American scholarly applicability in the global context

One of the challenges for critical scholars in the US is to remember that analytic frameworks developed in this specific economic, political, religious, & racial context can’t be automatically applied to issues in the rest of the world. Yes, even the theoretical frameworks emerging from the oppressed in the U.S. margins.

The encompassing privilege of America-centric media, publishing, and research can sometimes make us forget the enormous privilege of operating in this context. And this privilege and its accompanying egoism can sometimes make us think our applicability is wider than it is.

When I look at Pakistan- or South Asia-related issues, for instance, I’m stumped by just how difficult it is for brilliant American scholars to get a handle on those issues. And yet how difficult it is for many of them to realize their limitations, because they’re so brilliant on issues related to North America.

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