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Accepted Paper:

Provincialising anthropology? Possibilities and challenges  
Tuhina Ganguly (Shiv Nadar University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on postcolonial theory,this paper examines the politics of location of the South Asian anthropologist in 'native' and 'white' classrooms, in the discipline and in the field. It asks if decolonising, in an asymmetrical world,can go beyond identity politics that reifies non-Western cultures

Paper long abstract:

Drawing on postcolonial scholars such as Dipesh Chakrabarty and Gayatri Spivak, this paper interrogates the possibilities and challenges of 'provincialising Anthropology'. Provincialising anthropology would involve interrogating the genealogy of the discipline and white Eurocentrism both in research praxis and pedagogy. But, in keeping with Chakrabarty and Spivak, it also opens the space for critiquing any simplistic 'going back' to a precolonial mode of thinking or ontological alterity. Such critique emerges from the violent, right-wing politics of postcolonial nation-states insisting on an ethnic, religious and moral superiority of the (in the Indian context, upper-caste, Hindu) 'native' situated in a reimagining of the precolonial, pristine past. What does a decolonising impetus look like in this scenario where the reading public might threaten critical thinking and where 'commoning anthropology' is not an a priori good? What does the critique of Eurocentrism mean in this context when liberalism, individual freedom and democracy come increasingly under threat by not only the state but a majoritarian public, members of whom might be our respondents? I will further address these questions in light of my own experiences of teaching, as an Indian anthropologist, in India and New Zealand and doing research among Westerners in India.

Panel D08
The global challenge of decolonising anthropology: how do our critical pedagogies lead to shifts in research praxis?
  Session 1 Friday 6 September, 2019, -