More from RELS 348: Empire, Colonialism, and Religion

A response to Eric Campos’s story “Left behind, The Lasting Effects of Post-Colonialism”, Postcolonialism Now, 2011

In this article, Eric Campos understands the term ‘post colonialism’ as referring to the will of a state to impose its views on another one in different spheres. According to the author, the local population can be moulded by a powerful state in many different ways and is influenced to adopt the conquering state’s way of governance and religious beliefs.

One powerful state can influence yet another powerful state to adopt its policies. For instance, Campos picks up the United States of America as a concrete example. In this particular article, he is referring to the countries of Europe, especially England, who wishes to establish a British Empire by extending its powerful rule worldwide by conquering other lands. After their initial indoctrination by the powerful states in ways of governance, the conquered people tend to practice and adopt these new ways on a continuous and permanent basis. As an example, the author cites an episode of the novel ‘Things Fall Apart’, written by Chinua Achebe.

Religion is another field affected by colonialism and post colonialism. Campos pinpoints how the Christian missionaries try to implement their religious views from their countries of origin in the minds of the inhabitants of the new lands to conquer. He again quotes two examples from ‘Things Fall Apart’ to infer how conversion from one religion to another can be done forcibly or in more subtle ways. The practice of a new faith in an immediate surrounding can eventually lead to the new faith’s implementation with new adherents embracing it. At the same time, the arrival of missionaries means assimilation and integration of a new component of population, contributing to the latter’s increase.

In my opinion, in the first place, the incorporation of new faiths can lead to new lifestyles in any state. This means that colonialism has contributed to the birth of new cultures, contributing to the endless cycle of the evolution of humanity. Secondly, colonialism means bringing and imparting new knowledge to others. Moreover, freedom to choose and adopt these new ways of life remains the choice of those concerned. Finally, this can give the inhabitants more autonomy and ability to make decisions, which can contribute to their individual and national emancipation.


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