ABSTRACT

Critiques leveled at epistemic decolonization call for a reorientation in theories of colonialism. The colonial imagination, a rhetorical tool that normalizes a sensible order of dispossession and appropriation, can be a reoriented site of contestation. By imagining an identity whose only means of relating is through opposition, the colonial imagination renders identities that inhabit a state of solitude. Two letters from Hernán Cortés to King Carlos V of Spain show how this colonial imagining aims to normalize dispossession and appropriation of the relations Originary peoples have with lands, waters, airs, and other-than-human relatives. Considering this argument, rhetorical studies needs to readjust its analytical timeframe beyond the times of settler-colonial nation-states and colonization.

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