Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis
This essay critically reviews key ideas put forth in Sylvia Wynter’s essay, 1492: A New World View and examines the deep antagonisms against migration and migrants currently evident in some of the writings of indigenous studies scholars, within indigenous sovereignty movements, and within indigenous solidarity groups. The argument is concerned how the descendants of enslaved persons from Africa and indentured servants from Asia, as well as today’s contemporary migrants—ranging in status from illegal to citizen and including people with indigenous status living outside of historic territories—have been termed settler colonists by a growing number of scholars/activists. The essay thinks about Wynter’s work in order to show that while these cultural logics may be dominant, they are not the only ones available for us to use in the postcolonies. The epistemological moves needed to understand, and undo, the contemporary divisions created between those represented as indigenous and migrants are also explored.