At my current institution, a group of interdisciplinary faculty gathers every so often to talk about ways to “decolonize” our syllabi. In our meetings, we discuss how the use of “decolonize” remains fraught and even nonviable given our location on stolen land, and I share with them anthropologist Yarimar Bonilla’s use of “unsettling colonial logics and institutions” (2015) as a modus operandi for thinking about and engaging in such efforts.
As a Black woman trained in bioanthropology and dedicated to a career trying to undo the residues of social Darwinism and anti-Black racism in museums, I’m concerned about the present state of popular discourse around Africa and Blackness.
A glance at my watch revealed that my colleague was already five minutes over his thirty-minute allotment. Students from various cohorts and faculty had gathered in the small lounge shared by sociology and anthropology for our weekly brown bag session.
1969—Stonewall, British troops sent to Northern Ireland, Equal Employment Opportunity, Biafra, Woodstock, Shirley Chisholm becomes the first Black congresswoman, the Apollo 11 moon landing, combat deaths in Vietnam exceed those in Korea, Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, Chappaquiddick, clearing the charred debris from the previous summer’s uprisings across US cities.