Uprooting Narratives: Legacies of Colonialism in the Neoliberal University

Hypatia 35 (1):18-40 (2020)
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Two intertwined stories evince the influence of colonialism on Western universities. The first story centers on a conflict about wild rice research between the Anishinaabe people and the University of Minnesota. Underlying this conflict is a genetic notion of biological identity that facilitates the commodification of wild rice. This notion of identity is inextricably linked to agricultural control and expansion. The second story addresses the foundation of Western universities on the goals of civilization and capitalist productivity. These norms persist even in diversity efforts through a focus on individualized notions of difference rather than socially contextualized and politically significant identities. The tendency to produce both knowledge and knowers as commodities results in the alienation, individuation, and abstraction of objects of research and researchers themselves. Decolonial change demands that we learn the specific histories of our universities and disciplines, break disciplinary boundaries, and contest commodification in knowledge production.



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Colonialism and its Legacies.Jacob T. Levy (ed.) - 2011 - Lexington Books.
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The Problem of Biological Individuality.Ellen Clarke - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):312-325.
The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment.Richard Lewontin - 2000 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):611-612.
What Genes Can’t Do.Lenny Moss - 2003 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (2):383-384.

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