Resisting Colonialist Discourse

Zawiah Yahya had served at different times between 1979 and 2004 as head of department, faculty dean, professor of postcolonial literature and critical theory, and  guest scholar, at the Faculty of Language Studies (now School of Language Studies and Linguistics), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). She was an Asian Public Intellectuals (API) Senior Fellow before taking up the present position at the Institute of Occidental Studies (IKON), UKM in 2012.

UKM Press (2003)
236 pages


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Zawiah Yahya’s Resisting Colonialist Discourse stands out as an astute and resonant contribution to postcolonial studies.

It is local and specific in its focus, concentrating on the analysis of literary texts representative of British colonialist constructions of Malaysia in the early (1890s), mid (1920s) and late (1950s) periods of British rule. This focus is appropriate to its thesis that specific and diverse “native” readings of colonialist writings are both valid and desirable – the supposed universal meaning attributed traditionally to such texts by eurocentric literary criticism is shown to be deeply implicated in the whole project of justifying imperial control.

Zawiah’s book succeeds splendidly in fashioning and employing tools for reading high-culture colonialist texts from her own native perspective. Zawiah has not only given us a virtuoso performance, but also left us with an intriguing direction sign.

Vin D’Cruz and William Steele The New Straits Times, 8 May 1996

Long overdue has been a critique on the stereotyping of Oriental women in Western works of fiction especially those written during the high noon of colonialism.

A reply has at last appeared in the form of a book presented by Zawiah Yahya from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Mazlan Nordin The New Straits Times, 15 December 1995

Weight 0.350 kg
Dimensions 15.2 × 1.2 × 22.7 cm




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