2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Hegemony versus Tradition: The Power of Colonialism in Things Fall Apart
James N. Collins
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Chinua Achebe’s 1959 novel, Things Fall Apart, illustrates colonialism’s impact on the Igbo people in West Africa around the turn of the twentieth-century. The Igbo struggle with two types of cultural integration through their conflict with the British military and Christian missionaries. This dual process of assimilation undermines the cultural core of the village and eventually leads to the usurpation of traditional values by western ideals. The British military’s aggressiveness the Igbo are ill-prepared to deal with, their hierarchical system of titles made obsolete by the British. The missionaries’ acceptance of outcasts, elimination of the village hierarchy, and addition of churches, hospitals, and schools, proves attractive to the Igbo. This paper, then, will examine the ways in which the subsequent rejection of their tradition amid the process of westernization effectively brings about the destruction of Igbo culture and society.

Keywords: colonialism, Igbo, Achebe, assimilation, westernization, tradition, Christianity


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 6-4
Location: OP 2115
Time: 9:00 am

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