Race, Decoloniality, and World CrisesAli Meghji
Practitioners of decolonial theory and critical race theory (CRT) often use one or the other, but not both. In his provocative book, A Critical Synergy, Ali Meghji suggests using the two theories in tandem rather than attempting to hierarchize or synthesize them. Doing so allows for the study of social phenomena in a way that captures their global and historical roots, while acknowledging their local, national, and contemporary particularities.
The differences between decolonial thought and CRT, Meghji insists, does not necessarily imply one approach is stronger. Rather, he asserts, they often provide alternative but not incompatible viewpoints of the same social problem. Meghji presents case studies of capitalism, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, and twenty-first-century far-right populism to show that with both theories, we can understand more, as insights may be lost by using only one.
Meghji is not calling for a universal theoretical synthesis in A Critical Synergy, but rather a practice that can help open sociology and social science to the tradition of pluriversality much more broadly.
“A Critical Synergy is an insightful text that will be equally useful to global and transnational sociologists, sociologists of race and ethnicity, and critical theorists. By creatively weaving together critical race theory and decolonial theory, Meghji demonstrates how social inequalities within nation-states articulate to global systems of inequality. His unique theoretical approach sheds new light on a range of contemporary problems—from right-wing populism to environmental racism and
COVID-19. A must read!”
—Zine Magubane, Professor of Sociology at Boston College
“Get ready to be drawn into a highly readable account of why a theoretical synergy between decolonial thought and critical race theory is not only a good idea, but a highly necessary endeavor—one that is not a synthesis, but a dialogue. In clear and precise language and with a wealth of both historical and present-day examples, Meghji makes a convincing case against conventional theoretical taxonomies and for collaborative conversations between two key critical knowledge
projects of our time.”
—Manuela Boatcă, Professor of Sociology and Head of the School of the Global Studies Programme at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and coauthor of Creolizing the Modern: Transylvania across Empires