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In the wake of Said, Orientalism, published in 1978, and particularly since the 1990s, the field of colonial studies has undergone dramatic transformations. For a good account of the changes in perspective over the past century, see the lucid and well-informed overview by Patrick Wolfe, ‘History and Imperialism: A Century of Theory, from Marx to Postcolonialism’, American Historical Review 102 (1997), 388–420. Good introductions into the field of post-colonial studies are provided by Leela Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction, New York (Columbia University Press) 1998 and Robert Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction, Oxford (Blackwell) 2001. One of the seminal and frequently cited works of this new strand of scholarship is Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, Princeton (Princeton University Press) 2000. For critical perspectives, see Arif Dirlik, The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism, Boulder (Westview Press) 1997; and recently Frederick Cooper, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History, Berkeley (University of California Press) 2005. For fresh perspectives, see also Ann Laura Stoler, Carole McGranahan and Peter Perdue (eds.), Imperial Formations, Santa Fe (School for Advanced Research Press) 2007.
For overviews of the history of colonialism that also provide the context of German colonialism, see the older study by David K. Fieldhouse, The Colonial Empires: A Comparative Survey from the Eighteenth Century, 2nd edition, London (Macmillan) 1982  and the more recent book by H. L. Wesseling, The European Colonial Empires 1815–1919, Harlow (Pearson Longman) 2004. For a more analytical approach, see the outstanding textbook by Jürgen Osterhammel, Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview, Princeton (Wiener) 1997, and the concise and very useful Empire: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Howe, Oxford (Oxford University Press) 2002.