Revealing the Hegemonologue

  • J. Marshall Beier


My earliest inkling of a personal connection to colonialism came at the age of seven or eight. Enrolled in the Wolf Cubs of Canada (a junior section of the Boy Scouts), I returned from a weekend outing with a comic book that told the tale of how Robert Baden-Powell came to found the World Scouting Movement. During his service in the Boer War, Baden-Powell had enlisted the assistance of boys to scout in support of the British regulars defending Mafeking. The comic book graphically portrayed the story of these predecessors of the Boy Scouts and how they distinguished themselves in the war. I remember being fascinated by the illustrations that were used to tell the story: images of heroic battles in faraway places, of splendidly uniformed British troops and fierce-looking deep-purple-skinned Zulu warriors. I had a vague sense that my own little Wolf Cub uniform connected me to all of this and, from that day on, I saw our weekly pledge—that included the promise to do our duty to God and the Queen1—in a rather different light. Of course, this was neither my first nor my most profound confrontation with the legacies of colonialism. Indeed, as a preschooler, a favorite record was an audio play of the life of American frontier icon Davy Crockett in which he triumphed over the dangers of the “wilderness,”. battled hostile “Indians,” and was sent to Congress—all the elements of an epic story of the righteous conquest and civilization of North America.


Indigenous People International Relation Comic Book Oppositional Politics Binary Opposition 
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  1. 3.
    See also Ward Churchill’s essay, “White Studies: The Intellectual Imperialism of U.S. Higher Education” (Churchill 1995).Google Scholar
  2. 15.
    This is the order in which they are treated in dedicated chapters. Others, like Derrida and Jean-François Lyotard, are indicted along the way (Sokal and Bricmont 1997). An English-language version was subsequently published as Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science (New York: Picador, 1998).Google Scholar
  3. 16.
    In a similar context, R.B.J. Walker notes of a common indictment of poststructuralism that it “is invariably issued in the name of objectivity and universal standards, although it is the historically constituted nature of the capacity to issue the indictment in the first place that post-structuralism has sought to challenge ” (Walker 1993: 96–97)Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    In any event, as Jim George points out, “The charge of normativism or subjectivism… has a pejorative sting only if one has already framed the pursuit of… knowledge in objectivist terms: in other words, if the normative or subjective is represented as the negative side of a subject/object dichotomy” (George 1995: 208).Google Scholar
  5. 27.
    For Levinas, this view enabled a recovery of the politics inherent in the bystander’s refuge in an ostensibly apolitical distancing of the Self from the violences visited upon the Other. Applying this idea to the war in Bosnia, Campbell finds that “there is no circumstance under which we could declare that it was not our concern” (Campbell 1998: 176).Google Scholar

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© J. Marshall Beier 2005

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  • J. Marshall Beier

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