A long article on Strange Horizons today, by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay:
The problem of Anglocentrism is the problem of looking only at certain literatures and not others, utilising only certain works and not others, constructing canons with certain texts and not others, and not supporting a more vigorous translation industry.1 As the science fiction critic John Rieder shows at length in Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction (2008)—a work that has greatly influenced mine—looking has a history and a politics.2 The look and the gaze—male, colonial, or critical—is always about a certain politics. We cannot set Anglophonism aside entirely, however, because words are not words alone: they can be tools of cultural imperialism, as the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o famously argues inDecolonising the Mind (1981).
Heavy stuff. It’s a great look at trying to shift perspectives when approaching Science Fiction and Fantasy in our modern world.
While earlier we have traced Anglocentrism as the erasure of difference, notice the language in affirmation of difference, in which it still marginalises certain literatures, and through marginalisation homogenises and constructs an alternative rationality for the readers of certain literatures. Alternative labelling thus stands the risk of denying other science fiction and fantasy a status equal to English-language science fiction and fantasy production, while rendering the content of these other literatures uniquely exotic for the Anglophone reader, reiterating the colonial Othering that, as noted by Rieder, is so characteristic of the emergence of these genres.19
It’s a great and interesting read, so check it out here: http://strangehorizons.com/2013/20130923/1chattopadhyay-a.shtml