What It Means to Belong in the Global South: An Introduction to a Special Issue on ‘Wrestling With (Not) Belonging’

Ramirez, Elba
Sturm, Sean
Pasley, And
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Addleton Academic Publishers

This special issue is a milestone in the lead editor Elba’s ongoing search for answers that often did not even have questions about her (not) belonging in her place of birth, the Canary Islands. (Not) belonging undermines the reference points that ground answers to questions about what it means to belong. Elba faced a need to know with whom or what, where, how and why she came to be in relation, marked by her multiple senses of self and unwillingness or inability fit with the existing social categories. Her onto-epistemological journey began with frustration at critical theory’s failure to engage with the ambivalent status of the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands occupies the Global South position of a colonised territory yet had been so assimilated into the Global North that its Indigenous peoples had arguably been erased, culturally if not genetically (Ramirez & Pasley, 2022). What did it mean to be Indigenous in such a place as the Canaries, and how could Elba relate to the concept of being Indigenous there if it relied on a normalised conception of being Indigenous as being genetically related to the original inhabitants of a place, as was the case with previous Western interpretations of Canarian Indigenous histories that characterised Indigeneity relative to settler subjectivity? Wrestling with (not) belonging for Elba encompassed being both coloniser and colonised and neither: geographically African, but socio-geopolitically Spanish; and, typically, left out of the history of both the Americas and Africa, despite the history of Indigenous Canarians serving as slave labour in the Americas and the ongoing colonisation of the Canaries by various European powers (see Ramirez, this issue). Elba sought wisdom and examples in more-than-Western knowledges, and this special issue presented an opportunity for her to explore how Indigenous ways of being and knowing might enable her to (re)claim Canarian Indigeneity and to enter into coalition with those whose experiences are similarly unintelligible to Western knowledges.

32 Biomedical and Clinical Sciences , 3202 Clinical Sciences , 44 Human Society
Knowledge Cultures, ISSN: 2327-5731 (Print), Addleton Academic Publishers, 12(1), 7-7. doi: 10.22381/kc12120241
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