Contesting Knowledge, Contested Space: Language, Place, and Power in Derek Walcott’s Colonial Schoolhouse

Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 36 (1):77-103 (2014)
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Derek Walcott's colonial schoolhouse bears an interesting relationship to space and place: it is both a Caribbean site, and a site that disavows its locality by valorizing the metropolis and acting as a vital institution in the psychic colonization of the Caribbean peoples. The situation of the schoolhouse within the Caribbean landscape, and the presence of the Caribbean body, means that the pedagogical relationship works in two ways, and that the hegemonic/colonial discourses of the schoolhouse are inherently challenged within its walls. While the school was used as a means of colonial subjugation, as a method of privileging the metropolitan centre, and as a way of recreating that centre within the colonies, Walcott's emphasis on place complicates and ultimately rewrites colonial discourses and practices. While the school attempts to legitimize colonial space, it in fact fosters what Walter Mignolo has termed "border thinking."
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