Speakers

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Dr. Susan Cahill is an Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Art at the University of Calgary. Her research broadly explores how cultural objects function to shape and reshape the idea of Canada in the modern and contemporary periods. Her current research project, The Art & Surveillance Project, investigates the ways in which creative practices can provoke new ways of seeing the politics and policies of surveillance within contemporary Canadian society. As part of this research, she curates an online database cataloguing artists, artworks, and exhibitions addressing surveillance structures in post-9/11 Canada, www.artandsurveillance.com.

Abstract:

Embodied Encounters and Practical Aesthetics: The Art of Surveillance in post-9/11 Canada

My contribution to the workshop centres on my ongoing research on artworks and exhibitions addressing the policies and politics of surveillance in Canada after 2001. Surveillance structures are central to the logic of the War on Terror, which enacts a disembodying violence that unequally targets and tracks certain bodies (as simplistic reductions of people and communities). My work explores the generative potential of creative engagements in relation to this context of surveillance and the body, whereby the practice of art does not simply re-present or re-confirm that which one already knows, but also constitutes an encounter as an opportunity to think and feel otherwise. Using a series of artworks as case studies, I want to work toward a way of articulating how creative practice actively participates in conversations and debates on surveillance, security, and the regulation of bodies within ongoing rationales for the War on Terror.

Talk Date: April 29, 10-12pm  Panel V (closed): Resilience and Generative Politics 

Venue: Education Centre North 4th Floor Lounge



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Dr. John F. Collins is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center and a historical ethnographer of Northeast Brazil. He has directed the Queens College Program in Latin American & Latino Studies since 2011 and currently serves on the boards of the Society for Cultural Anthropology and the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. In addition to numerous articles, Collins is the author of Revolt of the Saints: Memory and Redemption in the Twilight of Brazilian Racial Democracy (Duke University Press, 2015), a historical ethnography of race, sexuality and history in the making of the Pelourinho UNESCO World Heritage Site in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. He is also co-editor of Ethnographies of U.S. Empire (forthcoming, Duke University Press). He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan. He studies the processes shaping heritage preservation and revitalization of national patrimony in Brazil. His work focuses on the question of embodiment, nationalism, race, memory, and popular strategies of subversion of dominant planning processes, which he details in his book, Revolt of the Saints (Duke University, 2015) based on two decades of ethnographic research. Dr. Collins’ analyses capture the ways in which heritage and creative economy articulate with race and embodiment to produce certain people as key figures in the quest to create and preserve authentic national identity. Dr. Collin’s extensive ethnographic experience working with communities in the city of Salvador will bring a locally grounded richness to workshop considerations of the delimitations and possibilities for creative practice.

Abstract:

What is it that Data Do? Ethnographic Paths into Cultural Production and Bureaucratic Knowledge in a Brazilian World Heritage Site

In this paper I examine the shapes taken by, effects, and iconoclastic deployments of data by popular actors and cultural bureaucrats in Salvador, Brazil’s Pelourinho Historical Center. I follow Afro-Brazilians whose everyday activities are configured as raw materials that support attempts to redevelop a region configured as a backwards, “involuted,” source of infection of the nation. I focus on how citizens subject to this transformation of inchoate qualities into knowledge perceive not simply the process, but its mediating forms—an entity glossed as data. This paper thus explores the ontological status of data as media, and the extent to which their material manifestations and affective valences in a UNESCO heritage zone may be wielded in novel ways by people for whom the manipulation of data is an expressive cultural activity that challenges the sacredness of knowledge and boundaries between facts and interpretations, materials and ideals, and contemplation and action.

Talk Date1 : April, 27 9:00-10:30 Panel I (closed): Politicizing Creative Economy

Venue: University Senate Chamber

Talk Date2 :1:00-2:45 Public Panel I: Politicizing Creative Economy

Venue: Education Centre North Room 2-115


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Dr. Alexandre Da Costa is a co-organizer of this workshop and Assistant Professor of Theoretical, Cultural, and International Studies in Education in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. He has a background in interdisciplinary sociology and cultural studies as well as a decade of research on racial and cultural politics in Brazil that has focused on cultural production, social movements and state policy. His work on Afro-Brazilians is deeply attentive to the historical role of culture in Brazilian identity and state development projects. Dr. Da Costa’s book entitled, Reimagining Black Difference and Politics in Brazil: From Racial Democracy to Multiculturalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) is on the cultural activism and anti-racism of black social movements and their struggles for educational reforms. The book examines diverse cultural practices and forms of community organizing, including protests during carnival celebrations, hip hip, dance performance, and activist workshops, which all aim to advance the cause of equality for black Brazilians. Dr. Da Costa has also published articles on these and related topics in diverse academic journals.

Abstract:

The work of anti-racist activism in the Brazilian pluricultural state

This paper examines the difficulties and possibilities of anti-racist activist work at a time where race-based policies and the politics of inclusion have become characteristic of Brazil’s ‘post-neoliberal’ state project. Racial post-neoliberalism presents uneven forms of racial and cultural recognition and material distribution alongside the persistence of anti-black and anti-indigenous racism, dispossession, and violence. This paper asks: how do we understand this particular formation and the ways in which activism, race, and culture become simultaneously a resource for state projects, but not fully captured by such projects? In what ways is such activist work more than reformist in its practice and in what creative ways do those doing this work negotiate incorporation into emergent forms of racial rule? The goal of the paper is not to evaluate whether Black Brazilian activist work through the state is ‘effective’ or not. Rather, the goal is to learn from what counts as creativity in the interventions of those who constantly confront and stay with the challenge of fostering transformative politics that address white supremacy.

Talk Date: April 29, 10-12pm  Panel V (closed): Resilience and Generative Politics 

Venue: Education Centre North 4th Floor Lounge



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Dr. Dia Da Costa is a co-organizer of this workshop and Associate Professor of Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. She is the author of Development Dramas: Reimagining Rural Political Action in Eastern India (Routledge, 2009) and Politicizing Creative Economy: Activism and a Hunger called Theatre (University of Illinois Press, 2016). She analyzes cultural politics of ‘development,’ the politics and pedagogies of activism and solidarity, and unrecognized spaces of creativity and knowledge to understand the intersecting histories of colonial-capitalist, nationalist, leftist, and neoliberal politics.

Abstract: 

Eating Heritage

The cultural politics of India’s creative economy is founded in a sentimental optimism that obscures its histories and investments in securing creativity and knowledge as upper-caste and Hindu majoritarian property. Planners insist that the sector generates sustainable livelihoods in the face of a growing crisis of farmer suicides and hunger across India. Although the blood of caste, class, patriarchal and religious violence stains the blueprints of what counts as heritage and creativity, planners claim that ‘creativity is in India’s DNA’. This suggests that the poor can harness and develop tangible and intangible cultural heritage to feed themselves. Against planning’s compensatory solution of eating heritage, the creative politics of Budhan Theatre is marked by a radical disidentification and re-determination of what it means to eat heritage. The performance and politics of the indigenous Chhara theatre troupe simultaneously hungers to refuse hunger, eats heritage and refuses to eat heritage. They challenge their caste and colonial histories of criminality by foregrounding state and corporate criminality, devastation of indigenous land and forests, and agrarian displacement. Significantly, against creative economy sentimentality, they perform the limits of performance itself.

Talk Date 1: April, 27 9:00-10:30 Panel I (closed): Politicizing Creative Economy

Venue: University Senate Chamber

Talk Date 2 : April 28, 1:00-2:45 Public Panel I: Politicizing Creative Economy

Venue: Education Centre North Room 2-115



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Dr. Meaghan Frauts‘s (Ph.D. Queen’s University) research and writing focuses on ‘resilience’ as a dominant articulation of policy discourses that intervenes in cultural production and creative practices in Kingston, Jamaica. Intervening in scholarly, policy and activist debates on ‘resilience’, in her dissertation thesis entitled Cultural Politics of Resilience in Kingston, Jamaica (Queen’s University, 2016) Frauts argues that it is inadequate to view resilience as either a foolproof remedy or as uncontested source of top-down domination. Rather, her contextually-specific and ethnographically rich analysis demonstrates how histories of slavery, colonial capitalism, and gender inequality inform what people make of this discourse in practice in cultural practices in urban areas.

Abstract: 

Resilience and the Creative Economy in Jamaica

Resilience discourse is ubiquitous. But what are the consequences of such pervasiveness? Creative industries are understood as key to making Jamaica resilient, as they are seen as viable alternative (i.e.: flexible, low-overhead) development strategies in a “struggling economy.” Strikingly, development initiatives, which emphasize resilience, encourage Jamaicans to recall historical resilience in the face of slavery, in order to construct current neoliberal-led development goals focusing on creative practice and entrepreneurialism. This paper examines the connections between resilience, creative practices and neoliberalism in Jamaica in order to ask: what are the implications of framing historical forms of resilience as commensurable with neoliberal development? In what ways does grounding resilience in creative practices—from Jamaican street dances to activism—re-orient the power of resilience wherein Jamaicans can envision alternatives to neoliberal development?

Talk Date: April 29, 10-12pm  Panel V (closed): Resilience and Generative Politics 

Venue: Education Centre North 4th Floor Lounge

 



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Dr.Rachmi Diyah Larasati is an Associate Professor of cultural theory and historiography in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota. She is also a faculty advisor and affiliate of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, and an affiliate faculty in the feminist studies (GWSS) and Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media departments.  Her book, The Dance that Makes You Vanish: Cultural Reconstruction in Post-Genocide Indonesia (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) theorized global corporeal commodification through genocide. Her book models the examination of embodied memory and ethnographic writing. Since then, she has published articles focusing on decolonialization and feminist third world tactics of transnationalism. Her new book project, Dancing in the Forest: Modern Machine and Audio Politics of Land Narrative, interrogates the aesthetic encounter between indigenous voices and capitalist noise within neoliberal space. As a scholar and dancer, Dr. Larasati draws on historiography, critical ethnography, and auto-ethnography to challenge conceptualizations of the moving, dancing body.

Abstract: 

Claiming the Forgotten Dance Technique

My paper engages with the study of the aesthetic as an embodied form and offers a critique of the study of value and commodification that emerges in the global spatial imaginary of development by investigating the possibility of creative economy and its materialization through travel and tourism. I think through this duality by investigating how the archive of the aesthetic functions as a remembering and decolonizing act, specifically how indigenous politics of claim operate in light of national and global cooptation of ‘indigeneity,’ capitalistic value-creation, and neoliberal inclusion while continuously struggling for land, water and forest use within the paradigm of citizenship.

Talk Date: April 28, 10:00-11:30 Panel IV (Closed) Reading Violence, Creative Visions, Transnational Histories

Venue: University Senate Chamber

 



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Dr. Natalie S. Loveless is a conceptual artist, curator, and Assistant Professor of contemporary art history and theory in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta, where she also directs the Research-Creation and Social Justice CoLABoratory. Loveless specializes in feminist and performance art history, art as social practice and the pedagogical turn, and artistic research methodologies (research-creation). She has modelled her research-creation practice in her work on maternal ecology and through auto-ethnographic performance and scholarship. She is also writing the first book that thinks carefully about the pedagogical promise and challenges posed by SSHRC’s category of research-creation and what it means to treat art as research in ways that are responsible simultaneously to the meaning and power of art and to the needs and requirements of a degree-granting university system. Current projects include “Maternal Ecologies: An Autoethnographic and Artistic Exploration of Contemporary Motherhood” (funded by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), a book on Art and/as Research for Duke University Press (Haraway’s Dog, Or How to Make Art at the End of the World), and a chapter on feminist art and the maternal for the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Feminist Art Practice and Theory, co-edited by Hilary Robinson and Maria Elena Buszek (Maternal Mattering: the Performance and Politics of the Maternal in Contemporary Art).

Abstract: 

Measuring Incompatibilities: Impact Metrics Across Disciplinary Divides

By the late 1980s and early 1990s in the UK, Doctoral-level degree granting programs started to suggest that not only was artistic practice worthy of an undergraduate degree (the production of introductory knowledge relevant to a field), or even a Master’s degree (the mastery of a field of knowledge), but artistic practice could lead to a doctoral degree (the production of new knowledge in a field). Within the academy, this then begged the question: if artistic practice now constituted the production of new knowledge in a field—knowledge presumed to be verifiable through adjudication structures relevant to that field—what metrics might be used for measuring such arts-based, and sometimes quite radically interdisciplinary, projects? This paper, in its final form, will examine problems that emerge when artistic practice is assessed with metrics translated from sister fields (for example: a solo exhibition = a single authored book; a group exhibition = a chapter in an edited volume) with particular attention to interdisciplinary collaborations that cross more distant divides than the those of the arts and humanities, such art and medicine, using The Vaccines Project—a project the author is currently involved in—as case study. Below is an initial draft. Following the exhibition being currently mounted in Norway, this draft will be revised to account for the modes of assessment deployed during the exhibition itself and discussed during the final workshop (March 13-15, 2017).

Talk Date: April 29, 10-12pm  Panel V (closed): Resilience and Generative Politics 

Venue: Education Centre North 4th Floor Lounge



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Kyle T. Mays is an historian of modern US, Afro-Indigenous, and Indigenous studies, with a particular focus on how various actors construct indigeneity and other social meanings in modern US cities. During his time as a postdoctoral fellow, he will be working to transform his dissertation into a book. A cultural and social history, the book will tentatively analyze how indigeneity functioned in Detroit’s modern development. An idea central to the project is that we cannot comprehend the development of modern US cities without also understanding how indigeneity was central to their development. Dr. Mays also has an interest in contemporary popular culture, especially how Native artists construct indigeneity within Hip Hop.

Abstract:

Reclaiming Waawayeyaattnong (Detroit): Indigeneity, Hip Hop, and Settler Colonialism in the Motor City

Detroit is a place rooted in contradiction. Once known as the “arsenal democracy” during World War II, it has now become the epitome of urban blight and, according to popular opinion, an illustration of the incompetency of Black governance, following the election of the city’s first Black Mayor Coleman A. Young in 1974, and the recent, spectacular collapse of the “Hip Hop Mayor,” Kwame Kilpatrick. Now, Detroit is a place for opportunity.

Detroit is a “new frontier,” a place where one can settle on “empty” lands and create a business. While venture capitalists and hipsters are staking their claim in the city, Indigenous people are using creative arts and activism, namely Hip Hop, as an anthem, a means to challenge white supremacy and settler colonialism in the city. This essay analyzes how Indigenous Hip Hop creates new possibilities and potential for resistance, and brings visible the city’s most invisible population: Indigenous people.

Talk Date: April 27, 1:15 – 3:15 Panel III (closed): Settler Politics and Creative Labour

Venue: University Senate Chamber


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Dr. Deepti Misri is Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado – Boulder. She is the author of Beyond Partition: Gender, Violence, and Representation in Postcolonial India (University of Illinois Press/Women Unlimited, 2014), winner of the Eugene M Kayden Book Award. Her current work explores the gendered cultural terrain on which understandings of occupation and resistance are forged in Kashmir, through analyses of literary, cinematic and visual texts.

Abstract: 

Performing Humanity: Violence and Visuality in Kashmir 

This paper will examine a selection of visual texts that seek to intervene in the optical regime that supports the Indian occupation of Kashmir, one that succeeds in eliciting widespread support within India, in part by effecting a systematic erasure of the humanity of Kashmiris. I consider the visual and narrative tactics by which Kashmiri visual producers lay claim to the category of the “human,” as they link human rights claims to the demand for self-determination. In the face of a dehumanizing optical regime, I consider the ways in which Kashmiris take on the burden of “performing humanity” by putting wounded Kashmiri bodies on spectacular display; graphically foregrounding Kashmiri bodily vulnerability in acts of public grieving; and seeking to interpellate a global political community by appealing to a shared humanity. As these urgent claims to a larger community of humans are voiced, this paper asks what it means to perform humanity in these ways.

Talk Date: April 28, 10:00-11:30 Panel IV (Closed) Reading Violence, Creative Visions, Transnational Histories

Venue: University Senate Chamber



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Dr. Sourayan Mookerjea is Associate Professor of theory and cultural studies and Director of the Intermedia Research Studio at the Department of Sociology, University of Alberta where he specializes in decolonizing theory, critical globalization studies, and intermedia research. His current projects include The Commons and the Convergence of Crises, an intermedia theory of the commons, RePublicU, a critical university studies collaboration, and Intersections of Sustainability, a collaborative research project on the politics of climate change. He is a participant in Arts and the Anthropocene, a social justice, research creation ColLab at the Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta. His commitment to practicing and producing scholarship on intermedia including his commitment to taking an approach to intermedia that foregrounds the commons creatively is at the cutting-edge of our concerns at the intersection of powerful discourses and creative practices.

Abstract: 

Utopian Circles of the Creative Economy: Subaltern Counter-environments of the Internet of Things

This paper intervenes in current debates regarding creative economies by interrogating the ideological fields of both creativity and economy as they are now being articulated through the stakes of climate change politics. I interrogate the rhetoric of creativity informing contemporary discourses proposing to scale up a low carbon creative circular economy built out information communication technologies and the so-called internet of things. I examine the mystification of information, technology, and the global social relations of production underpinning such utopian figures of creativity and the structural elision of the embodied politics of social reproduction from these economic models. The paper’s critique of these ideological fields proceeds through a theorization of what I term subaltern counterenvironments through which the body and the digital mediate memory and history. As such, subaltern counter-environments, I argue, characterize the creativity of the social reproductive, right to the city, survival strategies of the urban poor and of global migrants. This argument unfolds through a discussion of my research on the “environmentalism of the poor” in South Asia.

Talk Date 1: April, 27 9:00-10:30 Panel I (closed): Politicizing Creative Economy

Venue: University Senate Chamber

Talk Date 2 : April 28, 1:00-2:45 Public Panel I: Politicizing Creative Economy

Venue: Education Centre North Room 2-115


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Dr. Erin Morton is a leading national expert in the field of Canadian cultural history and visual cultural studies, and author/editor of two books and over a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in this area. One of these books (Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada, co-edited with Lynda Jessup and Kirsty Robertson, MQUP 2014) was described by UBC’s John O’Brian as “chang[ing] how we should think about visual culture and art history in Canada” (BC Studies). Her single-authored monograph, For Folk’s Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia (MQUP 2016) is the first critical history of the creative category “folk art” in Canada. She was PI of a SSHRC project that examined connections between settler colonialism, folk art, and North American integration (“Bordering the Vernacular: Canada, Folk Art, and the New North America”).

Abstract: 

Unsettling Creative Labour in Canada: The Myth of the White Proletariat under Treaty Six

When in August 2016 a white farmer fatally shot Colten Boushie, a 22-year old Cree man, the farmer’s wife allegedly shouted “That’s what you get for trespassing on private property.” Yet due to a confluence of violences that the Canadian settler state has enacted under the parametres of Treaty Six since 1876, Boushie and his people could have never owned the farm in North Battleford where he was killed—at least not in the liberal capitalist proprietary sense. This paper will explore three contexts that intersect with Boushie’s murder at the hands of white supremacist property owners. First, it will consider the historical violence on Treaty Six land, from the hangings of Louis Riel and Assiniboine and Cree Warriors after the events of 1885. Second, the “peasant farming” provisions of Treaty Six, which saw Indigenous farmers “crawl before they walked” by relegating them to the use of “primitive” agricultural technologies –the same technologies that white farmers became nostalgic for and represented through various “folk art” creativities, such as decorated oxen yokes, sickles, and spades. Third, the racist settler state agricultural policy that emerged in reaction to 1885 and relegated Indigenous farmers to limited use of their newly jurisdictional reserve lands; though they thrived anyway, the settler state violently stole their harvests.

Talk Date: April 27, 1:15 – 3:15 Panel III (closed): Settler Politics and Creative Labour

Venue: University Senate Chamber


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Shaista Aziz Patel is a PhD candidate at OISE/University of Toronto. Her scholarly and other political work is focused on engaging with colonial and racial violence(s), as well as on examining the place of people of color (South Asians in particular) in North America. “

Abstract:

The “Indianness” of the “Indian Queen”: Reading for the History of the Present

The “Indian Queen” has been a consistently popular figure in entertainment and advertisements from 17th – 19th century in Europe and North America.  The racial fluidity through which the Queen and her attendants are consolidated in the 18th century caught my attention.  The analysis which began with thinking about a white actress “playing Indian” (Deloria, 1999) could not account for the varying racial compositiona of the Queen, or hold onto the materiality of violence(s) which explicate the possibility of ‘her’ wide circulation. Arguing for the urgent need to read more than (and not simply beyond) the binaries of settler/native and white/black which dominate our “1492 episteme” (Wynter, 1995), I suggest a critical reading of this figure by situating ‘her’ in racial, colonial, anti-Black, anti-Muslim, and imperialist logics of white supremacy.  Through doing so, I also present some initial thoughts on bringing together what might appear to be discontinuous and “unlikely archives” (Lowe, 2015) in order to think about the ways in which tracing the absences which our reading of history has produced, and the ways in which these silences become self-sustaining hard boundaries carving up academic labor into fields and the intricate connections into unrelated archives can be examined. Treating cultural production as an important site for animation of racial, colonial and imperial histories can also help us to understand the past not simply as fixed or a mere event, but as shifting and enabling multiple presents and futures.

Talk Date: April 28, 10:00-11:30 Panel IV (Closed) Reading Violence, Creative Visions, Transnational Histories

Venue: University Senate Chamber



cropped-pratt_geraldineDr. Geraldine Pratt is a Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia, whose research has centered on the implications and output of a twenty-year collaboration with the Philippine Women Centre of BC, feeds into and is part of a larger debate about the expansion of temporary labour migration worldwide. Examining the complex and varied circumstances of Filipino women working in Canada as domestic workers on temporary work visas, she has collaborated and experimented with ways of bringing research with the Philippine Women Centre of BC to a wider public to stimulate informed debate, most notably through testimonial theatre. She has been preoccupied with how to put stories of family separation into circulation, with the politics of testimony and witnessing, and the obligations of witnessing and dialogue beyond and across national and community boundaries.

Abstract: 

Tlingipino Bingo! And other Futures

I reflect upon a performance collaboration, Tlingipino Bingo!, that took place at the Elks Hall in Whitehorse in June 2016 as part of Nuit Blanche.  Created in and for a context in which relations between recent Filipino immigrants and Indigenous peoples have been stressed, it was an actual and fully participatory bingo game, called by a Filipino performer, a Tlingit elder (in her role as Gramma Susie, a popular character in the region) and a Tlingipino drag queen (Miss Lituya). It was an occasion for bringing Filipinos and Tlingit together, as well as others, to play and share stories, and to learn about a long but buried history of exchange between Tlingit and Filipinos in the region and to unsettle or queer existing accounts of Filipino migration. I have in mind putting this event in conversation with existing attempts of imagining what political possibilities might emerge when thinking labour migration in relation to indigenous histories of colonial dispossession – in the context of performance and community play.

Talk Date 1: April 27, 10:45 – 12:15 Panel II (closed): Reimagining Relations

Venue: University Senate Chamber

Talk Date 2: April 28, 3:00-4:45 Public Panel II Reimagining Relations

Venue: Education Centre North Room 2-115

 


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Dr. Kim TallBear is Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment. She is the author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science. She co-produces the new Edmonton sexy storytelling show, Prairie Confessions, modeled on the popular Austin, Texas Bedpost Confessions. Building on lessons learned with geneticists about how race categories get settled, Dr. TallBear is working on a new book that interrogates colonial commitments to settlement in place, within disciplines, and within monogamous, state-sanctioned relationships. She is a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota.

Abstract: 

American Dreaming is White Possessiveness

Genocidal settlement conditions the emergence of the category of Indigeneity. Paradoxically, the category also conditions possibilities for survival of Peoples grouped under the Indigenous umbrella. My work traverses the politics of genomics; Indigenous governance, feminist, and queer theories; critical race theory, the so-called “new” materialisms; Indigenous materialisms; and critical animal studies. It moves toward (re)articulating Indigenous concepts of being in relation or relationality. My work opposes defining life, kin, identities, and bodies according to rigid Western binaries of life vs. not life, human vs. nature that inevitably turn hierarchical. Within that framework, this talk critiques the grand narrative of US American exceptionalism (and settler-colonial exceptionalism broadly) that de-animates other-than-human relatives below humans, and which de-animates many humans—including Indigenous peoples—below the Western (often male) subject. I take up the American dream and its role—whether explicitly White supremacist or more inclusive and multicultural in form—in Indigenous elimination and in the elimination of many of our human and other-than-human relatives. I propose a framework of people-to-people relations as an alternative to this temporally (and sometimes politically) progressive settler-colonial narrative.

Talk Date 1: April 27, 10:45 – 12:15 Panel II (closed): Reimagining Relations

Venue: University Senate Chamber

Talk Date 2: April 28, 3:00-4:45 Public Panel II Reimagining Relations

Venue: Education Centre North Room 2-115


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Dr. Nishant Upadhyay teaches in Women’s and Gender Studies at the Northern Arizona University, USA. Their research looks at South Asian diasporic formations in the settler-nation states of the U.S. and Canada. They theorize racial complicities in ongoing colonization of Indigenous peoples, nations, and lands, through the transnational intersections of race, indigeneity, caste, class, gender, and sexuality. Their work has been published in journals like Feminist Studies, Feral Feminisms, Women Studies Quarterly, Sikh Formations, and Jindal Global Law Review.

Abstract:

“Can you get more American than Native American?”: Drag Creativity and (Racialized) Patriots Playing Natives  

The runway challenge for RuPaul’s Drag Race participants on Episode 9 of Season 3 was to dress in their most patriotic drag. Raja, an Asian American drag star and winner of that season, walked the runway in a Native dress. RuPaul, the show host and drag mother, approving Raja’s dress said: “Can you get more American than Native American?” Earlier in the show the participants made 30-second public service announcements on their love for America, which would be shown to U.S. military personals posted overseas. The contestants, significantly all racialized drag queens, overcome by the freedom and liberty that U.S has given them, showcased their love for the country, and thanked the soldiers for fighting for their freedom. Rupaul, who is African American, herself was dressed as a cowboy for the part of the show. Two episodes prior, the only Native participant of the season, Stacy Layne Matthews, was eliminated from the race. She lost the race in the episode where she claims her Lumbee heritage. It is hard to miss the settler colonial modalities in function here. With the Native “eliminated”, a few episodes later, racialized U.S. patriots could profess their love for the nation, play cowboys, celebrate soldiers, and be the Native. This paper theorizes the making of racialized (queer) settlers on stolen lands, processes of settler homonationalism (Morgensen 2010), and settler desires to be the Native. By playing the Indian, racialized subjects, akin to white settlers, claim belonging and affinity to settler states (Deloria 1998) and invest themselves in a settler futurity that is “dependent on the foreclosure of an Indigenous futurity” (Tuck and Yang 2012: 14). By looking at drag as a creative practice, that seeks to challenge gender and sexual normativities, this paper argues that drag can however work to reproduce the racial and colonial logics of the settler state. This paper is a call to rethink drag-creativity beyond gender performance, and to engage intersectionally with white settler colonial formations.

Talk Date: April 27, 1:15 – 3:15 Panel III (closed): Settler Politics and Creative Labour

Venue: University Senate Chamber



Wysote Picture RCETravis Wysote is a Listuguj Mi’gmaq researcher, currently studying at Concordia University on Haudenosaunee territory. He holds a Master’s degree in Art History and Communication Studies from McGill University, a Bachelor’s degree in Honours History from the University of New Brunswick, and is currently working towards his Interdisciplinary PhD in Humanities at Concordia University. His research interests are related to Mi’gmaq history and settler colonialism, with writings on Mi’gmaq treaties, the aesthetics of sovereignty, the politics of genocide recognition, and the state of exception. Travis’ current research analyzes the aesthetics of resurgence and refusal enacted in the documentary films of Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, with particular reference to his family’s roles in Incident at Restigouche and Our Nationhood.

Abstract:

“Don’t Touch Me. I’m Sovereign!”: Grounding Sovereignty with Ceremonies of Refusal

Beginning with Mi’gmaw warrior Suzanne Patles who was arrested mid-ceremony during the 2013 New Brunswick anti-fracking conflict, this essay contemplates the notion of Canadian sovereignty from the Mi’gmaw perspective and offers some observations as to why, in general, Indigenous peoples continue to reject, resist, and refuse Canadian sovereignty. The first part traces the introduction of sovereignty-as-violence to a series of scalping proclamations issued in 1749 by Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant General Edward Cornwallis and suggests that British-turned-Canadian sovereignty remains rooted in an exceptional disposition towards Indigenous peoples. The second part explores how violence-as-sovereignty imagines its own exceptional time and space, and counters these abstractions with Lakota philosopher Vine Deloria Jr’s radical challenge to think of sovereignty, history, and time in terms of place. Lastly, the third section returns to Patles’ arrest to suggest that Indigenous peoples have solved the paradox of sovereignty by grounding it in ceremony.

Talk Date: April 27, 10:45 – 12:15 Panel II (closed): Reimagining Relations

Venue: University Senate Chamber

Talk Date 2: April 28, 3:00-4:45 Public Panel II Reimagining Relations

Venue: Education Centre North Room 2-115