Reclaiming De-Natured Blackness through Kigandan Epistemological Nature Journaling
Keywords:de-natured Blackness, racialization, ecoliteracy, journaling, anthropocentrism
The goal of this paper is to autobiographically explore de-naturing of Blackness through Eurocentric schooling, and re-naturing of Blackness through Kigandan epistemological nature journaling. I define racial de-naturing as the anthropocentric abuse of nature by European colonizers who viewed themselves as being above other-nature in order to dehumanize Black Bodies as sub-human forms of other-nature. I suggest that anti-Black racism was borne out of anthropocentrism as a means of sustaining and legitimizing colonial domination of Black bodies and their lands. Black Ugandans, whose indigenous religions are inseparable from nature-worship, had to be subjugated and transformed to legitimize Whiteness. Scientific racism, a theoretical construct that humans have irrevocable differences in development based on their race, and anthropocentrism are co-joined twins that culminated in nurturing ecophobia, the fear of outdoors, amongst Black Bodies that is often mis-read as nature deficiency. Re-reading the autobiographies of missionary explorers to Uganda, I suggest that 1) anthropocentrism was the driving force behind the vilification of Black African nature-based religions as sub-humanism; and 2) Black Bodies used Black African indigenous ecoliteracy to resist subjugation and reclaim their Blackness. I will narratively reconstruct the gradual replacement of nature-based ‘African-ness’ with anthropocentric colonialism through formal schooling. I will describe how nature journaling facilitates racial healing and re-connecting with nature-based personal histories, thereby fostering ecocentric Black identities.
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