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    The Impact of Colonization on Identity

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    AbstractColonization most assuredly produced altered states of consciousness, in which the fundamental sense of “rightness” was understood to be subjective and culturally constructed, rather than naturally true. In conjunction with this realization came the idea that identity is not something personally owned, but rather, something inscribed upon a body or culture by an agent of power. In this case, identities were projected onto the natives by the imperialists. The colonial enterprise, particularly the European imperialist projects in the east, has forever changed concepts of identity, otherness, and power in both the Occident and the Orient.

    Both sides were indisputably and irrevocably altered; however, the effect upon native cultures (the colonized) was far greater than the effect on the imperial cultures (the colonizers). European colonizers were able to cherry-pick the greatest parts of “new” culture—their art, their music, their architecture, or their cuisine—and adopt or adapt it to modern imperial life. In many ways, the cultural practices and artifacts of a newly colonized civilization were treated like the natural resources (oil, silk, spice) the Europeans were there to gather: they mattered only in their usefulness to the empire. Unlike their imperial counterparts, however, the native peoples had no choice which customs and practices to adopt, and which to discard.

    The sheer military might and nature of the colonial enterprise demanded that the colonized completely adapt to the social and cultural norms of the empire. In essence, then, the colonized were forced to lead a life of double consciousness, wherein they participated in customs and practices and obeyed laws and regulations in which they did . . periences with Western ideology, Etgar Keret and Marjane Satrapi offers methods for claiming identity that do not revolve around blind attempts to return to cultural roots.

    Works CitedGhanem, Mary, and Jihad Makhoul. “Displaced Arab Families: Mothers’ Voices on Living and Coping in Postwar Beirut. ” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 5. 3 (2009): 54-72. Web. 10 Dec 2009.

    Keret, Etgar. The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001.

    Print. Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1978. Print.

    Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. New York: Pantheon, 2003. Print. Troen, S. Ilan.

    “Frontier Myths and Their Applications in America and Israel: A Transnational Perspective. ” Journal of American History 86. 3 (1999): 55 paragraphs. Web.

    10 Dec 2009.


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