Klor on Colonialism in Latin America

According to Klor, colonialism is a confusing concept in the Latin American case and this is because of the founding concepts of the established meaning of colonialism. He argued that neither colonialism nor post colonialism is “ applicable to the set of policies and practices that defined the historical experience of nonindigenous Latin or Anglo America.” (Klor, 241) He questions the use of the term colonialism and how it’s application in different context/time periods has been varying. One set that differentiates and complicates the classical use of ‘colonialism’ in Latin American case is the hybridity/mestizaje of individuals. Klor quotes Ann Stoler who describes mestizaje as “an internal frontier in a perpetual state of creation and decomposition.” (Klor, 243) In other words, the creation of new cultures combined with new identities resulting from sexual intercourse between the natives and the colonizer, resulted in ambiguous boundaries between the colonized and the colonizer. Because Latin America has gone through different periods of colonialism, different forms of colonialism have created differing sense of mestazije. Even those who were not in direct contact with the colonizers were greatly reduced and weakened, socially and politically. On the other hand, the mestizos sought to differentiate themselves from the mongrels and there was the resulting denigration of the ‘Indian’ as powerless. Klor also used a classic example of the civil wars and how the civil wars in the Americas did not lead to a well defined ‘post-colonial’ states.
Americas, as former parts of empires, which, after a series of civil wars, separated themselves politically and economically but not culturally, or socially from metropoles cannot be characterized as either another Asia or Africa.
Another great argument that Klor makes is the use of colonialism as a “strategic label.” Different subaltern groups have used colonialism as a way to identify with the experiences that differentiate them from the outsiders/colonizers. Strategic label in the Latin American colonial discourse is so distinct in the sense that different native groups with definite cultural practices were all together referred to as Indian. Klor argues, “no place else in the world does the polarization of indigenous on one side seem as natural as an ethnic descriptor.”
In Caribbean and in North America, the contact between the natives and the foreigners led to depopulation of the natives weakening the military and political oppositions. Klor argues that many scholars of the carribean and especially Mexico agree that the indigenous population had declined to just over a million in the 18th century. This is compared to almost half a million population in 1640. There is therefore some significant experience between the North American and the Caribbean.
In our group, we used the example of Kenya to compare the colonial experiences of different subaltern groups and specifically how different groups interacted with the colonizers. Kenya is made up of more than 40 ethnic groups and all the different groups have different distinct encounters, some having cooperated and others having resisted the colonial government from the start. The groups that opposed the foreigners were therefore marginalized and were heavily weakened politically and economically. Others enjoyed relative peace and were in good terms with the colonial government. Although different groups experienced different encounters, there are no extensive cases of hybridity. Colonizers were not interested with the culture and because the time of contact was also limited compared with the Latin American case, the narratives of the colon

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