Among critical, interdisciplinary, feminist theories, decolonization is a complicated, variegated field of inquiry that overlaps with the theories and methods that form the basis of my inquiries in Women and Fitness in American Culture. For instance, the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed--the colonial power and the colonized--is one of dominance and subordination. But there is also room to maneuver here--those who have been colonized must be decolonized.
"Decolonizing Yoga" is the title of Be Scofield's website and "Decolonizing Fitness" it the title of Mercado-López's forthcoming anthology. I first became acquainted with Decolonizing Yoga via Tiffany Kell's post--"Practicing Yoga While Fat"--and through Be Scofield's chapter in 21st Century Yoga--both of which I cite and discuss in Women and Fitness in American Culture. Decolonizing Yoga brings a much-needed perspective to the world of yoga, one that interrupts and challenges the feel-good liberalism and humanism that is often found in yoga spaces, and one that challenges what yoga means on and off the mat. In the "about" section: "After the  Yoga Journal Conference the Decolonizing Yoga Facebook Page has highlighted the voices of queer people, people of color, disability activists and more in relationship to yoga and countering oppression in general."
(And since I'm writing about Decolonizing Yoga, I can't help but share this piece about two of my loves: yoga and Hip Hop: "From Gandhi to Kendrick Lamar: On the Cultural Defense of Yoga and Hip Hop.")
The story of how I became acquainted with Mercado-López and her work is filled with fated and seemingly coincidental connections. I was so excited to hear about her work, including: a presentation at NWSA (which I missed, but mentioned in my blog post on the subject of fitness at the NWSA); her related blog posts (which I wish I would have found before my book went to press), the most widely circulated being "Not Just Another Fitness Blog"; and her edited collection, whose CFP for "Decolonizing Fitness: Women of Color, Feminism, and the Politics of 'Fit' Bodies" is currently circulating and (I hope) gaining momentum. According to the CFP, "This anthology welcomes submissions that discuss the use of social technologies to expand definitions of fitness, dispel myths about health and exercise, and build supportive communities around the social and material realities of women of color."
Beyond my personal interest and passion, Scofield's and Mercado-López's work is important to the work of critical, transformative, feminist fitness in a variety of ways. Because my work in Women and Fitness in American Culture is limited by my own scope of experience, and because I meant it as a conversation-starter, the voices, perspectives, and subjects that "Decolonizing Fitness" promises will do much to move fitness out of the realm of thin, white bodies and standardized, whitewashed fitness spaces.
These two spaces for decolonization of fitness spaces and ideas are just a beginning--an exciting, inspiring, and enlightening beginning.