Left Wing Literary Theory

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If you are writing an essay and you don't know what to write about... throw in some left wing literary theory! I'm serious, teachers and professors everyone love it! There are tons and tons of different kinds of literary theories, but for the sake of this article, let's focus on just "queer theory" and "post colonial theory." Also, just to clarify the therm "queer" is considered offensive, so try to avoid using it in casual conversations. However, with that said...the name for this literary type of theory seems to have not been updated yet. 

Queer theory was based on feminism and LGBTQ studies. It began developing within the 1970s and fully emerged within the 1990s. Queer theory states that identities are not fixed and attempts to expose the fluid and socially constructed character of sexual identities. The appropriation of the abusive word queer is meant to draw attention, in an ironic way, to the repressive character of social discourses surrounding sexuality. Queer theory is used interchangeably with lesbian/gay studies. However, there is a distinction between the two. Queer theory focuses to include any kind of sexual activity or identity that falls into normative and abnormal categories. While lesbian and gay studies focuses on natural and unnatural behavior according to sexualities.

Major contributors to queer theory include: Teresa de Lauretis (for creating the phrase queer theory), Judith Butler (for her works on gender/sexuality including Gender Trouble), Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Michel Foucault. Queer theory also largely focuses on the distinction between sex/gender, gender roles, gender socialization, and identity politics. Sex and gender differ as gender is a social construct whereas sex is determined solely on biological characteristic. Gender roles are the accepted behaviors, thoughts, and emotions of a specific gender based upon the views of a particular society or culture. Gender socialization Patterns of behaviour taught to children and adults in order to help them learn to behave as acceptable females or males. It begins at birth via naming, clothing, and treatment of the infant, and it continues to be taught and reinforced throughout life within most social institutions. Identity politics is the strategic assertion of unity, defined by characteristics such as race, culture, ethnicity, or sexuality. Identity politics challenge prevailing power structures by demanding recognition and the extension of majority rights to minority groups. 

Post colonial theory is a literary theory that focuses on the perspectives of colonizers (not just limited to history/countries) and those that are being colonized. This includes the peoples, cultures, traditions, and customs. Post colonial theory takes into consideration the author’s viewpoint, whether it is the colonizers or the colonized. It deals with cultural identity in colonized societies. This includes: the dilemma of developing identity, the ways things change after colonization, and the change of class and hierarchy in society.  

Terms that are significant to post colonial theory include:

Alterity: when an individual does not possess a norm amongst their community.

Hybridity: relates to the induction of some of the colonizer customs into the culture of the colonized.

Eurocentrism: emphasizing European concerns, cultures, and values in relation to those of other cultures.

Countries that are very significant to post colonial theory include as Britain, France, Spain, etc. They are one of the major global colonizers in terms of a historical context.

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Left Wing Literary Theory
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