H/T – The Repeating Islands –
Andrea Estrada interviews Esther Lezra on her new book The Colonial Art of Demonizing Others (Routledge, 2014):
“It was important to show that the representational patterns that we use today are inheritors of an early representational rhetoric that was intrinsically tied up with material violence and injustice endured by peoples who were subjected to empire and colonialism,” Lezra said. She chose this particular period, she noted, “because it represents a time when the practice, theory and documentation of the empire — along with the tropes that represent the empire — became crystallized.”
The book focuses on materials of distinct yet related sociopolitical and linguistic archives of England and Surinam, Spain and the Americas, France and the Antilles, and the U.S. and Iraq.
“While the book enters into a series of preexisting scholarly conversations about colonialism, empire and postcoloniality, what distinguishes it is the variety of written and archives, languages and geopolitical spaces it moves through in order to make the argument,” Lezra explained. “At the same time, it reveals the ways in which the dominant colonial archive represented non-European people as monstrous and how it reluctantly registered the power and freedom-seeking agency of suppressed populations.”