PDA

View Full Version : Tau and Post colonial theory



cornonthecob
18-10-2012, 10:08
Ok i'm in university at the moment and doing some work on post-colonial theory. Looking at 40k the only real post colonial race seems to be the Tau. Everyone else either doesn't care about subjugating other species only on killing them.

The Imperium seems to only care about your culture as long as it involves emperor worship, not really enough of a change to do an essay on, wheras the Tau will integrate you, as long as you follow their ideals , their rules and if you dont then things happen.

The only resources I know that mention some of the darker elements of 'the greater good' are the Deathwatch RPG guides and the Dawn of War video game.

Is there more official work that states the dark side of the tau ?

Banville
18-10-2012, 10:36
The trouble with Post Colonial Theory is that it is Post Colonial Theory. You'd be analysing cultures, society and literature that springs from the experience of being a colony. Unless you can find a Vespid who writes political theses or poetry subtly subverting the tau language then, i fear you're on barren ground with this one.

One thing you could do, which does tie in with post-colonial theory is explore the idea of "The Other" in 40k. The British press were big into portraying native people as animals and drew on Darwin to back up their theories. Punch magazine was a particularly gross offender in this regard. You could maybe analyse how the Imperium/Inquisition sees aliens as "filthy xenos" and people who don't buy into the cult of the emperor as heretics. The treatment of psykers and mutants might be worthy of consideration as they satnd for outsiders who might threaten the status quo.

And stuff.

harlekin
18-10-2012, 11:05
Ok i'm in university at the moment and doing some work on post-colonial theory. Looking at 40k the only real post colonial race seems to be the Tau. Everyone else either doesn't care about subjugating other species only on killing them.

The Imperium seems to only care about your culture as long as it involves emperor worship, not really enough of a change to do an essay on, wheras the Tau will integrate you, as long as you follow their ideals , their rules and if you dont then things happen.


Well I'd say, emperor worship and "the greater good" are somewhat similar as they are the prime bonding between the quite differing societies the imperium involves, such as the very different species (how far this is a construct as "race" can be discussed... the elements involved in the Tau-Empire are even more distinct frome ach other thenb every possible human societies in 40k). So I question the Tau-Empire being a postcolonial society - they have a prime agenda with "eat or die" - attitude as well.

Imho the interesting and somewhat "shocking" idea behind the imperium of man is, that the cruelest regime imaginable is necessary in front of an even more hostile galaxy.
The Tau are pretty pragmatic, too - regarding the dark side of the Tau, I'd take the hint for the vespid-mother helmets being mindcontrolling engines.

At last - great thing you have to do during your studies, I had it myself and it consider it as very important subject :D.

Banville
18-10-2012, 11:20
P.S. Post-Colonial theory emphasises the projection of undesirable aspects of the larger coloniser onto the colonised. Here you can go into the fact that the Kroot cannibalism is seen by the Imperium as an indication of savagery whereas the Emperor himself is a type of "Psychic cannibal." This is very like the way that European explorers depicted African tribes in order to justify their subjugation/annihilation.

The Tau do the same to civilisations that they feel are less "enlightened" by their idea of The greater Good. In this respect, they are very similar to both the 40K Imperium and European Colonial Powers

Beppo1234
18-10-2012, 11:47
I TA'd uni for 2 years... so just a tip: unless you are in a pop-culture course of some sort, referencing 40k is nothing but filler for introductions and conclusions. It's nothing more than an interesting pretty reference if you are doing a serious academic paper, and has no real bearing on anything, because it is fiction. I'm not saying: 'don't mention it', but it shouldn't be something that plays in the body of your essay, unless as I said, you are in a specific type of course that I would classify as a pop culture course.

Lord Damocles
18-10-2012, 11:51
Dawn of War video game.
Dawn of War: Dark Crusade is a pretty terrible reference in this case, because the Tau ending is non-canonical (the Blood Ravens win), and the suggestion that the Tau sterilised the human population reveals a surprising lack of understanding of human reproduction (males and females are put into seperate camps; thus no humpety-bumpety).

Banville
18-10-2012, 11:53
I TA'd uni for 2 years... so just a tip: unless you are in a pop-culture course of some sort, referencing 40k is nothing but filler for introductions and conclusions. It's nothing more than an interesting pretty reference if you are doing a serious academic paper, and has no real bearing on anything, because it is fiction. I'm not saying: 'don't mention it', but it shouldn't be something that plays in the body of your essay, unless as I said, you are in a specific type of course that I would classify as a pop culture course.

Hear, hear.

Kakapo42
18-10-2012, 11:55
The Tau do the same to civilisations that they feel are less "enlightened" by their idea of The greater Good. In this respect, they are very similar to both the 40K Imperium and European Colonial Powers

Erm.. I don't recall the Tau doing all that much to the cultures of the factions they include in their sphere of influence. The Kroot under Tau jurisdiction (not all of them are, a few kindreds exist outside Tau territory as mercenaries) can and do still consume defeated enemies. The Tau very much don't like that they do, considering it gross, and they hope that one day in the future the Kroot will stop, but they do nothing to actually hasten that and largely leave the Kroot to their own devices. The same general thing applies to other groups as well. Guevessa can still follow the Imperial Creed even (just not so much the 'suffer not the xenos to live' parts), as long as they don't go causing trouble in the Empire and they pay their taxes.

Banville
18-10-2012, 12:08
Erm.. I don't recall the Tau doing all that much to the cultures of the factions they include in their sphere of influence. The Kroot under Tau jurisdiction (not all of them are, a few kindreds exist outside Tau territory as mercenaries) can and do still consume defeated enemies. The Tau very much don't like that they do, considering it gross, and they hope that one day in the future the Kroot will stop, but they do nothing to actually hasten that and largely leave the Kroot to their own devices. The same general thing applies to other groups as well. Guevessa can still follow the Imperial Creed even (just not so much the 'suffer not the xenos to live' parts), as long as they don't go causing trouble in the Empire and they pay their taxes.

Those "helmets" they gifted to the Vespid are just fancy hats for weddings and funerals, then, hmmm?......

Baneboss
18-10-2012, 13:38
Dawn of War: Dark Crusade is a pretty terrible reference in this case, because the Tau ending is non-canonical (the Blood Ravens win), and the suggestion that the Tau sterilised the human population reveals a surprising lack of understanding of human reproduction (males and females are put into seperate camps; thus no humpety-bumpety).

In Deathwatch RPG it says Tau sterilises humans and abducts those that go against the greater good as if they never existed.
Tau have just gotten a pretty dark side.

Kakapo42
19-10-2012, 10:05
Those "helmets" they gifted to the Vespid are just fancy hats for weddings and funerals, then, hmmm?......

Not at all, they're packed full of translator microbes, Babel fish and other universal translation equipment and communications gear, so that the Vespid can actually understand what they're saying (first contact between the Tau and Vespid broke down due to a significant language barrier, and the helms were the result).

Banville
19-10-2012, 21:19
Not at all, they're packed full of translator microbes, Babel fish and other universal translation equipment and communications gear, so that the Vespid can actually understand what they're saying (first contact between the Tau and Vespid broke down due to a significant language barrier, and the helms were the result).

Ah, the naivety of youth. Read into it a bit more.

Aryllon
19-10-2012, 21:26
Ah, the naivety of youth. Read into it a bit more.

AKA, be more cynical ;)

The bearded one
19-10-2012, 23:53
AKA, be more cynical ;)

Eeeexactly ;) It all boils down to how you want to read it. I believe the current codex mentions something along the lines of ''thusfar it has not been proven the helmets are a form of mindcontrol''.

Although I suppose kudo's to the GW writer who wrote it in such a way you could either read it straightforward, or could read it more cynically 'oh, so after they used those helmets the vespid joined eh? mhhhmmm'

ForgottenLore
20-10-2012, 00:44
I believe the current codex mentions something along the lines of ''thusfar it has not been proven the helmets are a form of mindcontrol''.


Its not even that explicit. The codex says the Vespid wholeheartedly joined the empire once the communication interface was developed, that all their leaders wear one of the helms, and that "It has been whispered" those two facts are connected.

OgreBattle
20-10-2012, 01:08
"We must at present do our best to form a class,who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect."
-Macaulay, British Secretary at War, on how to pacify the Indians after the Sepoy Rebellion

Games Workshop is a British company so they know all about the history of being colonial bastards. The mind control helmets fits in. The Tau would not even think of it as mind-control, it's just part of "civilizing" the alien.

Lord Damocles
20-10-2012, 20:03
Its not even that explicit. The codex says the Vespid wholeheartedly joined the empire once the communication interface was developed, that all their leaders wear one of the helms, and that "It has been whispered" those two facts are connected.
Not that that would be at all unusual - the ability to communicate is linked to integration; Shocking! :p