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Locke And Postcolonialism

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Chapter Summary

Locke once held an undisputed position as the philosopher of liberty and equality, but has increasingly been replaced in the scholarly literature by John Locke the philosopher of inequality, social hierarchy, colonial oppression and slavery. This change in Locke's status is relevant to his use of travel literature because he is held to have derived negative views of Native Americans from travel books such as those by Richard Hakluyt, Samuel Purchas, John Smith and Francis Drake. Locke's philosophy is one of those 'foundational discourses' that have come under attack from postcolonialist, postmodern and poststructuralist theorists. All the arguments contained in this list of charges against Locke are a-historical and tend to have little regard for the historically specific forms that either slavery or colonialism took over the centuries. The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina has to bear a lot of weight in the post-colonial argument.

Keywords: a-historical; English colonial slavery; Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina; Locke's philosophy; postcolonialism; travel literature



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