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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how one may denominate the cultures of the Americas “postcolonial.” We consider first to what extent the classical inheritance was a counter in early attempts to differentiate an emerging American culture from European antecedents. The Classics provided a stimulating tension because they do speak of a European provenance, but can also be mobilized as part of a universal humanist heritage. Postcolonial analysis, however, obtains its most fruitful purchase when directed towards “internal colonialism,” providing one tool among others to inquire into the political and cultural predicament of people in the Americas of African descent. We outline how adaptations of Greek drama by African-American creative artists conduct this inquiry, with particular attention to Walcott’s The Odyssey. We also survey recent theoretical statements on the roles of classical texts within African-descended American cultures. The chapter concludes by considering pertinent relations between postcolonialism and globalization.

Keywords: postcolonialism, internal colonialization, race, American exceptionalism, neo-colonialism, African-American, Latin America, Caribbean, Derek Walcott The Odyssey, Globalization

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