Introduction to the Special Issue Decolonizing Anthropology: Race, Emotions and Pedagogies in the European Classroom

  • Olivia Barnett-Naghshineh Bracon ash
  • Antony Pattathu University of Tübingen


Here we open up the special issue with an introduction to the topic of decolonizing anthropology through the consideration of the emotionality of race, racism, and whiteness within the classroom and the discipline. Focusing on the European Classroom as a construct, we reflect on what the implications of decolonizing anthropology are for teaching the discipline, particularly in regard to the positionality of “European Others” (El Tayeb, 2011) as students and educators. While demands for structural changes in the discipline and the restructuring of canons and curriculums have been widely proposed, the role of affect and emotions in relation to colonialism, race, and whiteness in the decolonizing process have been addressed only marginally. We offer a contribution to the conversation through the focus on emotions, taking these as a form of knowledge and political action. Bringing together literatures on postcolonial studies, decolonial theory with critiques of anthropology, we suggest a space for thinking about the emotional dimensions of decolonization within the university and across disciplines and describe the contribution of each article included herein that show the power that comes from thinking critically about the emotionality of the classroom, and the role of emotions in reproducing colonial epistemics.