by S. Lily Mendoza

Abstract

In “Educating Savages,” intercultural communication scholar Richard Morris notes with poignancy that even when Native Americans realize their “true” history, there is in such realization “a sense of curiosity, even a sense of loss, but not quite a sense of longing.”  Using perspectives in critical intercultural communication, this study seeks to uncover the mechanisms of domination in the discourse of modernity that makes nativist longing all but impossible for the assimilated native. Although I find insightful Morris’ formulation of the process of modern education as a form of violent transculturation for native subjects, I argue that such phenomenon cannot be fully explained without taking into account the particular ouvre of liberal ideology that underpins much of modern thought and education. To analyze the surreptitious ways by which liberal epistemology subverts nativist desire, the study revisits the material and psychic mechanisms of the colonial process, unpacks the hidden discourse of liberalism as its justifying content, and argues for the disavowal of liberalism’s premises as indispensable to empowering decolonization. It concludes by outlining the contours of an emerging counter-discourse, ‘anarcho-primitivism,’ as a way of breaking open modernity’s foreclosures and allowing the imagining of alternative human futures.

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