1. a. The action, practice, or art of copying or closely imitating, or (in early use) of reproducing through mime; esp. imitation of the speech or mannerisms of another in order to entertain or ridicule.
b. An act, instance, or mode of copying or imitating; a product of imitation, a copy.
2. Biol. The close external resemblance of an animal or plant (or part of one) to another, or to an inanimate object; a similar resemblance between parts or features.
Mimicry in Bhabha's essay is defined through its ambivalence, or doubt, where the "other" gains its power through the duplicity of visualization in regards to colonialism. Bhabha discusses James Mills's History of India with Christianity being introduced into India's caste system, where Christianity acts as a form of "social control. Mills quotes, "that 'partial reform' will produce an empty form of 'the imitation [my emphasis' of English manners which will induce them [the colonial subjects] to remain under our protection.'"
Bhabha goes on to discusses how "mimicry repeats rather than re-presents" and how the "menace of mimicry is double vision which in disclosing the ambivalence of colonial discourse also disrupts its authority."
I couldn't help but think of Freud's Uncanny when reading Bhabha's Of Mimicry and Men in the form of the doppelganger and the double. However here the fear isn't finding an imitation of oneself, but by juxtaposing English culture, religion and mannerisms onto another culture, in order to "civilize" it.
2 years ago