Lit Think Podcast
Chapter 3.4 - Girl Versus an Empire

Chapter 3.4 - Girl Versus an Empire

How Ms. Marvel challenges stereotypes and embraces diverse historical narratives

Alicia and Sarah bring history and comic book nerddom together in their discussion of the Disney+ original series, Ms. Marvel. At the end of the discussion, they talk about the things they've been reading, watching, and analyzing outside of the classroom.

Literary terms of the week: others, differentness, unhomeliness

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Music by Craig Harmann

Cover art by Matt Holman

Show notes


Literary terms of the week (plus historical context):

  • Others: any person defined as different from the colonizers

  • Differentness: to become the Other. Postcolonial theory asserts that the colonized quickly become excluded from positions of power in their “conquered” society and are viewed as different and inferior by the colonizers.

  • Unhomeliness (double consciousness): “The feeling or perception of abandonment by both cultures causes the colonial subject (the colonized person) to become a psychological refugee. Because each psychological refugee uniquely blends his or her two cultures, no two writers who have been colonial subjects will interpret their culture(s) exactly alike.” -Peter L. Berger

  • Main questions of postcolonial literature:

    • Who is given power?

    • Who has power taken away?

  • Partition of India (according to

    • The Partition of India was one of the biggest mass migration events in history. Many families, Hindu and Muslim alike, were forced to leave their homes in India or the newly-made Pakistan and cross the border to the other side. British Occupied India was divided into India and Pakistan, with Pakistan in two areas, East and West Pakistan. East Pakistan would later become Bangladesh in 1971.

    • Sir Cyril Radcliffe—a British lawyer commissioned by the British colonial government who had never visited India before—drew the borders. August 14-15 are now celebratory days to commemorate India and Pakistan gaining their independence from the British and becoming sovereign states. However, the drawing of the new borders led to horrific violence as a result of tensions between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Partition led to the forced migration of up to 15 million people, and the deaths were estimated to number 2 million.

    • BBC article

Theme Development: 

  • African proverb: “Until the story of the hunt is told by the lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

  • Creative adaptation (original Pakistani Ms. Marvel graphic novel published in 2014

    • Ms Marvel has Kree-altered DNA (like original Captain Marvel) vs being a djinn in TV series

    • “The young are seen as a political burden, a public nuisance. They are not considered worth educating or protecting. They are called parasites, leeches, brats, spawn - If you used these words to describe any minority but children, it would quite understandably be considered hate speech.” - The Inventor (bird-faced clone of Thomas Edison, bad guy in graphic novel series)

What are we enjoying right now?

  • Alicia: High School Musical the Musical the Series (TV on Disney+), Crying in H Mart (Michelle Zauner)

  • Sarah: The 90s by Chuck Klosterman (book), Woodstock 99 (documentary)

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