Lit Review – Intro (Draft 1)

Literature Review:

It is critical to navigate the historical formation of Western consciousness, which has imposed divisions on human beings and marginalized many of its subjects to racial otherness. In many ways, the rendering of racialized identities to “otherness” has marked dehumanization. Throughout this review, we will look at how forced acceptance of “otherness” is detrimental to a subject’s control over the formation of his/her identity.

It is also important to note that representations of the racialized “other” have been constructed based on the Western gaze. The images of racialized bodies have been filtered through deep roots and sturdy structures of a particular Western epistemology engendered since the beginnings of the world political economy. Howard Winant argues, “I consider how the theme of race, though prefigured in earlier ages, only took on its present range of meanings with the rise of modernity” (Winant 170). As European colonization started to come into fruition, the colonizers required a rationale for conquering foreign lands and its people. The practical reason may have been economic advantage in a time of global economic integration. Yet there had to be much stronger justification to legitimize and preserve this kind of all-encompassing power. We will critically view the reasons for and ways in which the Western powers normalized racial categorization. Then, we will also address the ways in which those subjected under racial regimes have used media like cinema to reclaim control over representation of their identities.

To begin, we must confront the concept of identity and decide under which definition(s) we will operate. The term “identity” can encompass so many connotations and meanings. For the purposes of this exploration into racial formations, we will continue the discussions using definitions of “cultural identity” as proposed by Stuart Hall. Hall engages in a discourse on identity for colonized peoples, who have been stripped of their powers and human right to identify themselves in a system, which hardly recognizes their human value or even existence as human beings.

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