Re: Colonialism as the big bang

Matthew S. Tomaso (tomaso@UTXVMS.CC.UTEXAS.EDU)
Tue, 7 Feb 1995 22:40:01 -0600

At 10:23 AM 2/7/95, Robert Johnson wrote:

> It is impossible to deal with the colonialism of the past.

And yet Gramsci and Marx would then want to ask 'how can we possibly
confront colonialism today at all if we cannot understand its emergence? In
fact, I'm not sure what you mean by 'deal with'. Surely, your notion of
colonialism is somhow informed by the past, eh? If not, then what is it
informed by? Your internal colonization <this is a serrious question>?
If you mean that prehistoric archaeologists can't deal with colonialism,
then you may have a point. I'm not really sure. Many would argue
vehemently against that. I don't intend to apply colonialism analogies to
the prehistoric record anyway, so its really not my concern. I'm thinking
more about historical archaeology,

> It is a moral necessity to deal with it today.

Absolutely. And for this reason I am happy to see so many people theorizing
the colonialism of the past AND the present. I don't think we'll solve the
problem, but I certainly hope that we can shed some light on how to avoid it
in the future without completely destroying what already exists (but rather
performing some very exact ideological surgery).

Matt Tomaso
Department of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin