Originally part of the 2022 Presidential Roundtable “Comparative Literature and Indigeneity,” this essay meditates on the ACLA president’s call to “decolonize” the field of comparative literature. Beyond providing a catchy slogan, what might “decolonization” mean for the practice of our scholarship and teaching? As a beginning of an answer, the essay revisits the author’s 2012 Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies and considers what has—and, importantly, what has not—changed within literary studies marked as “comparative,” “world,” and/or “global” in the decade since the book’s publication. How have provocations to center the Indigenous as an optics and as a mode of analysis been taken up, extended, critiqued, or reimagined by others? To illustrate the potential limitations of calls to “decolonize” dominant academic institutions, including the field of comparative literature, the essay offers a preliminary analysis of how a specific example of Indigenous self-representation produces meaning within two related but contrasting venues for display and interpretation: a conventional museum space implicitly coded as “colonial” and an avant-garde museum space explicitly labeled as “decolonizing.” The results are suggestive of the difficulty for dominant academic institutions to transcend colonial foundations and ongoing colonial habits.

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