Anthropologists have long been concerned about the discipline’s relationship to colonialism, imperialism, and other oppressive structures and systems that create and maintain inequality. 21st century anthropology is different from the discipline of 50 years ago; a “critical turn” and a decolonial turn have been catalysts for a significant change in the understanding and practice of anthropology. Anthropologists today come from all over the world and study topics that range from Wall Street in the U.S. to the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. We “study up” and try to turn our critical lens to inequality in structures of power and systems of oppression.
While we are interested in a discussion on decolonizing anthropology, we are equally interested in what anthropology may have to offer to wider debates on decolonization. As global processes and practices of colonization have not disappeared, decolonial work in anthropology offers unique frameworks and methods to problematize them. Relatedly, more work seems to be needed to further decolonize anthropology to make the discipline more inclusive for scholars from diverse backgrounds. The question remains, where are we now and what progress needs to be made to further decolonize anthropology?
A decolonizing discussion could center around key axes: the coloniality of power (control over resources, research agenda and priorities); coloniality of knowledge (epistemological colonization and Euro-centric dominance); and coloniality of being (legitimized inferiorization of others) (see Besson, 2022). Is decolonization a goal that can be achieved, or is it an ever-evolving process? How does making decolonizing a priority intersect with other key ethical questions in the discipline? This webinar seeks to explore these contemporary questions by bringing diverse opinions in conversation.
We hope to explore the latest developments in decolonizing anthropology and identify urgent priorities for decolonizing the discipline further, to reflect on the significance of these historical moments of colonizing/ decolonizing in our understandings of social inequity in human societies more broadly, and to explore how decolonizing impacts on the practice of applied anthropologists. - Organizers: Megan Schmidt-Sane (Institute of Development Studies) and Priyanka Jayakodi (Michigan State University)
The knowledge that organizations assume, produce, and use on migration has short and long-range impacts on the people that move. How do organizations in diverse sectors conceptualize, operationalize, and apply such knowledge? What are the premises and bases for their assumptions, designs, and approaches of understanding and application? Do sectors dialogue or collaborate across organizational boundaries to maximize the impact of their policies and programs? After a short introduction by the coordinators, panelists representing six different sectors –print media, international assistance organization, non-governmental organization, museum exhibitions, think tank, and academia– present how they frame the underlying architecture of migration. The public is invited to dialogue with panelists to understand their framing, the impact of their actions on the
migrants themselves, and future applications and reconsiderations. Organizers: Judith Freidenberg (UMD) and Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez (ASU).
This series of webcasts are from a webinar convened by SfAA Global with the publication of Viral Loads: Anthropologies of Urgency in the Time of COVID-19 (University College London Press), edited by Lenore Manderson, Nancy J Burke, and Ayo Wahlberg.