Editors’ Welcome (Lent 2023)

Dear Reader,

We welcome you to the inaugural edition of the Cambridge University Social Anthropology Society (CUSAS) Magazine, organised by the 2022-23 CUSAS Committee. We have entitled the Lent 2023 edition: ‘Decolonisation’. In selecting this focus, we hoped to allow room for a variety of inquiries and contexts of exploration within our Department’s scholarly community.

CUSAS’ vision is of a Department wherein students and staff are exposed to challenging and diverse views which further their anthropological interest and facilitate both academic achievement and social change. We believe that focusing on methodology, broadly, and decolonising, in particular, are crucial to that aim. Decolonising our discipline and our institution requires us to take a look in the mirror and to dissect our histories, logics, and embodied experiences.

Throughout the year, CUSAS has created events that open up the opportunity for remembering, critically discussing, and learning about ‘decolonisation’ and ‘methodologies’ as explored in anthropology. This has included the inaugural bi-weekly CUSAS reading group, entitled ‘Decolonisation and Methodologies in Anthropology’, where members have been able to wrestle with a variety of scholarly work focused on questioning methodology and expanding our notions of ‘decolonisation’ within the discipline. This list has included the work of Faye Harrison, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Sophie Chao and Dion Enari, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Anna Tsing, Ruha Benjamin, Ann Stoler, and Yael Navaro among many others.

The CUSAS Committee recognised how much recent scholarship has taken up decolonisation and methodologies, separately and in tandem, and sought to create space for our members to reflect based on personal experience, research context, histories, or tackling popular media events. We believed creating a space for reflection in this magazine would allow for further rumination within our community.

CUSAS’ work coincides with a larger decolonisation effort taking place within the University of Cambridge. Sian Lazar’s note and Decolonising Social Anthropology’s conversation, included in this edition, provide more context for how our Department, thus far, has grappled with this relatively recent shift in discourse at the University. Their work, alongside comments from Andrew Sanchez and Sophie Chao, also provide suggestions for further developing our decolonial strategies pertaining to teaching and accountability within the discipline.

We would also like to thank our student contributors for undertaking the topic of ‘decolonisation’ in imaginative ways. Their work considers the nuance of decolonisation attempts in various contexts around the world and suggests extensions for anthropological analysis to aid our discipline toward decolonisation.

It is important to note that this edition does not provide definitive answers, but exists as an opening for our Department, and others, to acknowledge the importance of decolonisation efforts. We hope to build on the anthropological legacy of laying bare the world around us and undressing the remnants of colonialism that remain within our work and our world.


The CUSAS Magazine Co-Editors
Adaiah Hudgins-Lopez, PhD Social Anthropology
Edurne Sosa El-Fakih, MPhil Social Anthropology

Adaiah Hudgins-Lopez is a writer, dancer, and creative pursuing a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. She is a 2021 and 2022 Gates Cambridge Scholar and a member of Trinity College. Her writing and creative work centres Afrofuturist musings, narratives of migration, and explorations of community and movement building. She believes in the power of reciprocal storytelling to change the trajectory of how people relate to each other and the value of uplifting voices from the margins.
Edurne Sosa El Fakih is an MPhil student in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. She is a member of Girton College and Maria Luisa de Sanchez Scholarship recipient. Edurne has served as a content writer for BELatina and Nuestro Stories, focusing on Hispanic culture, heritage, and complex experiences in the United States. Her book Al borde de un viaje (2021), is a creative project that addresses issues of uprooting, migration, and nostalgia.

Further Reading

Abu-Lughod, L. 1991. ‘Writing Against Culture’. In Recapturing Anthropology, edited by R. C. Fox. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press. 137–162.

Allen, J. S. & R. C. Jobson 2016. ‘The Decolonizing Generation: (Race and) Theory in Anthropology since the Eighties’. Current Anthropology 57: 129–148.

Asad, T. 1973. Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter. London: Ithaca Press.

Bejarano, C.A., L. López Juárez, M. Mijangos García, & D. Goldstein. 2019. Decolonizing Ethnography: Undocumented Immigrants and New Directions in Social Science. Durham: Duke University Press. 

Benjamin, R. 2019. Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Benjamin, R. 2022. Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Berry, M. J., Argüelles, C. C., Cordis, S., Li Ihmoud, S., & Estrada, E. V. (2017). ‘Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field’. Cultural Anthropology, 32(4): 537–565. 

Chao, S., & Enari, D. 2021. ‘Decolonising Climate Change: A Call for Beyond-Human Imaginaries and Knowledge Generation’. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 20(2): 32-54. 

Cusicanqui, Silvia Rivera. 2020. Ch’ixinakax Utxiwa: On Decolonising Practices and Discourses. United Kingdom: Wiley.

Decolanth@Goldsmith’s. 2021. https://www.decolonialanth.co.uk/about-1

Fabian, J. 1983. Time and the Other, How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia University Press.

Gay Y Blasco, P., & De La Cruz Hernández, L. (2012). ‘Friendship, Anthropology’. Anthropology and Humanism 37(1): 1–14. 

Gupta, A. & J. Stoolman. 2022. ‘Decolonizing U.S. Anthropology’. American Anthropologist 124: 778-799.

Harrison, F. 2010. Decolonizing Anthropology: Moving Further Toward an Anthropology for Liberation, 3rd edition. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association.

Harrison, F. ‘Decolonizing Anthropology: A Conversation with Faye V. Harrison’. Parts I and II. Savage Minds. May 2 and 3, 2016.

Jobson, R. C. 2020. ‘The Case for Letting Anthropology Burn: Sociocultural Anthropology in 2019’. American Anthropologist 122(2): 259–71.

Kimmerer, R. 2013. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions.

Koch, I. 2018. ‘Towards an Anthropology of Global Inequalities and their Local Manifestations: Social Anthropology in 2017’. Social Anthropology 26(2): 253-268

Low, S. M. and S. E. Merry. 2010. ‘Engaged Anthropology: Diversity and Dilemmas’. Current Anthropology 51, S2: 203-226.

Maeckelbergh, M. 2016. ‘Whose Ethics? Negotiating Ethics and Responsibility in the Field.’ In Impulse to Act: A New Anthropology of Resistance and Social Justice, edited by Othon Alexandrakis. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 211-230.

Mogstad, H. and Tse, L-S. 2018. ‘Decolonizing Anthropology’. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 36.2: 53-72.

Navaro, Yael. 2020. ‘The Aftermath of Mass Violence: A Negative Methodology’. Annual Review of Anthropology 49: 161-73.

Navaro, Yael, Zerrin Özlem Biner, Alice von Bieberstein, and Seda Altuğ. 2021. ‘Introduction: Reverberations of Violence Across Time and Space.’ In Reverberations: Violence Across Time and Space. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1-30. 

Pels, P. & O. Salemink 1994. ‘Introduction: Five theses on ethnography as colonial practice’. History and Anthropology 8, 1–34.

Scheper-Hughes, N. 1995. ‘The Primacy of the Ethical: Propositions for a Militant Anthropology’. Current Anthropology 36(3): 409–440.

Scheper-Hughes, N. 2000. ‘Ire in Ireland’. Ethnography 1(1): 117–140.

Smith, L. T. 2012. Decolonizing Methodologies, 2nd edition. London: Zed Books.

Stoler, A.L. 2016. Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times. Durham: Duke University Press.

Visweswaran, K. 1998. ‘Race and the Culture of Anthropology’. American Anthropologist, 100(1): 70-83. 

Todd, Z. 2016. ‘An Indigenous Feminist’s Take On The Ontological Turn: ‘Ontology’ Is Just Another Word For Colonialism’.  Journal of Historical Sociology 29(1): 4–22. Tsing, A. 2015. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press.