Volume 12, Issue 1, 2015
Allegories of Imperialism: Barbarians and World Cultures
The Fearful Merging of Self and Other: Intra-civilizational and Inter-civilizational Colonial Cultures in Richard E. Kim’s Lost Names
Although most colonisations have been invasions of territory by neighbouring peoples with similar appearances, languages, and customs, postcolonial theory
is dominated by cases of inter-civilizational imperialism between the West and the non-West. This article argues that a new theoretical framework is needed to describe intra-civilizational colonial encounters because the psychological conflicts of the intra-civilizational colonial sphere and their political ramifications function differently to those described in postcolonial theory. Drawing on Nobel Prize nominee Richard E. Kim’s memoir of growing up in Korea during the Japanese Occupation, this article explicates the primary differences between the two forms of colonialism with reference to Homi Bhabha’s theories of hybridity and mimicry. It argues that without a visible racial difference between coloniser and colonised, hybridity and mimicry are imperial strategies of assimilation rather than native strategies of resistance and that the growth of cultural nationalism is a logical response.