Decolonizing anthropology at a distance: Some thoughts

Abdellah Hammoudi


Through the notions of distance, double critique, and colonial difference, this essay suggests a decolonization through a novel usage of colonial ethnographies. Analyzing the case of Morocco to reflect on the question of language(s) used in writing ethnography, specifically Arabic, French, and others, and unpacking the notion of colonial difference, the essay attempts to break away from the Western episteme. An “outside” to that episteme is found in the confrontation between knowledge accumulated in the written and the vernacular Arabic on the one hand, and Western knowledge (here, anthropological knowledge), on the other hand. This double critique aims at a reappropriation of colonial ethnography, and restructuring of the anthropological field, thus reframing the question of decolonization. The hope is that this reframing may have some general relevance.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/713740