Is it possible to decolonise anthropology? Theory from the Margins with Professor Kamari Clarke

January 29, 2021 by Cate MacLeod

On January 28th, Professsor Kamari Clarke and Ryan Cecil Jobson (Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago) joined Theory from the Margins to discuss the question, Is it possible to decolonise anthropology?

Decription from Theory from the Margins:

In this Theory from the Margins webinar, we bring a panel discussion: "Is it possible to decolonize anthropology?" on the politics of racial justice, climate justice, ethical codes and publics of anthropology, and the possibility of decolonisation in the discipline. TfM will be in conversation with Prof. M. Kamari Clarke and Ryan Cecil Jobson. Since the 1970s, several important critical interventions have been made in the field of anthropology questioning its disciplinary history of complicity with colonialism. Yet methodologically and theoretically, we still encounter unresolved problems of power and representation which continue to reproduce the lifeworlds of the poor and the marginalized in the global South and minorities of the global North as a neo-oriental data mine. Both the authors reflect on the question of ethics and politics in anthropology. Prof. Clarke’s "Toward a Critically Engaged Ethnographic Practice" ‘interogates what it means for anthropologists as “social critics” to be engaged in doc- umenting efforts that not only have explanatory power but connect that power to praxis’. Dr. Jobson’s "The Case for Letting Anthropology Burn: Sociocultural Anthropology in 2019" unsettles ‘the conceptual and methodological preoccupations of the discipline in service of political projects of repatriation, repair, and abolition. By abandoning the universal liberal subject as a stable foil for a renewed project of cultural critique, the field of anthropology cannot presume a coherent human subject as its point of departure but must adopt a radical humanism as its political horizon.’