Claremont, Calif. (April 2, 2012) — Pitzer College Assistant Professor of Sociology Erich Steinman authored “Settler Colonial Power and the American Sovereignty Movement: Forms of Domination, Strategies of Transformation,” published in the January 2012 issue of American Journal of Sociology.
Steinman’s article analyzes the American Indian sovereignty movement by using a theoretical model that focuses on non-state forms of power, such as culture and identity, at the same time it recognizes the importance and impact of state power. His study identifies the US as a “settler colonial society,” one that behaves as a colonial power—dispossessing native people of their land, identity, spirituality and epistemology while imposing western beliefs. Instead of characterizing the struggles of American Indians mainly in racial and ethnic terms, Steinman suggests framing the American Indian sovereignty movement as the struggle of tribal nations attempting to liberate themselves from a colonial oppressor.
“Indian tribes have made an amazing political resurgence in the last three decades—really manifesting their status as nations with governments and expanding their political control and autonomy,” Steinman said. “Tribes have attacked practices and understandings that reflected distinctively colonial origins and forms of domination.”
Established in 1895, the American Journal of Sociology is one of the foremost publications for analysis and research in the social sciences.
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