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“FISH CHEEKS”. An introduction to Post-Colonial Themes . Lesson Goals:. To (re)familiarize you with the skills of a reader (C.I.A.S.E.) To introduce the basic concepts of post-colonialism.

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fish cheeks


An introduction to Post-Colonial Themes

lesson goals
Lesson Goals:
  • To (re)familiarize you with the skills of a reader (C.I.A.S.E.)
  • To introduce the basic concepts of post-colonialism.
  • To practice viewing stories through a post-colonial lens and to practice constructing focused C.I.A.S.E. questions.
snack time

What do you think about this kind of food?

How is a snack like this looked at by people from your culture?

Does it bother you if people from other cultures think your culture’s preferences and behaviors are unusual?

story time

Third Culture Kids (TCK)

“A third culture kid is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture. The third culture kid builds relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any.

Sociologist Ruth Hill Useem coined the term "Third Culture Kids" after spending a year on two separate occasions in India with her three children, in the early fifties.

Initially they used the term "third culture" to refer to the process of learning how to relate to another culture; 

in time they started to refer to children who accompany their parents into a different culture as "Third Culture Kids."

Useem used the term "Third Culture Kids" because TCKs integrate aspects of their birth culture (the first culture) and the new culture (the second culture), creating a unique "third culture"

story time1
  • “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan
  • Amy Tan:
    • Born in Oakland, California
    • Parents were 1st Generation immigrants from China.
    • Writing draws highly from personal experience
    • Particularly focused on mother-daughter relationships, and on her mixed American – Chinese heritage

“In America nobody says you have to

keep the circumstances somebody

else gives you. “

the skills of a reader1

 Write 2 Questions

 Answer 2 Questions

 Answer 2 Questions

 Create a SCENARIO (complex question)

isq invasion
  • ISQ Administration takes over.
  • ISQ Teachers come into our classrooms.
  • ISQ students join our classes.
  • As teachers and students of QISS, what consequences (both positive and negative) should we expect this forced merger to have on us?

The folks over at ISQ have finally had enough!

As the city’s largest international school (based on student population), they feel they deserve to have the city’s best campus. They are going to take matters into their own hands and seize the beautiful new campus that QISS has been using.

At the same time, they know that QISS has a strong position in the community and has staff and students that are very “useful” to their own purposes.

They believe that a forced “merging” of the two schools (with the iSQ teachers and administrators in control, of course) would be the most beneficial course of action.

isq invasion1
  • As teachers and students of QISS, what consequences (both positive and negative) should we expect this forced merger to have on us?

The QISS Resistance Army

The ISQ “Outreach Facilitators”

what is post colonialism

A field of study that focuses attention on the after-effects of the processes of colonialism and imperialism.

Generally this includes looking at stuff like…

The effects that it has on the colonized people.

The intentions, attitudes, and methods of the colonizers.

The ideological beliefs and organizational systems that allow it to happen.

themes of post colonialism

When new people (like colonial powers) move in and try to force you into a particular role, struggles forself-determination will surely emerge. Self-determination is the freedom and right to create your own identity, rather than having other groups or individuals tell you who you are or should be.

In literature, you may find that conflicts about NAMES or TITLES can be a good indication that an identity struggle is taking place.

You may also come across characters who struggle to really understand their own identity.

themes of post colonialism1
  • OLD vs. NEW

(or tradition vs. progress)

When new cultures enter into a place, they bring with them all sorts of changes to traditional ways of life.

Sometimes these changes are smooth and gradual (and may not meet with much resistance), and in other cases the changes are forced, violent, and severe (and may be met with strong resistance).

The way that individuals or the society as a whole deals with and accommodates these changes to their lifestyles and beliefs are often discussed in post-colonial works of literature.

themes of post colonialism2
  • Exploitation and Subjugation

Exploitation refers to using someone or something for your own personal benefit. (typically without regard for the harm it does to the ones you’re using)

Subjugation means “making a subject of” someone – which implies that the process involves one individual or group assuming superiority over the other, and taking on the power to control the other “inferior” one.

Look for any relationships in literature that show an imbalance of power and control. These can be part of a post-colonial message.

themes of post colonialism3
  • Exile and Alienation

Exile refers to the forced banishment from somebody’s native / home land.

Alienation is the feeling that you are foreign , “alien” or “other” than what is predominant or accepted in that place.

Characters in post-colonial literature typically experience exile – which may be either a physical or an emotional disconnection from themselves, their community, or from a physical home.

themes of post colonialism4
  • Migrancy and Diaspora

Diaspora refers to any cultural group that has been dispersed (spread out) outside of its original homeland.

The Jewish diaspora is a good example – there are many Jews living in Eastern Europe, and America, but their traditional homeland is in the Middle East.

Diaspora can be created by forced or by chosen migrancy (immigration).

The concept of 3rd culture kids that we discussed earlier is one example of looking at how diaspora has real effects on the lives and identities of people.

themes of post colonialism5
  • Hybridity

Very much connected to the ideas of Identity and Diaspora mentioned earlier, hybridity is all about “blending”.

The process of colonization typically leads to “blended” cultures, where languages, cultural practices, and even genetic bloodlines get mixed and create something new.

Look in literature for examples of characters or behaviours that don’t “fit” neatly into a single category but which are a mix of two different things.

interpreter of maladies
Interpreter of Maladies
  • JhumpaLahiri
    • Born in London to Bengali parents
    • Grew up in Rhode Island, USA.
    • Collection of short stories “Interpreter of Maladies”
    • The stories are about the lives of Indians and Indian Americans who are caught between the culture they have inherited and the "New World."