The Death of Postcolonialism: The Founder’s Foreword


  • Mohamed Salah Eddine Madiou Memorial University



postcolonialism, decolonial studies, Gayatri Spivak, Edward Said, postcolonial studies


Postcolonialism stands today in flagrant contradiction with its mission. This assertion should scarcely come as a surprise. Come to think of it: what has postcolonialism done to colonization in the past few decades, save passively reflecting on it and its realities that often do not fit the reality of things? How much leeway does postcolonialism give its critic in expressing opposition to colonization? And how does it rate as a field for serious decolonization? As a start toward answering these questions, or coming close to answering them, the following pages offer a commentary on how I feel about postcolonialism. I will confine myself to one particular reason I consider postcolonialism a dismal failure, which is incontestable and will hopefully startle the dull reader into alertness. I prefer here simple words with a direct message and no opaque subtleties.

Author Biography

Mohamed Salah Eddine Madiou, Memorial University

Mohamed Salah Eddine Madiou is a researcher and British Council medal-winning debater. He interned at the Foreign Commonwealth Office on “counter-extremism,” was nominated for 2018 Youth Creativity Award and 2018 Award for Youth Empowerment, and received various government-sponsored grants for youth projects and his first PhD programme at the University of Jordan. He is currently doing his second PhD in English Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland.


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1990. The Logic of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 1999. “Marx & Sons.” In Ghostly Demarcations: A Symposium on Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx, edited by Michael Sprinker, 213-269. London: Verso.

—. 1994. Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International. Translated by Peggy Kamuf. New York: Routledge.

Derrida, Jacques, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, and Jean Luc Nancy. 2006. “Dialogue entre Jacques Derrida, Philipe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy.” Presse universitaire de France (52): 86-99.

Dirlik, Arif. 1994. “The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism.” Critical Inquiry 20 (2): 328-356.

Ginsberg, Terri. 2016. Visualizing the Palestinian Struggle: Towards a Critical Analytic of Palestine Solidarity Film. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hall, Stuart. 1990. “The Emergence of Cultural Studies and the Crisis of the Humanities.” The Humanities as Social Technology 53: 11-23.

Hamdi, Tahrir. 2017. “Edward Said, Postcolonialism and Palestine’s Contested Spaces.” Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies 16 (1): 7-25. https:// 10.3366/ hlps. 2017. 0150.

Hill, Marc Lamont. 2018. “Marc Lamont Hill at UN calls for ‘Free Palestine from the River to the Sea’ to chorus of applause.” Youtube. Video, 21:37. UN Watch. https://www

Madiou, Mohamed Salah Eddine. 2020. “Orientalism, a Thousand and one Times: A Tale of Two Perspectives.” Islamic Studies 59 (3): 285–317.

—. 2021. “Warientalism, or the Carrier of Firewood.” Arab Studies Quarterly 43 (2): 121-145.

McClintock, Anne. 1993. “The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term ‘Post-colonialism’.” In Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory: A Reader, edited by Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman, 291-304. London: Longman.

Mishra, Vijay, and Bob Hodge. 2005. “What Was Postcolonialism?” New Literary History 36 (3): 375-402.

—. 1993. “What is Post(-)colonialism?” In Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory: A Reader, edited by Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman, 276-290. London: Longman.

Said, Edward. 1994. Representations of the Intellectual. New York: Vintage Books.

—. 1983. The World, the Text and the Critic. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Sartre, Jean Paul. 1963. Preface to The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz Fanon, 7-31. New York: Grove Press.

Williams, Patrick. 2015. “Gaps, Silences and Absences: Palestine and Postcolonial Studies.” In What Postcolonial Theory Doesn’t Say, edited by Anna Bernard, Ziad Elmarsafy, and Stuart Murray, 87-104. New York: Routledge.

Žižek, Slavoj. 1994. “The Specter of Ideology.” In Mapping Ideology, edited by Slavoj Žižek, 1-33. London: Verso.