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Classroom colonialisms – The McGill Daily

by ahnationtalk on March 20, 2017105 Views

March 20, 2017

When I try to explain what socio-cultural anthropology is, I usually say that it’s ‘like sociology but with stories instead of statistics.’ My peers and I appreciate it for its power to help us question and deconstruct our our own ways of thinking and living. Anthropologists can use their research and writing for fostering cross-cultural understanding, like Zora Neale Hurston, and for challenging the ideas behind systems of oppression, like Laura Nader or Audra Simpson. Of course, there is a lot of anthropology that we are not proud of, both in the past and the present. Anthropologists have often been on the wrong side of history – using their research and theories to promote and justify slavery, colonialism, assimilation policies, and biological and cultural racism. Sioux scholar Vine Deloria Jr. wrote “In believing they could find the key to man’s behaviour, [anthropologists] have, like the churches, become forerunners of destruction.” Anthropology can be a tool for Othering, for speaking over people, for cramming the diversity of human experience into Eurocentric theories of humanity.

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