Decolonizing the Tropics: Part One




decolonizing, tropics, decoloniality, positionality, de-canonize


This special issue is a collection of papers that addresses and enacts the theme of decolonizing the tropics. Each article provides a sense of how we can untangle ourselves from entrenched colonial epistemologies and ontologies through detailed articulations of research practice. Drawing together humanities and social sciences, the papers collectively address questions of whose voices are heard or silenced, what positions we write from, how we are allowed to articulate our ideas, and through which mediums we present our research. In doing so, the contributions foreground the critical importance of these and other questions in any move towards decolonizing the tropics.

Author Biographies

Anita Lundberg, James Cook University, Australia & Singapore

Anita Lundberg is an adjunct associate professor and cultural anthropologist. Her interdisciplinary ethnographies – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia – explore the intertwinings of nature and culture. Her thinking is informed by material poetics, animist epistemology, and archetypal mythology. Anita has won awards and held fellowships: LIA TransOceanik (CNRS, JCU, Collége de France); The Cairns Institute; Evans Fellow, Cambridge University, UK; Guest Researcher, Maison Asie-Pacifique, Université de Provence, France; Visiting Fellow, Institute of the Malay World and Civilization, National University Malaysia; and Anthropologist-in-Residence, Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia. She has published extensively in academic journals, editing numerous Special Issues. Anita has curated exhibitions in NY, LA, Paris and Sydney, and her own research has been exhibited at the Australian National Maritime Museum, the National Art Gallery of Malaysia and Alliance de Française. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow, Cambridge University, UK, has a PhD in Anthropology, an MA in Science & Technology Studies and a liberal arts BA. After a long academic stint in Singapore, she now lives in Bali.

Sophie Chao, University of Sydney, Australia

Sophie Chao is Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow and Lecturer in the Discipline of Anthropology at the University of Sydney. Her research investigates the intersections of Indigeneity, ecology, capitalism, health, and justice in the Pacific. Chao is author of In the Shadow of the Palms: More-Than-Human Becomings in West Papua and co-editor of The Promise of Multispecies Justice. She previously worked for the human rights organization Forest Peoples Programme in Indonesia, supporting the rights of forest-dwelling Indigenous peoples to their customary lands, resources, and livelihoods. Chao is of Sino-French heritage and lives on unceded Gadigal lands in Australia. For more information, please visit

R. Benedito Ferrão, William & Mary, USA

Benedito Ferrão is an Assistant Professor of English and Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies at William & Mary. Additionally, he has been the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright, Mellon, Endeavour, and Rotary programs, the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. Curator of the 2017-18 exhibition Goa, Portugal, Mozambique: The Many Lives of Vamona Navelcar, he edited a book of the same title (Fundação Oriente 2017) to accompany this retrospective of the artist’s work. His scholarly writing appears in various international journals, including eTropic, Research in African Literatures, Verge, and Society and Culture in South Asia.

Ashton Sinamai, La Trobe University, Australia

Ashton Sinamai is an archaeologist with experience from Zimbabwe, Namibia, United Kingdom, and Australia. Born 5 miles from Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, he developed an interest in archaeology quite early from stories and folklore told by his grandmother. His interest in pursuing Cultural Heritage Studies rose out of the need to reconcile 'history from the people' with empirical data from the discipline of archaeology. He has a PhD in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies from Deakin University and currently works in Australia as a heritage consultant in the private sector. Previously he has worked as an archaeologist at Great Zimbabwe, Chief Curator at the National Museum of Namibia, and as lecturer at the Midlands State University, Zimbabwe. After his PhD, he worked for at the University of York (UK) as a Marie Curie Experienced Incoming Fellow. Currently he is working as Advisor, Heritage Approvals for Rio Tinto in Perth, Australia. Ashton is also a Research Associate with La Trobe University, Melbourne and is an Expert Representative on UNESCO’s Roster for Cultural Emergencies. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage and a co-editor for the Journal of African Cultural Heritage Studies. His research focuses on the cultural landscapes and their perceptions through indigenous knowledge and philosophies. His most recent book, Memory and Cultural Landscape at the Khami World Heritage Site, Zimbabwe: An Uninherited Past was published by Routledge in 2019.

Stephen Ogheneruro Okpadah, University of Warwick, UK

Stephen Ogheneruro Okpadah is a Chancellor International PhD Scholar, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom. He won the 2021 Janusz Korczak/UNESCO Prize for Global South in emerging scholar category. He has published numerous articles in international journals and chapters in books. Okpadah is co-editor of Language of Sustainable Development: Discourses on the Anthropocene in Literature and Cinema (2021), which is a special issue of the journal: Language, Discourse and Society. Books that he co-edited are, Committed Theatre in Nigeriaː Perspectives on Teaching and Practice (Lexington Books, 2020); Locating Transnational Spaces: Culture, Theatre and Cinema (IATC and the University College of the North, Canada, 2020); and The Road to Social Inclusion (UNESCO/Janusz Korczak Chair’s Book Series, 2021). Okpadah is a non-resident research associate, Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre, University of Regina, Canada. Okpadah is also a Non-Resident Research Fellow, University of Religions and Denominations, Iran.

Hannah Regis, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine

Hannah Regis is a Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. She is a Caribbeanist and Black Atlantic literary scholar, though she has also completed research that centres on Indigenous Studies. Her research interests include Caribbean spectrality, haunting, counter-archival engagements, reparative writing, theories of embodiment and cultural memory. Her investigations trace widespread and recurring patterns in seemingly unrelated material with the cumulative aim of historicising, transforming and expanding upon theories of epistemic injustice while shaping potentialities for recuperation and interventions. She has published widely on aspects of Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean literature in Caribbean Quarterly, Journal of West Indian Literature, The American Studies Journal, eTropic and other periodicals. A single-authored monograph on the Poetics of Caribbean Spectrality is forthcoming.

Gregory Luke Chwala, Union Institute and University, USA

Gregory Luke Chwala is Graduate Professor of Humanities and Culture at Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, where he specializes in nineteenth-century British literature and culture as well as decolonial and transatlantic queer studies from the nineteenth through the twenty-first century. He has published work on queer, trans, race, postcolonial, decolonial, and gothic studies in journals such as the Victorian Review and eTropic. His current projects include a book that explores decolonial queer ecologies in gothic and speculative fiction, and a book on transembodiment in steampunk fiction. He is co-editor of the University of Wales Press new series, Queer and Trans Intersections.


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How to Cite

Lundberg, A., Chao, S. ., Ferrão, R. B., Sinamai, A., Okpadah, S. O., Regis, H., & Chwala, G. L. (2023). Decolonizing the Tropics: Part One. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 22(1), 1–28.



Introduction to Special Issue