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Colonial discourse as a Somebody Else’s Problem ( SEP) field: Reading Life, the Universe and Everything as a postcolonial text

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This article acknowledges the established links between popular/science fiction and colonialism and identifies a gap in the body of knowledge; the link between science fiction and Australian colonialism. It begins by indicating how this gap affects the way we view both the colonized and the colonizer before going on to show how this blind spot can be revealed using literary analysis. The article begins with a textual analysis of Douglas Adams' Life the Universe and Everything to demonstrate how it can be read as a post colonial text, then the work of prominent cultural and critical theorists is drawn upon to demonstrate why it should be read as a postcolonial text. This is achieved by first showing that the text is clearly a reflection and explanation of the effects of, and workings behind, colonial discourse. We then go on to address the question of why it is important that this text, which is often labeled as comedic science fiction, is in fact making a poignant political comment on the effects and inner workings of colonial discourse, that it succeeds in bringing postcolonial theory into the present, appropriating the contemporary connotations of science fiction and the accessibility of popular comedy, in order to enable a wide and varied audience to become aware of their own blind spot when it comes to the subject of colonialism.

Keywords: Australia; Douglas Adams; colonial discourse; colonialism; critical theory; postcolonialism; science fiction; stolen generations

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Independent Scholar

Publication date: 2013-06-01

More about this publication?
  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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