Hypertext: A Postcolonial/Postpositivist Paradigm

Patrick Nagle, English 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University (Fall 2006)

George P. Landow, in Hypertext 3.0, writes that hypertext can serve as a paradigm for understanding postcoloniality:

The value of hypertext as a paradigm exists in its essential multivocality, decentering, and redefinition of edges, borders, identities. As such, it provides a paradigm, a way of thinking about postcolonial issues, that continually serves to remind us of the complex factors at issue. (356)

Hypertext's decentered, multivocal aesthetic can also serve as a paradigm for postcolonial and feminist (sometimes together called postpositivist) sciences. Proponents of such sciences reject the primacy of Western science, which has constructed "rationality" in opposition to the feminine and primitive. Sandra Harding's thoughts on the subject coincide in many places with hypertext, including an emphasis on multivocality and linking:

Science is not singular, either in practice or in principle, as the strong form of the unity of science thesis held. Scientific elements are not even actually or ideally always "harmonious," as the weaker form of the thesis proposed. This multiplicity and discordance are both problematic and fortuitous. It can be useful to link together different kinds of observations and discordant theories as, for example, Darwin did . . . . Moreover, such discordances mark the valuable distinctive positional, interest, discursive, and organizational resources that different fields, disciplines, and cultures bring to their attempts to understand their allotted or chosen environments. (153)

Harding's vision of science is one that can link its disparate elements together to make a culturally richer science than what we currently have in the West.


Works Cited

Last modified 18 December 2006