, Contemporary Postcolonial Theory, D. Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: postcolonial thought and historical difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000),

14 traditions of Europe. [...] What historically enables a project such as that of provincializing Europe is the experience of political modernity in a country like India. European thought [...] is both indispensable and inadequate in helping us to think through the various life practices that constitute the political and the historical in India. 30 This re-formulation of world history leads to another key concept of postcolonial analysis: multiple modernities. As effectively summarised by the Italian scholar Sandro Mezzadra, the critical reading of colonial history, inevitably produces the multiplication of modernities, in the discovery of alternative paths of experiences of modernization [that help to] understand modernity not that much as an unfinished project but rather [...] as a contested field. 31 Therefore, postcolonial discourse can be transferred to the present, representing a tool enabling the reader to deconstruct the Eurocentric idea of a unique line of progress and development. There is no one unique future, but many, each generated by different presents. But, postcolonialism does not extinguish its subverting theoretical effort at this point. Indeed, if the past, the present and a possible future have been written by Europe and the West, from a non-european and non-western point of view it is possible to say that the others of both the West and Europe, have been silenced. They become the subalterns of the world s past and present: voiceless entities submitted to the dominant voice of the West. The Indian scholar Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak used the Foucauldian concept of epistemic violence 32 to underline how, by the diffusion of European universalizing knowledge, non-western culture become marginalised if not wrong. 33 Spivak effectively described such conditions in her famous essay Can the subaltern speak?. 34 It represented and still represents one of the most powerful interrogations of the academic effort to give the [...] subaltern a voice in history. 35 This attempt to give voice to the voiceless subjects of history started its mission by discovering the silenced histories of the colonies. Those subalterns, those invisible figures of the past, inhabited the margins of the colonies becoming the marginalised of 30 Ibid., 3-6. [emphasis added] 31 S. Mezzadra, How Many Histories of Labor? Towards a Theory of Postcolonial Capitalism (presentation, After Europe: Postcolonial Knowledge in the Age of Globalization, University of Chicago, Chicago, March ). 32 G. C. Spivak, Can the subaltern speak?, in Marxist Interpretations of Culture, edited by Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (Basingstoke: Macmillian Education, 1988), J. P. Sharp, Geographies of Postcolonialism, G. C. Spivak, Can the subaltern speak?, J. Sharpe and G. C. Spivak, A Conversation with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: Politics and the Imagination, Signs 28, no. 2 (Winter, 2003):

15 the marginalised: they are peasants, women, lower castes and individuals from the lowest social classes. Soon, voices from the subaltern studies academic reality, located neither in Europe nor in America but in the territories of the ex-colonies, began to denounce how the same logic of marginalization and negation of the subalterns were perpetuated also by postcolonial theorists: The experiences of the marginalised are used in postcolonial theories, but without opening up the process to their knowledges, theories and explanation. When there is a meeting it is in the centre in the (predominantly) Western institutions of power/knowledge [...] and in the language of the West (science, philosophy, social science and so on, expressed in English, French, Spanish...). 36 As a critic of the critics, the subaltern studies group tried to broaden postcolonialism. By affirming the need for subalterns to speak for themselves, being not any more a passive object of observation, the debate was moved to a crucial and divisive question, involving geography, history and social structure: who can speak for whom?. The answer tended to exclude from postcolonial theoretical elaboration all the non-subalterns: the Europeans and Westerns first of all. Such a sceptical approach, we will see, characterizes most of the postcolonial academic context in a country such as India. There, the postcolonial theoretical discourse is often suspiciously perceived as another Western intrusion. Nevertheless, another concept generated inside the frame of postcolonialism, somehow permitted to overcome the impasse generated by the subaltern studies discourse, by creating another space of experience. It is the space of hybridity, to be thought of as opposite to cultural essentialism 37 and as a complex relationships emerging from conditions of globality, postcoloniality and migration. 38 It is the third space of human theoretical production and daily experience, that is neither in the First nor in the Third worlds, being both of them at once. This in-between space, that has been firstly described by Homi Bhabha 39, is not just the bringing together of two cultures, but is also the creation of something new out of difference. 40 Then, as underlined by Fazal Razvi, by deploying concepts like hybridity [...] postcolonialism 36 J. P. Sharp, Geographies of Postcolonialism, L. Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory, A. Asgharzadeh, The Return of the Subaltern: International Education and Politics of Voice, Journal of Studies in International Education 12, no 4 (Winter 2008): 336 [emphasis added]. 39 H. Bhabha, The location of culture, (London: Routledge, 1994). 40 J. P. Sharp, Geographies of Postcolonialism,

16 has effectively become a reconciliatory [...] category. 41 From this point of view, the hybrid subject is seen to exist somewhere in the encounter between two or more cultural, social, and political paradigms. It is part of all of them while not completely belonging to any one of them: it represents the global and the local spaces in their interaction. The conceptualization of the hybrid subject is a movement away from location, not the claiming of a new, specific location. 42 Thus, and this is probably the most important feature, the hybrid subject is not an Europeanised or Westernised one, nor is it a non-western or non-european one. Rather, the hybrid subject is a figure inbetween and over diverse cultural, political and social patterns. Going back to the main subject of this research, it is possible to understand how the hybrid subject as a specific theoretical product of postcolonialism, is extremely important while approaching students who have experienced any kind of international and intercontinental mobility. Somehow, it is possible to say that those students embody such an in-between space of understanding, experiencing and living a multiple geographical, social and cultural place at the same time. Then the displaced person, in this case the international student, could be the hybrid subject, simultaneously outsider and insider, being not completely any one of them. But, according to what has been underlined by many scholars who criticize the idea of hybridity, the subject who lives abroad in a different cultural and social context from his or her own, becomes rather the object of two polarizing phenomena. Indeed, on the one hand he or she can reinforce his or her own self-identification as a member of his or her own original imagined community. 43 Alternatively, under the cultural European and Western hegemonic pressure, the original identity of the dislocated subject can suddenly disappear to be replaced by a new one conforming to the actual cultural and social context and demands. But, such structural criticism of the postcolonial idea of hybridity, could be effectively overcome by taking into account the concept of translation. As noticed by Gregor McLennan, who elaborates what Homi Bhabha stated, 41 F. Razvi, Postcolonialism and Globalization in Education, Cultural Studies, Critical Methodologies 7, no. 3 (2007), J. Hiddleston, Derrida, Autobiography and Postcoloniality, French Cultural Studies 16, no. 2 (2005), D. Fitzgerald and R. Waldinger, Transnationalism in Question, The American Journal of Sociology 109, no. 5 (2004),

17 [a] constant intellectual, political and psychic negotiation [has been] happening between the colonizing and colonised subject positions, so that variable hybrid moods, conditions and products emerge over time. Today, that initial hybridity has been intensified by a greater presence of migrant peoples within the West itself, and marginal groups engage in new processes of cultural hybridization, as colonizer and colonised identities repeatedly clash and mix, shaping unstable but always different postcolonial interpretations. 44 Once again, the debate over postcolonialism shows intrinsic vastness and internal plurality. However, as it will became more clear in the next pages, all these dimensions of postcolonialism - resistance to the Western and European universalizing power and knowledge, provincialization of Europe and multiplication of modernities, subaltern studies and the concept of hybridity together with the hybrid subject - coexist dialogically in many non-european academic contexts, as Pune University. Then, in this study, the problem of the re-writing of history, the academic attempt to give voice to the subalterns and the concept of multiple modernities, as briefly described above, will be dealt with. On the other hand and as previously mentioned, the hybrid subject is instead often suspiciously seen by non-western intellectuals. Indeed, for part of the postcolonial intellectual reality, especially the one closer to the group of the subaltern studies, hybridity seems nothing more than an attempt from the West to regain the possibility of speaking for the non-west. Nevertheless, even such a critical impasse is a subject of constructive discussion and transcontinental dialogue and confrontation On the meanings of postcoloniality After having discussed postcolonialism, the attention has to be directed toward the other alternative delineation of the postcolonial. Postcoloniality could be defined as a contingent condition. 45 Somehow it seems an inevitable situation from which it appears almost impossible to escape. Anti-colonial resistance or nationalism [...] and colonial discourse are governed by identical protocols 46, revealing as even the process of decolonisation could be understood as somehow colonised - when following the same logics of the colonisers. From this point of view, as briefly discussed before, the prefix 44 G. McLennan, Sociology, Eurocentrism and Postcolonial Theory, European Journal of Social Theory 6, no. 1, (2003), 73 [emphasis added]. 45 S. Mezzadra, La condizione postcoloniale, (Verona: Ombre Corte, 2008). 46 P. Roy, Indian Traffic. Identities in question in colonial and postcolonial India, (University of California Press: Los Angeles, 1998),

18 post seems to be quite inappropriate: postcoloniality is intended in this thesis to refer, to a limited extent, to the overlap of neo-colonialism and the changes determined by the end of direct European rule over European colonial territories: The newly independent nation-state makes available the fruits of liberation only selectively and unevenly: the dismantling of colonial rule did not automatically bring about changes for the better in the status of women, the working class or the peasantry in most colonised countries. [...] A version of [colonialism] can be duplicated from within. 47 Besides, if the influence of the colonizers in their previously colonised territories has basically changed its operative forms, it is still exercised in new, direct or indirect ways. Then, from this point of view, postcoloniality has to do with the present inequalities political economic and discursive in the global system. 48 It includes world economic exploitation, politics of subjugation and unequal cultural power relations. There are many ways to define such an uneven global condition, the analysis of which has been especially relevant in the recent academic discussion on globalization. Among others, the description of this world condition, elaborated by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt in their book Empire, is one of the most provocative. 49 They describe the global order as a sovereign new world regime that has been established in a completely different form than the ones during the time of European empires. A new order in which, without the need to direct rule, powerful nations tend to incorporate the other into the global system they established first. 50 The idea of development itself, as promoted especially by the USA during the 1960s, is also still entailed into the frame of postcoloniality: The world view of development was still based on a hierarchical and patronising model of the world: that there were developed and developing nations [...] as if all the countries could be located along one linear path to development, with the USA [and Europe] in the present and the other countries located somewhere behind but aspiring to achieve the same heights. 51 Beyond this analysis, mostly focused on the economic and politic dimensions of postcoloniality, more important for this thesis is to consider the postcolonial condition 47 A. Loomba, Colonialism/Postcolonialism, P. Mongia, Contemporary Postcolonial Theory, M. Hardt and A. Negri, Empire. 50 Ibid., J. P. Sharp, Geographies of Postcolonialism,

19 of knowledge. It has to be kept clearly in mind that most of the academic work in non- Western or non-european places is still highly influenced by Western and European structures. Besides, such non-western intellectual production has been always secondarily located in the world academic stage. In an unequal relation of power that roots, among other factors, on the colonial education systems and on the current organization of publishing and public academic events, the universalising European culture is still present, producing theoretical tensions, inside and outside non-western and non-european academies: The colonial aftermath is fundamentally deluded in its hope that the architecture of a new world will magically emerge from the physical ruins of colonialism [...] The triumphant subjects of this aftermath inevitably underestimate the psychologically tenacious hold of the colonial past on the postcolonial present [...] The perverse longevity of the colonised is nourished, in part, by persisting hierarchies of knowledge and values [...] of some people and cultures. [Decolonisation] barely disguises the foundational economic, cultural and political damaged inflicted by colonial occupation. 52 Yet, as for the subaltern studies group, some intellectuals locate postcolonialism itself into the category of Western or European universalizing knowledge. John McLeod, paraphrasing the Indian scholar of English studies Meenakshi Mukherjee, underlines that concepts and nomenclature of postcolonialism have been fashioned in Western [...] universities 53 being after implemented and used by academics from the ex-colonies. Once again, the knowledge produced in the metropolis seems to be forcibly exported to the provinces, as if there would be no way to escape from the universalizing logic of European and Western cultural hegemony. But if, on the one hand, Mukherjee s reasoning has to be taken into consideration, it is also true that, as has been seen before while discussing postcolonialism, this refusal of everything coming from Europe and the West is not necessarily productive or desirable. Indeed, looking to the argument addressed by most of the postcolonial theories, there is no need to stop considering them as valid and possible alternatives that challenge universalizing European and Western knowledge. Thus what has been presented until now forms a preliminary step onto the vast terrain of the concept of postcolonial. As we have seen, postcoloniality tends to include postcolonialism, recognizing it as another universalizing and forced European and 52 L. Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory, J. McLeod, Beginning Postcolonialism,

20 Western intrusion into the non-european and non-western world. On the other hand, postcolonialism identifies postcoloniality as the current condition in which what developed itself, and which it tries to challenge. Culture, knowledge and history must be rewritten and redefined, as they represent those fields of the contemporary postcolonial condition in which postcolonial theory can play its most concrete and fascinating subversive potentials. Hence, there is no validity in seeing any binary opposition between these concepts. Indeed, as shown until now, they live rather a dialogical relation in which they coexist being one somehow inside the other and vice versa. This is especially true if we look at non-european academic contexts, in which many curricula are pervasively structured along European and Western models, coexisting in the same departments alongside creative, brilliant new constructions of unconventional or non-mainstream Western and European spaces of knowledge. These new theoretical areas can be built on the refusal and negation of the European episteme, or, alternatively, in a dialogic relation with them. In the latter case, these alternative theoretical spaces are a concrete attempt to escape what appears as the natural binary oppositions of the West/the rest, north/south, European/non-European: these binaries are part of a matrix of other binaries, such as, the other against the I, the East against the West, the Orient vs. the Occident, the colonised against the imperialist, the traditional against the modern, the particular against the universal and are part of an episteme that represents the project of [European] modernity. 54 Inside this frame, Indian academic contexts represent a privileged place from where it is possible to see and analyse all these academic dynamics. Indeed, thanks to their deep involvement in the postcolonial theoretical discourses on the one side, and their still strong legacies with their colonial pasts on the other, Indian academies constitute laboratories in which these dualisms are often exasperated, as well as innovatively reconciled. Tensions are especially present, as we will see, in those departments that were originally structured as extensions of the colonial power, as part of the hegemonic machine built by the colonizers to rule the colonised. 54 S. Patel, Beyond the Binaries, 382. Professor Sujata Patel was, until 2009, professor at the Department of Sociology of Pune University. In S. Patel, interviewed by students of Pune University, 2009, transcript. 19

21 Throughout the next pages, the result of theoretical discussions on postcolonialism and postcoloniality presented until now will be employed with reference to a concrete non- European academic context. The question is how that, which has been briefly described until now as postcolonialism, is translated in practices, if it is, and to what extent colonial structures still presently influence an advanced Indian centre of knowledge. This is extremely important for the following attempt to understand how a certain cultural reality namely the one in Pune, in India - influences the elaboration of the perception of Europe. Specifically, for the Indian case, the European past is understood predominantly referring to the time of the British Empire, without forgetting also the Dutch, Portuguese and French occupation. 55 The articulation of the present imaginary of Europe in the eyes of many Indians is certainly influenced by the past colonial legacies and the present unequal relations of power, no less so in those academic contexts where those historic and theoretical questions are deeply debated. As strikingly expressed by professor Aniket Jawaree, such complexity can also be summarized as follows: The postcolonial situation [can be understood] as a double one where on the one hand you have to criticize the colonial period, but on the other acknowledge that we are indebted to that same period. A pure condemnation of the colonial is not possible [...] for postcolonial thinking. Many ideas are inherited from the ones the colonials brought here. On the same time we have to criticise colonialism, because it was an oppressive project and so on. That is the way I understand postcoloniality, that is the difference between merely be anti-colonial and being postcolonial. 56 Then, such a postcolonial double dimension of the relation between Europe and India has been investigated and questioned to different scholars of Pune university. This has been done by using a qualitative methodology that aimed to actively include the numerous subjects and that will be described in the next chapter - chapter C. Bulbeck, Re-orienting Western Feminism: Women s Diversity in a Postcolonial World, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), Professor Aniket Jaaware of the Department of English of Pune University, interviewed by the author, October 16,

22 3. Methodology. A qualitative research Qualitative research methods provide a means by which the social world can be understood from the perspective of those who inhabit it. 57 Though understanding complexity is not exclusive to qualitative inquiry, qualitative methods are notably suited for grasping the complexity of the phenomena we investigate. 58 As already indicated by the title of this chapter, the methodology chosen for this research can be defined as a qualitative one. Indeed, the aim of this thesis is to describe how Europe is perceived from a specific non-european academic context as two departments of Pune university. To define this perspective, it has been considered if and how the specific analysed educational contexts influence and address the perspective of individuals about Europe, by actively involving these individuals in the diverse research s steps. In this frame, the interaction among many elements of diverse spheres of the human experience plays a role, increasing the complexity of what has to be investigated. Therefore, quantitative methods appear less appropriate for such a tasks, as such an approach would be unable to describe the multitude of diverse aspects characterising different subjectivities. The use of a qualitative method results as a better approach, allowing the deepening of each case, for a better understanding of the dynamism that is expected to be found in a globalized context. Michael P. Grady, describing the reasons for the shift from a prevalence of quantitative researches, to qualitative ones, that interests contemporary social sciences, reveals some of the reasons that led me to choose a qualitative research methodology: Quantitative research is built on a positivist approach that dominates natural science investigations. But recently an increasing number of researchers have begun to question whether positivism is the best approach for conducting research in the social sciences. A significant number of researchers in the social sciences now use qualitative research because of the compatibility of qualitative methods with both the questions being examined and their view of reality as changing and dynamic. [...] This is not a question of which is better, quantitative or qualitative [...] Qualitative research proceeds from different assumptions than those on which quantitative research is based. The view of reality with which qualitative 57 M. J. Birks, Y. Chapman and K. Francis, Breaching the Wall: Interviewing People from Other Cultures, Journal of Transcultural Nursing 18, no. 2 (2007): A. Peshkin, Understanding Complexity: A Gift of Qualitative Inquiry, Anthropology & Education Quarterly 19, no. 4 (1988):

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