How Discomfort Reproduces Settler Structures: Moving Beyond Fear and Becoming Imperfect Accomplices

Shawna M. Carroll, Daniela Bascuñán, Mark Sinke, Jean Paul Restoule


In this paper we explain how teachers can subvert settler colonial epistemology in their classrooms and become ‘imperfect accomplices.’ Drawing on a larger project, we focus on the ways non-Indigenous teachers understood their role in teaching Indigenous content and epistemologies through their lenses of ‘fear,’ which we re-theorize as ‘anxiety.’ These anxieties were enacted by the educators in two ways: stopping the teaching of Indigenous content and epistemologies, or using productive pausing for self-reflection. We explain how stopping the teaching outside of settler colonial epistemology is based on structures that impose fear to go outside of that epistemology. We then examine how some teachers pause within these structures of ‘fear’ and explain three strategies to become ‘imperfect accomplices.’

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Copyright (c) 2020 Shawna M. Carroll, Daniela Bascuñán, Mark Sinke, Jean Paul Restoule

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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