Dis/possession Afoot: American (Anthropological) Traditions of Anti‐Blackness and Coloniality

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In this essay, we call on linguistic anthropology to combat specific modes of White Supremacy (anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, and anti-Nativeness) by recognizing them as intimately central to the formations and formulations of our (sub)field in the US (and broader) context. We speak to and from particular legacies of dispossession and repossession engendered by two mated and enduring structural processes, settler colonialism (Simpson 2014) and racial slavery (Hartman 2008; Sharpe 2016; Mignolo 2006), which continue to animate the ubiquity of owning via the making of (linguistic) anthropological knowledge (owning through knowing and collecting) and via the knowing, collecting, and wearing of Black and Native people that helps make up everyday life in America (e.g., mascots, blackface, pop cultural caricatures, Halloween costumes, language appropriation, slave souvenirs, dream catchers and on and on (Meek 2006; 2020; Smalls and Davis forthcoming; Smalls forthcoming). Finally, we draw on Black and Native theorists to offer practices of solidarities and abolition (Byrd 2019; Harris 2019; Latty et. al 2016; Leroy 2016; King 2019; Tuck et. al 2014; Morrill et al. 2016).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Linguistic Anthropology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • anthropology
  • anti-Blackness
  • colonialism
  • dispossession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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