Colonialism and Post-Colonial Studies with Matthew Rosen
The history behind teaching 7th grade humanities
Long before Broadway’s HAMILTON made Colonial America hip, LREI had its own hip and happening colonial studies scholar. Matthew Rosen, now in his 14th year as a seventh grade teacher at LREI, teaches early U.S. History through the lens of colonial settlement in North America and the impact on culture and community; curriculum he developed at LREI stemming from his lifelong interest in the topics.
Matthew’s enthusiasm for what he describes as “the interface of European culture with indigenous and transplanted peoples” has deep personal meaning for him. His mother hails from the island of Trinidad, by way of India, both controlled by Britain until the middle of the 20th Century. His mother’s experience of being a post-colonial person from a colonial period, and the hold that colonialism has over her as a post-colonial subject, attracted him to the works of V.S. Naipaul, the Trinidadian-born, Nobel Prize-winning Indian novelist of such books as The Mimic Men (1967), Guerrillas (1975) and The Enigma of Arrival (1987).
Naipaul so captured Matthew’s head and heart that he chose to pursue a Masters in English Literature in the field of Post-Colonial Studies at NYU. In addition to his thesis, which examines select works of Naipaul in the context of post-colonial shame and desire, Matthew is also finalizing a literary piece with an NYU Naipaul scholar, an opportunity that thrills him.
“Loss, exchange, and gain formed at the end of a colonial era, leading to the reconstitution of community and identity,” Matthew smiles, “that is endlessly fascinating to me.”