Masculinity, Mimicry and the Crisis of Agency in the Colonial Contact-zone: A Study of George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”


Avishek Parui reflects upon Homi Bhabha’s concept of mimicry in the colonial contact-zone, to explore the history of twentieth-century British imperial masculinity as it was produced and perpetuated for colonial control. The literary theory corresponding to colonial and gendered experience and expectations is interrogated in relation to George Orwell’s essay ‘Shooting an Elephant’, exploring the ways in which the politics of masculinity and masculine performance meant to mimic and conform to the machinery of imperialism.

This lecture was recorded as part of Easter Lectures Day 2014, when postgraduate researchers delivered fresh insights into key undergraduate exam topics. Easter Lectures Day was organised by Laura McKenzie.

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