The term “worlding” was first introduced, in Postcolonial Studies, by Gayatri Spivak in her essay “The Rani of Simur: An Essay in Reading the Archive,” where she explains how the colonized space is transformed as “the colonized space” (worlding) for the natives by their colonial masters through the acts such as cartography, writing, or simply traveling over the colonized land.

In the essay Spivak discusses three different kinds of British archives that cause the “worlding” of the native world for the natives of a colonized space. The most significant example, in our context, is that of the lone British officer traveling with his attendant and “recording” and mapping his experiences as he travels. In Spivak’s view, this power to travel and record is what forces the accompanying native to cathect the colonized space according to the representation of the master. In other words, an act of catectation involves investing one’s own desires and imagination in the actions or acts of those one considers one’s superior. In this case, the lone British officer and his recording and mapping of the native Indian land makes the native servant see and experience his own native land as imagined, recorded, and controlled by his master. In this way, then, in Spivak’s words “He (the British officer) is engaged in consolidating the self of Europe by obliging the native to cathect the space of the Other on his home ground.” [meaning, as pointed out above, that the native starts seeing his own home territory as belonging to his master]

On a more sophisticated level this process of worlding the world plays an important role in the imperial educational system, in which the natives not only learn of their own land as belonging to their colonial masters but also start seeing themselves as they are recorded and represented by their masters.


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