Discourse on Colonialism Setting & Symbolism

Césaire, Aimé and Pinkham, Joan
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Western Europe

As Césaire describes it, Western Europe is a decadent, sick, and dying civilization. He rejects the claims of countless Western European humanists who claim that Europe is civilized and who offer, as evidence of its civilization, the contrast between Europeans and supposedly barbaric, uncivilized non-European peoples.

Africa

In contrast to Western Europe, Africa was once a place of true civilization—now destroyed by European barbarism. Césaire understands pre-colonial African societies as “communal,” both “ante-capitalist” and “anti-capitalist,” “democratic,” “cooperative” and “fraternal” (44). Although Césaire admits the impossibility of ever returning to these pre-colonial societies, Césaire invokes Africa as an instrumental voice and guiding vision for a new society.

France

France stands as a symbol of hypocritical Western European humanism, which on the one hand proclaims the rights of all men and on the other hand maintains and exploits colonies overseas. Many of Césaire...

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This section contains 529 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Discourse on Colonialism Study Guide
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