Trope In David Spurr's The Rhetoric Of Empire

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It has become a common knowledge that the colonial discourse occurs on many levels . Some of these levels might be formal (government bureaucrats), others might be literary or social (travel writers and Western journalists). However, regardless of where this discourse may occur, it is darted for the purpose of the denigration and the demonization of the “Other” to a large extent. This process of besmirching the other serves the goal of legitimizing colonialism. In an attempt to make the wiles of this discourse easily pinpointed, David Spurr’s The Rhetoric of Empire identifies twelve tropes according to which the “Other” has been delineated. Surveillance, classification, and affirmation are deemed of the most important tropes that have been used from the heyday of colonialism up to the current era. While tackling the…show more content…
The yellow race which is stigmatized by passivity and laziness.
3. The black race which is distinguished by its animal-like mannerism.
Following the same line of thought, Charles Darwin talks about “the survival of the fittest”, that is ranking Non-Europeans at the bottom of the an assumed hierarchy because of their backwardness in terms of technology and scientific development. Accordingly, and as stated in Spurr’s Rhetoric of Empire, the political system and technology are the two criteria of valuation . These two ideas –that of Darwin and that of Gobineau were appropriated by the ideology of colonialism under the guise of what is commonly known as “civilizing mission”. The ethnographic Edgar Thurston showed ‘a heavy reliance on anthropometric measurements for the classification of various tribes into a hierarchical pyramid .’This anthropometric measurement can be easily pinpointed as it is extremely rife in colonial writings. This impulse was above all ‘a search for convincing visual signs of difference in which the ability to visualize a culture or society almost becomes synonymous to understanding

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