THE COFFER DAMS AND THE MAKING OF CIVILISED CULTURE REVISITED
Keywords:postcolonial East-West power relations, dehumanisation, technological imperialism, binary oppositions
Through the analysis of Kamala Markandaya’s The Coffer Dams and drawing on the groundbreaking works of the leading postcolonial theorists such as Bhabha, Fanon, Said and Young, this paper explores the East-West power relations in the postcolonial period that has brought about Western technological imperialism perpetuating the dynamics of Orientalism. The aim of this paper is to show how the Eastern stereotyped image is reinforced in the mechanised tech world, emphasising the fact that the binary oppositions such as nature/culture and civilised/uncivilised have survived colonialism spanning into the postcolonial tech age. Like its precursor, the neo-colonial project came to be justified by the need to bring civilisation to the Eastern world, but this time, by means of technological transformation and modernisation. This paper discloses that the Other remains the Other in the postcolonial Western mind because technology, as a new form of power, has sharpened the distinction between Western superiority and Eastern inferiority. Moreover, it is evident that the means may change but the desire to claim, control and curb the land of the Other still remains, as well as the price that has to be paid – that of dehumanisation and mechanisation of human beings.
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