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Edward Said

Blind Imperial Arrogance

"The great modern empires have never been held together only by military power. Britain ruled the vast territories of India with only a few thousand colonial officers and a few more thousand troops, many of them Indian. France did the same in North Africa and Indochina, the Dutch in Indonesia, the Portuguese and Belgians in Africa. The key element was imperial perspective, that way of looking at a distant foreign reality by subordinating it in one’s gaze, constructing its history from one’s own point of view, seeing its people as subjects whose fate can be decided by what distant administrators think is best for them. From such willful perspectives ideas develop, including the theory that imperialism is a benign and necessary thing."

Michael A. Gomez; Martin Klein (Contribution by)

Reversing Sail

This 2005 book examines the global unfolding of the African Diaspora, the migrations and dispersals of the people of Africa, from antiquity to the modern period. Their exploits, challenges, and struggles are discussed over a wide expanse of time in ways that link as well as differentiate past and present circumstances. The experiences of Africans in the Old World, in the Mediterranean and Islamic worlds, is followed by their movement into the New, where their experience in lands claimed by Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French and English colonial powers is analyzed from enslavement through to the Cold War. While appropriate mention is made of persons of renown, particular attention is paid to the everyday lives of working class people and their cultural efflorescence. The book also attempts to explain contemporary plights and struggles through the lens of history.

Octavio Getino y Fernando Solanas

“Toward a Third Cinema”

Explaining the neo-colonialist dilemma and the need for “a cinema of subversion” or “a revolutionary cinema”, “Toward a Third Cinema” begins by explaining the dilemma that the anti-imperialist film-maker is left with a paradoxical need to survive within as well as subvert “the System”. Solanas and Getino define the problem with 'the System' (the political and cultural authorities in place) as being one that reduces film to a commodity that exists to fill the needs of the film industry that creates them—mainly in the United States. This “spectator cinema” continues a lack of awareness within the masses of a difference between class interests or “that of the rulers and that of the nation”. To the authors, films of 'the System' do not function to change or move the culture forward; they function to maintain it.

Alejo Carpentier; Thomas Christensen (Translator); Carol Christensen (Translator)

The Harp and the Shadow

Exploring the consequences of the European discovery of the Americas and challenging the myth of Columbus, Alejo Carpentier-"the father of magical realism"-studies the first meetings of the Western and American cultures and the tragic consequences of tarnished and abandoned idealism.

Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine

"All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power." - Roosevelt

William Shakespeare; Barbara A. Mowat (Editor); Paul Werstine (Editor)

The Tempest

The authoritative edition of The Tempest from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for both students and general readers. Putting romance onstage, The Tempest gives us a magician, Prospero, a former duke of Milan who was displaced by his treacherous brother, Antonio. Prospero is exiled on an island, where his only companions are his daughter, Miranda, the spirit Ariel, and the monster Caliban. When his enemies are among those caught in a storm near the island, Prospero turns his power upon them through Ariel and other spirits. The characters exceed the roles of villains and heroes. Prospero seems heroic, yet he enslaves Caliban and has an appetite for revenge. Caliban seems to be a monster for attacking Miranda, but appears heroic in resisting Prospero, evoking the period of colonialism during which the play was written. Miranda's engagement to Ferdinand, the Prince of Naples and a member of the shipwrecked party, helps resolve the drama. This edition includes: -Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play -Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play -Scene-by-scene plot summaries -A key to the play's famous lines and phrases -An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language -An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play -Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books -An annotated guide to further reading Essay by Barbara A. Mowat The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit

Stephen Howe

Empire: A Very Short Introduction

A great deal of the world's history is the history of empires. Indeed it could be said that all history is colonial history, if one takes a broad enough definition and goes far enough back. And although the great historic imperial systems, the land-based Russian one as well as the seaborneempires of western European powers, have collapsed during the past half century, their legacies shape almost every aspect of life on a global scale. Meanwhile there is fierce argument, and much speculation, about what has replaced the old territorial empires in world politics. Do the United Statesand its allies, transnational companies, financial and media institutions, or more broadly the forces of 'globalization', constitute a new imperial system?Stephen Howe interprets the meaning of the idea of 'empire' through the ages, disentangling the multiple uses and abuses of the labels 'empire', 'colonialism', etc., and examines the aftermath of imperialism on the contemporary world.

Abayomi Azikiwe

The Atlantic Slave Trade & the Rise of World Capitalism

"Every effort on the part of any oppressed African nation-state to exert its independence and sovereignty has been challenged by the imperialist countries led principally by the U.S. capitalist class. Consequently, it is necessary to emphasize not only the role of world capitalism as the system that derived its strength and power from the slave trade and colonialism but that it is necessary to replace this system of exploitation with a society where the labor of the workers and farmers are not extracted for profit but for its equal distribution to all."

Patrick Wolfe

Settler colonialism and the elimination
of the native

"The question of genocide is never far from discussions of settler colonialism. Land
is life—or, at least, land is necessary for life. Thus contests for land can be—
indeed, often are—contests for life. Yet this is not to say that settler colonialism
is simply a form of genocide. In some settler-colonial sites (one thinks, for
instance, of Fiji), native society was able to accommodate—though hardly
unscathed—the invaders and the transformative socioeconomic system that they
introduced. Even in sites of wholesale expropriation such as Australia or North
America, settler colonialism’s genocidal outcomes have not manifested evenly
across time or space. Native Title in Australia or Indian sovereignty in the US
may have deleterious features, but these are hardly equivalent to the impact of
frontier homicide. Moreover, there can be genocide in the absence of settler colonialism. The best known of all genocides was internal to Europe, while genocides
that have been perpetrated in, for example, Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda or (one
fears) Darfur do not seem to be assignable to settler colonialism. In this article, I
shall begin to explore, in comparative fashion, the relationship between genocide
and the settler-colonial tendency that I term the logic of elimination.1 I contend
that, though the two have converged—which is to say, the settler-colonial logic
of elimination has manifested as genocidal—they should be distinguished.
Settler colonialism is inherently eliminatory but not invariably genocidal."

Natalie Diaz

Postcolonial Love Poem

WINNER OF THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE IN POETRY FINALIST FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY Natalie Diaz's highly anticipated follow-up toWhen My Brother Was an Aztec, winner of an American Book Award Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz's brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages--bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers--be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: "Let me call my anxiety,desire, then. / Let me call it,a garden." In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality. Diaz defies the conditions from which she writes, a nation whose creation predicated the diminishment and ultimate erasure of bodies like hers and the people she loves: "I am doing my best to not become a museum / of myself. I am doing my best to breathe in and out. // I am begging:Let me be lonely but not invisible."Postcolonial Love Poem unravels notions of American goodness and creates something more powerful than hope--in it, a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now, and in these poems, Diaz chooses love.

Christopher Columbus

Selections from the Journal of Christopher Columbus

First encounters between Europeans and Native Americans were dramatic events. In this account we see the assumptions and intentions of Christopher Columbus, as he immediately began assessing the potential of these people to serve European economic interests. He also predicted easy success for missionaries seeking to convert these people to Christianity.

Laila Lalami

The Moor's Account

In these pages, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America: Mustafa al-Zamori, called Estebanico. The slave of a Spanish conquistador, Estebanico sails for the Americas with his master, Dorantes, as part of a danger-laden expedition to Florida. Within a year, Estebanico is one of only four crew members to survive. As he journeys across America with his Spanish companions, the Old World roles of slave and master fall away, and Estebanico remakes himself as an equal, a healer, and a remarkable storyteller. His tale illuminates the ways in which our narratives can transmigrate into history--and how storytelling can offer a chance at redemption and survival.

James Cameron


On the lush alien world of Pandora live the Na'vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved. Because the planet's environment is poisonous, human/Na'vi hybrids, called Avatars, must link to human minds to allow for free movement on Pandora. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paralyzed former Marine, becomes mobile again through one such Avatar and falls in love with a Na'vi woman (Zoe Saldana). As a bond with her grows, he is drawn into a battle for the survival of her world.

Listen: American Negro Soldier

"American Negro Soldier: We are your brothers. We have the same color.
Open your eyes, American Negro Soldier. Back in Mississippi, in Alabama, in Little Rock, in Selma, your brothers, sisters, and parents are being killed by the same white men who are sending you to die in this Island...
Point your gun at your own white oppressor. Don't shoot at your Dominican brother."

Edwidge Danticat


Edwidge Danticat, the award-winning, best-selling author of THE FARMING OF BONES and KRIK? KRAK! offers a powerful addition to The Royal Diaries series with the story of Haiti's heroic queen Anacaona. With her signature narrative grace, Edwidge Danticat brings Haiti's beautiful queen Anacaona to life. Queen Anacaona was the wife of one of her island's rulers, and a composer of songs and poems, making her popular among her people. Haiti was relatively quiet until the Spanish conquistadors discovered the island and began to settle there in 1492. The Spaniards treated the natives very cruelly, and when the natives revolted, the Spanish governor of Haiti ordered the arrests of several native nobles, including Anacaona, who was eventually captured and executed, to the horror of her people.

Haylle Sok

The Violent Birth of Corporations

"Why did 17th-century Europeans create the world’s first corporations? Looking back, the answer seems obvious: The corporation seems like such a logical way to do business, especially on a big scale, that the wonder is that they weren’t invented sooner. But the real answer turns out to be more complicated and only loosely related to the advantages of the corporate form today."

Edward W. Said


More than three decades after its first publication, Edward Said's groundbreaking critique of the West's historical, cultural, and political perceptions of the East has become a modern classic. In this wide-ranging, intellectually vigorous study, Said traces the origins of "orientalism" to the centuries-long period during which Europe dominated the Middle and Near East and, from its position of power, defined "the orient" simply as "other than" the occident. This entrenched view continues to dominate western ideas and, because it does not allow the East to represent itself, prevents true understanding. Essential, and still eye-opening, Orientalism remains one of the most important books written about our divided world.

Robin D. G. Kelley

What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism?

"Capitalism was “racial” not because of some conspiracy to divide workers or justify slavery and dispossession, but because racialism had already permeated Western feudal society. The first European proletarians were racial subjects (Irish, Jews, Roma or Gypsies, Slavs, etc.) and they were victims of dispossession (enclosure), colonialism, and slavery within Europe. Indeed, Robinson suggested that racialization within Europe was very much a colonial process involving invasion, settlement, expropriation, and racial hierarchy. Insisting that modern European nationalism was completely bound up with racialist myths, he reminds us that the ideology of Herrenvolk (governance by an ethnic majority) that drove German colonization of central Europe and 'Slavic' territories 'explained the inevitability and the naturalness of the domination of some Europeans by other Europeans.'"

The Inception of the United States

Primary Source (n): 1: Textual, visual, or physical remains of a particular era that are capable of producing historical insight 2: The raw materials of history.

Millery Polyné

“Frederick Douglass’ Lecture Last Evening—Geographical Position, Area, Climate, Soil, Productions, and Commercial Resources of Santo Domingo—the Government and the People—Mr. Douglass’ Seven Reasons for Annexation to the United States.”

Frederick Douglass' 8 reasons in support of the U.S annexation of the Dominican Republic:
“It may, indeed, be important to know what Santo Domingo can do for us, but it is vastly more important to know what we can do for Santo Domingo”

Walter Rodney

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

The classic work of political, economic, and historical analysis, powerfully introduced by Angela Davis In his short life, the Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney emerged as one of the leading thinkers and activists of the anticolonial revolution, leading movements in North America, South America, the African continent, and the Caribbean. In each locale, Rodney found himself a lightning rod for working class Black Power. His deportation catalyzed 20th century Jamaica's most significant rebellion, the 1968 Rodney riots, and his scholarship trained a generation how to think politics at an international scale. In 1980, shortly after founding of the Working People's Alliance in Guyana, the 38-year-old Rodney would be assassinated. In his magnum opus, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Rodney incisively argues that grasping "the great divergence" between the west and the rest can only be explained as the exploitation of the latter by the former. This meticulously researched analysis of the abiding repercussions of European colonialism on the continent of Africa has not only informed decades of scholarship and activism, it remains an indispensable study for grasping global inequality today.

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