Last quarter in my colonial literature course, we had an abstract book project assignment and it was, by far, one of my favorite projects of the quarter.
We were to take a post-colonial theorist and apply it to a colonial or post-colonial text and arrange our analysis in the form of a book. This book could have been made from an existing book or we could make the book from scratch.
My group chose to make the book from scratch, and what we came up with was rather obscure, but hey, if you say “abstract” to me, I’m going to take abstract as literally as possible.
My group decided to take the four theorist we read in our post-colonial literature class along with four post-colonial stories we’ve read and analyze them alongside the colonial text, Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell. The themes from the post-colonial stories in our class would match with the themes we pulled out of the story Shooting an Elephant. And, for the hell of it, we all decided to use found poetry as a way of appropriating the texts for our own purposes just as colonialism appropriated the goods, culture, and natives of the colony for their own purposes.
All of this analysis, of course, would take place in a hand-bound book that would fold out to look like an elephant.
I did say abstract, right?