Decolonizing Sociology?: Indigenous Scholarship and Sociological Theorizing in an Era of ‘Reconciliation’

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Elaine COBURN, Glendon Campus, York University, Canada
Indigenous scholars have been theorizing in the colonial academy for over half a century, after many centuries of theorizing outside of it. Yet, sociological theorizing has not typically taken these scholarly contributions seriously. This is partly for reasons of ongoing colonial racisms and partly a consequence of (related) institutional divisions of labour which mean that sociologically-relevant Indigenous theorizing has often developed in other disciplines, notably Native and now Indigenous Studies. Especially in the current historical moment within Canada, in the aftermath of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, now is timely historical moment to examine the erasure of Indigenous theorizing from within the sociological canon. From the standpoint of a non-Indigenous sociologist, I document suggestive evidence of the near-total absence of Indigenous scholarship from sociological theorizing. I then briefly describe wide-ranging sociologically relevant Indigenous scholarship, before considering what transformations might be necessary for decolonized sociological theorizing in the future. I contend that advancing knowledge is not just a matter of reconstructing classical sociological works, but recognizing that adequate theorizing of the realities and challenges of the 21st century will necessary require critical engagement with diverse historical and existing Indigenous scholarly theoretical contributions.