The Colonial cringe in academia

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    When I lived in Abu Dhabi, I once visited a university in another Middle Eastern country. As part of the visit I did a guest lecture about my research, I met with colleagues to discuss our joint research interests and collaboration opportunities, and … I had to fill in a report form about my person and my visit for the local bureaucracy. In the spot for “Affiliation” I put down “Zayed University,” the UAE university I was affiliated with. As I did so, the admin officer who was looking over my shoulder, said to my hosts “I thought she’s from Australia.” Ooops! Everyone seemed to think I was an impostor and for a moment I felt like one. Then, one of my hosts kindly asked me to replace “Zayed University, Abu Dhabi” with “Macquarie University, Sydney” because that was “much more prestigious with the higher-ups.” I was reminded of this little episode where my value as a visiting academic seemed to lie more in the fact that I was affiliated with a Western institution than anything else I might have had to offer when I read Esmat Babaii’s recent article about “self-marginalization.” In the tradition of postcolonial criticism, the researcher examines how the colonial cringe plays out in academia. If you thought that the colonial cringe is a thing of the past, or that academics are less likely to be affected than other members of post-colonial/non-Western/peripheral societies, think again!
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationLanguage on the move
    PublisherLanguage on the move
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2010

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
    • 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)


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