Postcolonial Geography

Module Leader:
Zoltán Ginelli
2018-2019 Spring
Immersion 1
Social Sciences

This module offers an introduction to the postcolonial approach to human geography. Weekly sessions invite students into contemporary discussions in postcolonial geography, and offer them a basic awareness of various geographical concepts, the global history of colonialism and imperialism, and the postcolonial relations of social difference, including race, class and gender. Students learn how to critically engage with West/Eurocentrism, Orientalism, and various colonial practices of social distancing, exploitation and control. The module equips students with a critical understanding of (post)colonial relations in the historical and current media, politics, culture and science.

But why do we never learn about colonialism from a Hungarian perspective? Why is it not part of our historical consciousness? The module’s point of departure is that postcolonial studies have only focused on the global center (colonisers) and the global periphery (colonised), hence regions “in between” became curious blind-spots in the dominant Western/Atlantic narrative of colonial history. The significance of this module is that it equips students with a critical geographical sensibility towards Eastern European – especially Hungarian – viewpoints and experiences of colonialism, and encourages students to apply their pre-given local knowledge self-reflexively in global context. Our primary goal is to develop arguments about why postcolonial critique is relevant to Hungary by critically revising the hegemonic narrative of Western/Atlantic colonialism and countering the dismissive phrase “we never had colonies, so colonialism does not belong to our history and responsibility”. The pedagogic structure of the module is to start with the global scale and move step-by-step toward our regional and local context.

Students interested in any social science related subject are encouraged to participate, but the geographical tradition covers the natural and environmental sciences too. The module is ideal for those wishing to specialise in geography or area studies, or continue their education in history, cultural studies, literature, communication and media.

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