“In Selected Subaltern Studies (1985) Spivak writes ‘it is correctly suggested that the sophisticated vocabulary of much contemporary historiography successfully shields this cognitive failure and that this success-in-failure, this sanctioned ignorance, is inseparable from colonial domination.’ Ignorance is therefore rationalised, and by such means sanctioned. Spivak’s charge of sanctioned ignorance is most often directed at the Western study of the ‘third-world,’ ‘oriental’ or ‘subaltern,’ a gaze filtered through a selective lens.”
“The charge of ‘sanctioned ignorance’ is not merely the suggestion of an omission, an angle on analysis as yet unexplored by chance. It gives agency to the omitter. Indeed, to the collective academy. It is a purposeful silencing through the dismissing of a particular context as being irrelevant. This is not necessarily an issue of individual malice but an institutionalized way of thinking about the world which operates to foreclose particular types of analysis or considerations from entering into the debate.”
SOURCE: Mayblin, Lucy. “Sanctioned Ignorance.” Global Social Theory.
Excerpt from Paul Worley & Kelsey Woodburn’s interview with Sean Sell:
Not many people know that Maya literatures or even in general indigenous literatures exist. Why do you think that is? What is the role of the translation in the promotion of these literatures even within their countries of origin?
“Colonialism in the new world has not ended; rather, the colonizers took control away from European nations. Indigenous people throughout North and South America continue to fight to preserve their culture and have at least some control over their lives. Words like autonomy, sovereignty, and agency all relate to this struggle. While Western Civilization may see the world as a set of nations based on lines drawn hundreds of years ago by white politicians and map-makers, indigenous people (those who haven’t been displaced) have older connections to lands based on where and how their cultures developed. These writers use literature to speak for their connection to the land, a theme that comes up repeatedly.”
SOURCE: Woodburn, Kelsey, and Paul Worley. “Translator Sean Sell on Contemporary Indigenous Literature in Mexico.” Asymptote.
“Postcolonial sociology, then, is a sociology actively committed to a different world. It is a sociology that recognises the legacy of the colonial past in the present. And it is a sociology that seeks to identify possible futures that move us beyond the present through an address of contemporary inequalities that are themselves recognised as manifestations of longer-standing historical injustices of dispossession, genocide, colonialism, appropriation, and enslavement.”
SOURCE: Bhambra, Gurminder K. “What Is Postcolonial Sociology?” Social Global Theory.