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Colonization, Decolonization and Postcolonialism: An Interdisciplinary Guide

Supports research in Indigenous Studies, History, Political Science, Women's and Gender Studies and Literary Studies.


Welcome to the research guide for the study of Colonization, Decolonization and Postcolonialism. The ongoing processes of and issues emanating from the colonization and subsequent decolonization of regions formerly dominated by European powers are numerous, complex, far-reaching and controversial, and touch upon research across all disciplines, requiring diverse theoretical models and approaches in order to identify, recognize and understand them. Because of this, not every aspect relevant to such research will be covered in this libguide; users are encouraged to consult other guides, such as those related to Indigenous Studies, History and Political Science.

Use the tabs on the left of this guide to explore Library materials by format. This Library Research Guide recommends or provides access to;

  • Encyclopedias and other reference sources for brief, general information about your topic.
  • Library of Congress Subject Headings for searching for terms in the UW Library Catalogue
  • Library of Congress Call Numbers for browsing books on the shelves
  • Electronic databases and scholarly journals for locating peer-reviewed articles
  • Primary documents [as defined in your field]
  • External organizations and websites

If you need extra research assistance, you may email the librarians responsible for History (Michael Dudley,, Indigenous Studies (Danielle Bitz, and Political Science (Sam Popowich, 



From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

From the entry, Colonialism:
"Colonialism as a broad concept that refers to the project of European political domination from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries that ended with the national liberation movements of the 1960s. Post-colonialism will be used to describe the political and theoretical struggles of societies that experienced the transition from political dependence to sovereignty.

In the humanities, postcolonial theory tends to reflect the influence of poststructuralist thought, while theorists of decolonization focus on social history, economics, and political institutions. Whereas postcolonial theory is associated with the issues of hybridity, diaspora, representation, narrative, and knowledge/power, theories of decolonization are concerned with revolution, economic inequality, violence, and political identity."

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