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    The Role of Myth and Representation in the Origins of Colonialism

    Crotty, Kenneth (2004) The Role of Myth and Representation in the Origins of Colonialism. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This work is an historical examination of how the ‘Other’, currently the field of much current postcolonial study and discussion, came to arrive at its current social and cultural location within Europe in 1600, when originally it was a conceptualised inversion of common identity denoting a sacred state in the mythology of ancient Greece. Thus, the primary aim of this thesis is the exploration of those changes in original European ideas of identity that what would later become the legitimisation for the operations of colonialism and imperialism. This arrival and interpretation was, in the first instance, caused by the impact of both the resurgence of classical and ancient learning and the ensuing European voyages of discovery. In a Europe that still held the Bible as a source for all authoritive knowledge and was, therefore, in the midst of a deeply introspective re-examination and reinterpretation of itself via the cultural changes that the Renaissance and later Humanism both engendered and enabled, these factors acting in conjunction catalysed and stimulated the development of a newer psychological construction of ‘self5-hood. These were necessary transformations in an age where the individual and his role in society, and society itself, were under intense pressure to change as a result of Europe’s new curiousity and changing worldview. It was this change in the idea of the ‘self that also resulted in a necessary and ensuing development of the original ‘Other’ in prototype form in the time period 1400 to 1500.1 have chosen to explore this topic through the Portuguese search for a Christian ally against a pervasive Islamic threat. That quest has come to be known in history as the search for ‘the Prester John’, my reason being that in the subsequent attempts at identification and location of the Prester John Europe was forced to combine classical and ancient learning with reinterpretations of the Bible and whatever ‘new’ geographical information was being brought back into Europe by travellers, merchants, soldiers and pilgrims. In short, it was within the remit of this search that Europe first had to learn to separate contemporary and verified facts from ancient and revered myths and fictions, and in historically examining that search a broader and deeper interpretation of the changes that Europe was undergoing is available.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Myth; Representation; Origins of Colonialism;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > History
    Item ID: 5310
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2014 10:48
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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