Lei Yi: Interpretation of “Post-modern Theory” and “Post-colonial Theory” in the Context of China’s Modernity


Interpretation of „Post-modern Theory“ and „Post-colonial Theory“ in the Context of China’s „Modernity“

by Prof. Dr. LEI Yi 雷颐
Professor, Institute for Modern Chinese History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences


一, “后现代”与“后殖民”
1. „Post-modern“ (后现代 hòu xiàndài) and „Postcolonial“ (后殖民 hòu zhímín)

“后殖民理论”以美国哥伦比亚大学阿拉伯裔教授爱德华.赛义德(Edward W.Said)的 巨著《东方主义》为代表, 所谓“后殖民”是指西方帝国主义在非西方地区殖民统治 结束后的状况。
In his monumental work „Orientalism“ (东方主义 dōngfāng zhǔyì) Edward. W. Said, Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, introduces a „post-colonial theory“ (后殖民理论 hòu zhímín lǐlùn), in which there still is a status of „Western imperialism“ (西方帝国主义 xīfāng dìguó zhǔyì) in non-Western regions after the end of colonial rule.

这些地区虽然在国家主权上已经独立,但在经济、文化上的“殖民”并未结束,殖民势 力尤其借助于其精心建立起来的“文化霸权”或“文化帝国主义”来维系其利益。 Although these areas became independent in terms of national sovereignty (国家主权 guójiā zhǔquán), in the economic and cultural sense the „colonial“ status still prevails. The former colonial powers can maintain their interests, especially through the means of their well-established „cultural hegemony“ (文化霸权 wénhuà bàquán) or „cultural imperialism“ (文化帝国主义 wénhuà dìguó zhǔyì).

赛义德率先指出西方世界长期以来是如何带有偏见地凝视东方,如何以科学、学术研究 之名发展出一整套关于“东方”的权力话语(discourse)。他认为西方学者在研究“东 方”时,将自己置于“主体”, 而将“东方”作为“他者”(Other)。
Said was the first to point out how the Western world has long been holding a biased and fixed view towards the East. He also points out that in the name of science and academic research a whole power discourse (权力话语 quánlì huàyǔ) about the „Orient“ / the „East“ (东方 dōngfāng) was developed. He believes that whenever Western scholars study the „East“ they put themselves in the position of the „main subject“ (主体 zhǔtǐ) but treat the „East“ as „the Other“ (他者 tāzhě).

其学术研究虽然看起来十分客观, 实际却有意无意地以自己的文化来曲解“东方”,反 映了西方在客观世界、政治和社会生活、文学作品中对东方所持的根深蒂固的偏见。 Although their academic research appears to be fairly objective, they – intentionally or unintentionally – misinterpret the „East“ through the lenses of their own culture. This would reflect a deep-rooted Western prejudice (偏见 piānjiàn) towards the „East“ which prevails in the objective world, in political and social life, and in literary works.

以此为先锋,西方学术界出现了由常住西方、基本上是在西方大学任教的非白人、多数 是来自第三世界的学者对西方理论、学术中的欧洲中心论倾向和西方文化霸权进行的挑 战和批判。Said was a pioneer in this research. Voices of scholars appeared in Western academia that challenge and criticize Western theories, Eurocentric (欧洲中心论 Ōuzhōu zhōngxīn lùn) tendencies and “Western cultural hegemony” in sciences. These scholars are permanent residents in Western countries, are basically of Non-Caucasian/Non-white (非白人 fēi báirén) descent and maintain teaching positions in Western universities. The better part of them is from Third World countries.

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