scott morgensen on the academy


Scott Lauria Morgensen, ‘Destabilizing the Settler Academy: The Decolonial Effects of Indigenous Methodologies’, American Quarterly 64, 4 (2012).

The academy forms within settler societies as an apparatus of colonization. Indigenous researchers critically engage its colonial power by practicing Indigenous methodologies: an act that also implicates non-Indigenous people in challenging the settler academy. Indigenous methodologies do not merely model Indigenous research. By exposing normative knowledge production as being not only non-Indigenous but colonial, they denaturalize power within settler societies and ground knowledge production in decolonization. An activist impetus thus informs Indigenous methodologies, yet “activism” typically fails to invoke their full implications. Whereas “activism” in a settler society may invest social justice in state rule, decolonization anticipates that rule’s end. Decolonization is activist, but activism need not be decolonizing. Indigenous methodologies arise within the larger pursuit of Indigenous decolonization, a project that Indigenous critics theorize variously as ontological, psychic, governmental, and relational.

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