Wednesday, July 20, 2022

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Settler Colonialism (CRITICAL THEORY FOR POLITICAL THEOLOGY 2.0)


Settler Colonialism




By Richard Davis

July 19, 2022




I propose Decolonial Settler Theology as a contextual political theology that is uniquely the task of the settler, who must face their own complicity in narratives of ongoing colonization and aim at their undoing.

Settler colonialism is a distinct form of colonialism, originating in the invasion of already-occupied lands when colonizers formed permanent settlements on native land, separated from their home countries, and dominated Native populations. In this process the "demographic balance between the settler population and the Indigenous population gradually favors the former as a result of methods of dispossession, expulsion, or extermination" (Sabbagh-Khoury, 2022, p.46). Such colonial processes are not constrained to the past; settler colonialism remains a persistent colonizing structure, featuring an ongoing zero-sum battle over land, denial of Native sovereignty, and settlers narrating the justification and naturalization of their own supremacy.

Settler colonial studies, which makes settler colonialism its field of inquiry, highlights the distinctive nature of settler colonialism and its essential difference from other forms of colonialism (such as extractive or franchise colonialism). It also draws attention to the differences between a settler society and a postcolonial one. In their account of the origins of settler colonial studies, Jane Carey and Ben Silverstein wrote that it "began as a response to the perceived limitations of postcolonial theory. Where the 'post' in postcolonialism refers to the ongoing effects of colonial rule in states that have been formally decolonized, settler colonial studies consider those political and geographic contexts in which the colonizers never left" (Carey and Silverstein, 2020, p.1).

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Okey C. Iheduru

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