The Indigenous Academic and the American Hegemonic Cultural System: The Case of Ibrahim Abu Lughod and Ward Churchill
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Birzeit University Working Paper No. 2011/26
It is not unusual to find common components and themes within the works of Palestinian-American academic Ibrahim Abu-Lughod and Native-Indian-American academic Ward Churchil. Both belong to one of the indigenous nations which went through a process of social destruction, subjugation, and oppression by the colonial capitalist powers. There are very clear commonalities between the experience of Native-Indians, the indigenous people of America, with the United States of America and the experience of the Palestinian people with Western colonialism, especially Britain and the USA, and their product and ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel. If we may borrow the expression used to describe the case by the Arab-American scholar Muneer Al-aksh, where both cases entail the replacement of one nation and its culture by another nation and its culture, and entail also the legitimization if wiping out a whole nation. As such, the discussion of these two cases should not be limited to the military, political, economic, and administrative operations, laws, and actions of colonization and imperialism. It should as well analyze and discuss the cultural and intellectual sides in both cases.
Colonialism and imperialism did not limit themselves to establishing political, economic, social, and administrative systems in order to advance and pursue their objectives. They also accompanied these with establishing a cultural and intellectual system which aimed at justifying their policies and actions committed during the process of subjugating another nation in front of their own people, and to dominate the minds of the very people they were colonizing, in order to deceit them regarding the real purposes of the colonial system, ending up with pacifying them and preventing any resistance.
This cultural-intellectual hegemonic system recruits experts, social scientists, economists, media men and women from the colonizing country itself as well as from the colonized people. The system builds up its own methods to reward those academics who cooperate with the colonization scheme and to punish those who do not cooperate or resist the system.
The works of both Abu-Lughod and Churchill were against this colonial imperialist cultural intellectual hegemonic system. They refrained from writing in support of it in order to get its rewards. Rather, their works emphasized the following themes which contradict such system: Defending the rights of the indigenous peoples which are guaranteed by the international law and human rights accords. Revealing the falsifications, distortions, and contradictions in the colonial/imperial historical narrative by building a fact-based narrative. Uncovering the crimes committed by colonial powers against other nations, and their violations to basic human rights. Defending the right of the oppressed peoples to defend themselves and rights by all means recognized by the international law. Calling for the adaptation of human values in international relations, and for the rejection of racism and discrimination against non-European nations.
Note: Downloadable document is in Arabic.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: colonialism, imperialism, indigenous, hegemony
JEL Classification: F22, O15, R23working papers series
Date posted: March 2, 2012
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