Decanonizing the Field
Edited By João M. Paraskeva and Shirley R. Steinberg
Chapter 14. Revisiting the Question of the “Indigenous”
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REVISITING THE QUESTION OF THE “INDIGENOUS”
George J. Sefa Dei
A few opening remarks about my background and how I have come to engage this topic. I see the personal subject[ive] location as critical in terms of what brings me to the topic. The contextualization of writer/self as a methodological and discursive feature of any textual discussion is significant. It helps the reader to understand the perspective from which one is conducting the analysis. And by perspective, I do not mean just ideology or analytical framework, but a personal accounting of why I write about what I do. I am a social anthropologist by academic training who has bridged the disciplinary background with a focus on the sociology of education. I have been writing on the subject of Indigenous knowledges since the early 1980s. I also teach an advanced graduate course on “Indigenous Knowledges and Decolonization” at the University of Toronto. My long-term research interests lie in the areas of anti-colonial theory, Indigenous and anti-racism studies, minority education in Canadian contexts, and issues of African education. I have been a committed proponent of an Afrocentric school for children and youths of African descent in Canadian contexts. I find current schooling processes that depersonalize, disembody, and de-root young learners from their cultures, histories, and identities quite troubling to say the least. Of course, I am wary of race essentialism. But increasingly, I have also become skeptical of attempts ← 291 | 292...
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