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鮭鱒論 (salmon trout theory) and the politics of non-Western academic terms

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This article probes how scholars might give nuanced attention to the power-laden dynamics of knowledge practices within non-Western settings at the same time that they seek to become more alert to the challenges of Anglophone academic domination. This inquiry arises from our focus on & x9bad;& x9c52;(sic) (sake masu ron), a Japanese term that can be translated as salmon trout theory. While & x9bad;& x9c52;(sic) holds unique insights for the growing fields of the environmental humanities, multispecies anthropology, and other forms of more-than-human scholarship, it is fundamentally tied to Japanese colonial projects and the marginalization of Ainu knowledges. By tracing the development of & x9bad;& x9c52;(sic), we demonstrate that while non-English-language academic terms can open up new analytical possibilities, they can also carry their own imperial histories and politics of knowledge. At the same time that we explore how careful attention to & x9bad;& x9c52;(sic) might be a useful scholarly move, we also show why it is important to robustly understand the term's Japanese context as we consider its wider scholarly possibilities. How, we ask, might the term be productively remade in dialogue with Ainu activisms, indigenous studies, and postcolonial theory? Through this case, we offer some preliminary insights about how to simultaneously respond to the marginalization of non-Anglophone academic traditions and to the violences of non-Western imperialisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Sociological Review
Pages (from-to)435-451
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • Ainu studies, Japan, North Pacific, archeology, salmon

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