Colonialism v. Imperialism

I thought this was an interesting dichotomy because I’ve always heard the terms used interchangeably, but with specific references to different events and locations. Colonialism can typically refer to the European conquest of continental Africa, the Scramble for Africa and the detrimental effects of the Triangle Slave Trade, the lack of concern for ethnic borders or religious groups, and the devastating economic and social result of centuries of oppression. Imperialism then is thought of as the spreading of American values and influence rather than direct takeover. There’s a militaristic presence but not a territorial conquest. With the attempted breakdown of the two terms as well as the argument of post-colonialism and whether or not that’s even a thing, I had a difficult time wrapping my head around things I thought that I already understood. Similar to Huntington’s civilization divisions, there are no concrete borders between what is colonial and imperial. You can only divide on such a broad spectrum that it can’t take into account individualistic details. The same goes for colonial and imperial societies, especially since some have been so defined by those two terms for as long as anyone can care to remember. With post-colonialism’s existence under debate, it made me think that can we really be post-colonial if colonial effects are still visible?

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