A familiar lesson in elementary history might be that a conquered people will generally acculturate into the dominant culture of their conquerors. However, the process of how these two cultures interact is often not that simple. For example, the term transculturation was coined in the 1940s by sociologist Fernando Oritz to describe the process by which a conquered people choose and select what aspects of the dominant culture they will assume (Pratt 589). Unlike acculturation, transculturation recognizes the power of the subordinate culture to create its own version of the dominant culture. In an essay entitled, "The Arts of the Contact Zone," author Mary Louise Pratt argues that transculturation does not have to be confined to the social spaces where disparate cultures intersect; it can be extended to everyday situations, such as the classroom. However, though Pratt recognizes that transculturation can take place on a very personal level, she still fails to discuss the emotional nature of transculturation. An analysis of Derek Walcott's poem, "A Far Cry from Africa," using scholar Homi Bhabha's concept of "mimicry" will give a deeper understanding of Pratt's vision of transculturation by redefining it as a process of personal struggle by which each individual in a subordinate group is moved to choose and select which aspects of the dominant culture he or she will assume.
"A Far Cry From Africa" is the story of a man half African and half English, who is witnessing the death and destruction of his homeland resulting from the English colonization of South Africa. In his description he does not, however, favor one side over the other, but focuses rather on the injustices of both cultures. At the end of the po...
... middle of paper ...
Bhabha, Homi. "From 'Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse' in the Location of Culture, pp. 85-92." Stanford Presidential Lectures and Symposia
in the Humanities and Arts. 02 March 2000. 15 September 2000. <http://
Bradley, Heather M. "Conflicting Loyalties in 'A Far Cry from Africa'". Literature of the Caribbean. The Scholarly Technology Group, Washington and Lee University.
1997. 15 September 2000. <http://landow.stg.brown.edu/post/caribbean/walcott/
Pratt, Mary Louise. "Arts of the Contact Zone". Ways of Reading. Ed. David
Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. 5th ed. Boston: St. Martin's, 1999. 582-596.
Walcott, Derek. "A Far Cry from Africa". Derek Walcott Collected Poems 1948-1984.
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1986. 17-18.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Transculturation A familiar lesson in elementary history might be that a conquered people will generally acculturate into the dominant culture of their conquerors. However, the process of how these two cultures interact is often not that simple. For example, the term transculturation was coined in the 1940s by sociologist Fernando Oritz to describe the process by which a conquered people choose and select what aspects of the dominant culture they will assume (Pratt 589). Unlike acculturation, transculturation recognizes the power of the subordinate culture to create its own version of the dominant culture.... [tags: Literature Poem Africa Essays]
1474 words (4.2 pages)
- “The Contact Zone”, is defined by Mary Louis Pratt as “the space in which transculturation takes place – where two different cultures meet and inform each other, often in highly asymmetrical ways.” Pratt describes what she calls ‘contact zones’ and elaborates on the pros and cons of these cultural interactions. She sees the contact zone as a place that allows people to exchange cultural ideas and break down the dividing cultural borders. When a contact zone is started, people are able to interact on new levels gaining a new perspective because they are able to collaborate with people from foreign cultures.... [tags: contact zone, transculturation, mary pratt]
998 words (2.9 pages)
- As we may all have once experienced, acculturation is one of the most common part of our lives, either by music, language or habits. In many occasions is more noticeable, but they are still a part of our entire lives. Through my own experiences and some of my classmates we were able to identified this topic in our own lives. I being born in USA but raised in Mexico until I was 16 years old, made my acculturation really clear when I came to this country without any previous knowledge of this language or society.... [tags: USA, Mexico, transculturation]
3038 words (8.7 pages)
- Mary Louise Pratt wrote the essay “Arts of the Contact Zone” with the purpose of explaining that society would benefit if people were exposed to and understood the concept of “contact zones”. She refers to contact zones as social spaces where cultures meet and clash with each other, usually with one culture being dominant over the other. A person living in a contact zone is exposed to two different cultures, two different languages, and as a result is presented with a struggle in each culture to maintain themselves.... [tags: Sociology ]
1183 words (3.4 pages)
- Edward Said “States” refutes the view Western journalists, writers, and scholars have created in order to represent Eastern cultures as mysterious, dangerous, unchanging, and inferior. According to Said, who was born in Jerusalem at that time Palestine, the way westerners represent eastern people impacts the way they interact with the global community. All of this adds to, Palestinians having to endure unfair challenges such as eviction, misrepresentation, and marginalization that have forced them to spread allover the world.... [tags: alienated palestinians,eastern culture,terrorist]
1168 words (3.3 pages)
- In Mary Louise Pratt’s “Arts of the Contact Zone”, Pratt establishes her definition of a contact zone, which is useful in understanding similar situations found in Richard Rodriguez’s “The Achievement of Desire”. In Pratt’s “Arts of the Contact Zone”, the idea of the contact zone is implemented so as to trigger off ideas on how to relate multifaceted concepts, such as language, communication and culture. In “The Achievement of Desire”, an autobiographical text of a young first-generation Mexican boy, Rodriguez feels a constant struggle between his family and education.... [tags: Literary Comparison]
878 words (2.5 pages)
- Arts of the Contact Zone by Mary Louise Pratt The Arts of the Contact Zone by Mary Louise Pratt opened up a whole new concept for our class. The new term “contact zone” appeared and Pratt defined it as "social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today." The idea of the contact zone is intended in part to contrast with ideas of community that trigger much of the thinking about language, communication, and culture.... [tags: Arts of the Contact Zone Mary Louise Pratt]
571 words (1.6 pages)
- Exactly one week after graduating from high school, with thirteen years of American education behind me, I boarded a plane and headed for a Caribbean island, I had fifteen days to spend on an island surrounded with crystal blue waters, white sandy shores and luxurious ocean resorts. With beaches to play on by day and casinos to play in during the night, I was told that this country was an exciting new tourist destination. My days in the Dominican Republic, however, were not filled with snorkeling lessons and my nights were not spent at the black jack table.... [tags: Personal Narrative Essays]
2479 words (7.1 pages)
- Retention and Preservation of African Roots in Jamaican Folk Music Preface Amid tens of thousands of volumes in this library collection at UVM, the "silence" is in fact a low hum issuing from the vents. I read essay upon essay, ideas and histories of ideas, until I pause in a pensive moment. A thick green binding breaks my meditation. A title, The Power of Sound, fills my mind with music. I consider the power of words. The music issuing from the Caribbean island of Jamaica has for decades — and many contend longer — broadcast a uniquely Jamaican identity.... [tags: essays papers]
4205 words (12 pages)
- The Social Impact of Slavery on the Caribbean Society In order for us to understand the Caribbean, we must acknowledge the tremendous social impact slavery placed upon the islands. We must not only consider the practice of slavery dating back to the indigenous peoples, but from what the introduction of the African slave trade did to the islands economically as well as culturally. In this paper let me reflect on slavery in the Caribbean not from an economical standpoint but, from the racial or what Knight calls ‘complextional mutations’ its social impact on society.... [tags: Caribbean History Slave Slavery Essays]
1335 words (3.8 pages)