ASA Statement Regarding Decolonization and Anti-Racism (November 24th, 2020)
Anthropology has a history as an arm of the colonial and racist structure. Anthropology as a discipline is built on colonialism as a foundation and has relied on its structures of violence and privilege to exist throughout its history. It has played a part in perpetuating colonialism, and has been a consistent engine of “Othering”.
While the McGill Anthropology Department has taken initiative to make reforms and be reflexive of this issue, we believe there is a need to start a more inclusive conversation, that starts with reaching out to our student body with this statement. It is important that we expand on and radically change the way decision making occurs surrounding these issues, and invite discussion that informs and shapes the changes that are implemented.
As a group, we have had several discussions about how to best work more activism and educational advocacy into our initiatives, and we welcome any feedback from the community on how we can do this.
To do this, we have a number of avenues through which you can participate in this discussion:
Anonymous feedback form on our website
The ASA has also been in discussions with AGSA and the Anthropology Faculty about forming an Equity Committee or Working group focused on anti-racist and anti-colonial initiatives in the department. Regardless of what form this takes at the Departmental level, ASA will be starting our own undergraduate Equity Committee (name t.b.d.), at the beginning of next semester. A formal application will be posted soon. Please email Oscar Chisholm, the ASA VP Internal, if you have any name ideas, other contributions, or are interested in applying: