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Conditions of Settler Colonialism

April 25-26, 2008

Wilder House

This symposium aims to develop collaborative and comparative theories of settler colonialism. Scholars in anthropology, history, indigenous studies, American and Australian studies, law, and political theory will explore questions that include: Does using the rubric of settler colonialism help us to better understand relations between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and what might it occlude? In what ways does settler colonialism condition peoples and populations? Conversely, what are its everyday conditions? Are there specific settler logics, political formations, and economies that can be analyzed across domains (e.g., cosmopolitan or immigrant) that may not initially appear to be “settler colonial”? If indigeneity and settler colonialism cannot be reduced to their relationship with one another, how might we account for their relational excesses and respective sovereign spaces?

With attention to indigeneity, this symposium centers on Anglophone settler societies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. At the same time, we will query the geographical and conceptual boundaries of settler coloniality by including work from South Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The symposium’s purpose is to foster conversation among scholars who have approached shared questions from diverse disciplinary, national, and political traditions. Toward this end, we will present original papers, plenary panels, and roundtables during an intensive two-day gathering. Themes will be announced after preliminary conversations with participants.

Jessica Cattelino, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Miranda Johnson, PhD Candidate in History

Chris Andersen, University of Alberta, Canada
Bain Attwood, Monash University, Australia
Christopher Bracken, University of Alberta, Canada
Jessica Cattelino, University of Chicago
Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago
D. Anthony Tyeeme Clark, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, USA
Raymond Fogelson, University of Chicago
Aroha Harris, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Frederick Hoxie, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, USA
Miranda Johnson, University of Chicago
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University, USA
Amanda Macdonald, University of Chicago
Stuart Macintyre, Melbourne University, Australia / Harvard University, USA
Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Elizabeth Povinelli, Columbia University, USA
Caroline Schuster, University of Chicago
Audra Simpson, Cornell University, USA
Andrea Smith, USA
Stephen Turner, University of Auckland
Hadas Weiss, University of Chicago

Bain Attwood, Monash University
Orit Bashkin, University of Chicago
Amahl Bishara, University of Chicago
Jean Comaroff, University of Chicago
Leela Gandhi, University of Chicago
Ramón Gutiérrez, University of Chicago
Audra Simpson, Cornell University

FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2008

11:30am — Lunch

12:00-1:30pm — Opening Roundtable Discussion

Dipesh Chakrabarty
Departments of History and South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Elizabeth Povinelli
Department of Anthropology, Columbia University

Aileen Moreton-Robinson
Department of Indigenous Studies, Queensland University of Technology

1:30-2:00pm — Break

2:00-4:30pm — Logics of Settlement: Economy, Property, Sovereignty
Discussant: Amahl Bishara, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago

“Milking the Cow for All It’s Worth: The Logic of American Settler Colonialism in Hawai`i”
Kehaulani Kauanui
Departments of Anthropology and American Studies, Wesleyan University

“West Bank Settlers and Capitalist Ideology”
Hadas Weiss
PhD Candidate in Anthropology, University of Chicago

“High Prices and Strange Currencies: Economic Logics of Settler Colonialism”
Jessica Cattelino
Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago

“Sovereignty and Land: A Comparison of Settler Colonies and Settler Colonialisms”
Bain Attwood
Department of History, Monash University
Wolfson College, Cambridge University

4:30-5:00pm — Break

5:00-6:30pm — “White Possession: Writing off Indigenous Sovereignties within the United States Critical Whiteness Studies Literature”
Aileen Moreton-Robinson
Department of Indigenous Studies, Queensland University of Technology

7:00 — Dinner for presenters



8:30am — Breakfast

9:00-11:00am — Creating new subjects: settler colonialism and indigenous studies in the academy
Discussant: Ramón Gutiérrez, Department of History, University of Chicago

“The Concept of “Colonialism” in Native North America: Absent, Qualified and Assumed”
Raymond Fogelson
Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago

“Indigenous Feminism and Settler Colonialism”
Andrea Smith

“‘Escaping into politics’: Australian Social Scientists and Aboriginal Inquiry in the 1960s”
Stuart Macintyre
Department of History, University of Melbourne
Australian Studies, Harvard University

“Passionate About Subjectivity”
Aroha Harris
Department of History, University of Auckland

11:00-11:30am — Break

11:30am-1:00pm — Insistence, Resistance and Sympathy
Discussant: Orit Bashkin, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

“Subjects of Sovereignty: Indigeneity, the Revenue Rule, and Juridics of Failed Consent”
Audra Simpson
Department of Anthropology and American Indian Studies, Cornell University

“If everybody could just settle down: representational insistence in lieu of resistance in the pre-post-colony of New Caledonia”
Amanda Macdonald
Department of English Language and Literature, University of Chicago

“Sympathy, Property, Nullity”
Christopher Bracken
Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta

1:00-2:00pm — Lunch

2:00-5:00 — Unsettled Futures and the Conditions of the Past

2:00-3:30pm — Part One
Discussant: Bain Attwood, Department of History, Monash University

“Defining a Native Nation in a Settler State: William P. Ross and the Defense of Indian Territory”
Fred Hoxie
Department of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne

“Without Our Lands, We are Nothing, Or, the Existential Situatedlessness that Post-national Settler Colonialism Imposes”
D. Anthony Tyeeme Clark
American Indian Studies Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne

“Banking on Indigeneity: The Politics of Microcredit in Argentina’s Altiplano”
Caroline Schuster
PhD Candidate in Anthropology, University of Chicago

3:30-3:45pm — Break

3:45-5:00pm — Part Two
Discussant: Leela Gandhi, Department of English, University of Chicago

“Mixed Ancestry or Métis? Settler Colonialism, Law and Indigenous Self-Identification in Canada’s Martimes”
Chris Andersen
Native Studies, University of Alberta

“Settling the Past: Decolonization and the Problem of History in Settler Societies”
Miranda Johnson
PhD Candidate in History, University of Chicago

“Remediated History and the Resettlement of New Zealand”
Stephen Turner
Department of English, University of Auckland

5:00-5:30pm — Wrap-Up

Jean Comaroff
Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago

Jessica Cattelino
Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago

Audra Simpson
Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

7:00 PM — Dinner for Presenters

Chris Andersen is Michif (Métis) and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on juridical and administrative misrecognitions of Métis rooted in the(il)logics of racialization. He has published in several journals, including Nations and NationalismCanadian Review of Sociology and AnthropologyCriminal Justice Review and Crime, Law and Social Change. His work has been featured in the edited volumes, Canada, the State of the Federation, 2003: Reconfiguring Aboriginal-State Relations (2005) and Expressions in Canadian Native Studies (2000).

Bain Attwood is a Professor at the School of Historical Studies at Monash University in Victoria, Australia. He also holds an adjunct professorship at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research at the Australian National University in Canberra. His research interests are Australian and New Zealand indigenous history, Aboriginal land claims, human rights, and memory. He is the author or editor of eleven books, including Public Life of History with Dipesh Chakrabarty and Claudio Lomnitz (2008), Telling the Truth About Aboriginal History (2005), Rights for Aborigines (2003), and Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand, with Fiona Magowan (2001).

Christopher Bracken is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He has written on the potlatch, on indigenous studies in Western Canada, on Canadian policy on indigenous practices, and on the principle of aboriginal title. He poses questions about the rhetoric of colonial regimes and representations of Indigenous cultures, and about the multiple intersections between European critical theory and colonial discourses. His major publications include Magical Criticism: The Recourse of Savage Philosophy (2007) and The Potlatch Papers: A Colonial Case History (1997).  He is currently studying colonial encounters in New England and Quebec.

Jessica Cattelino is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.  Her work centers on American public culture, indigenous sovereignty, economy, and settler colonialism.  Her forthcoming book, High Stakes: Florida Seminole Gaming and Sovereignty (Duke University Press, July 2008), examines the cultural, political, and economic stakes of tribal casinos for Florida Seminoles.  Her next research project will explore citizenship and territoriality in the Florida Everglades.

Dipesh Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History and South Asian Studies at the University of Chicago. He a a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He also holds visiting appointments with the Research School of Humanities at the Australian National University and with the School of History at the University of Melbourne. His publications include Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton University Press, 2000; new edn., 2008), Habitations of Modernity (The University of Chicago Press, 2002), and Humanism in an Age of Globalization (Center for Contemporary Culture, Barcelona, 2008). He is also the co-editor of several publications including Cosmopolitanism (Duke University Press, 2000) and of a special issue of Public Culture called “The Public Life of History.” He is a founding member of the editorial collective of Subaltern Studies, a co-editor of Critical Inquiry, and a founding editor of Postcolonial Studies. He is currently completing a book with the provisional title, The Decline and Prospect of Universal History.

D. Anthony Tyeeme Clark is an Assistant Professor in the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a  2007-2008 Fellow at UIUC’s Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society. He has written about the representations of American Indians as mascots and in practices of mass consumption. His primary interests include intellectual history, contemporary media and popular culture, and critical and interpretive theory. He has published articles in American Indian Quarterly and Wicazo Sa Review, and his work has been included in several edited volumes, including Beyond Red Power: Rethinking Twentieth-Century American Indian Politics (2007), Making of the American West: People and Perspectives (2007) and In the Game: Race, Identity, and Sports in the Twentieth Century (2005).

Raymond Fogelson is Professor of Anthropology and Human Development at the University of Chicago.  He conducts research on the ethnology and ethnohistory of Indians of the Southeastern United States. He is concerned with issues involving Indian identity, especially with problems of tribal recognition and the repatriation/rematriation of physical remains and material culture as well as questions of mixed Indian status. He also has abiding interests in the comparative study of Fourth World religions and processes of religious change, in problems of psychological anthropology and the history of anthropology. The conjunction of anthropology, the presentation and representation of native peoples, and popular culture, particularly as manifested in World’s Fairs and resorts, constitute another focus of research. This relates also to his interests in the anthropology of museums.

Aroha Harris is a Lecturer in History at the University of Auckland. Her research interests include New Zealand history with a focus on Maori culture and society since World War II, oral history and race relations. She has a research background in Treaty of Waitangi claims, and health and social services for Maori. Her book, Hikoi: Forty years of Maori Protest (2004), explores the Maori protest movement in the years since the 1960s.

Frederick E. Hoxie is Swanlund Professor of History and Professor of Law at UIUC. He is the former Director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History and Vice President for Research at the Newberry Library. He has written extensively on the history of American Indians, on the Crow Indians of Montana, and on the history of U.S. policy towards indigenous people.  His works include A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the American Indians, 1880-1920 (1984), Parading Through History: The Making of the Crow Nation in America, 1805-1935 (1995), The Encyclopedia of North American Indians (1996), Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices From the Progressive Era (2001), and (with R. David Edmunds and Neal Salisbury), The People: A History of Native America (2007).

Miranda Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Chicago and will shortly be taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows. Before beginning her doctoral work, which considers how history is struggled over in indigenous treaty and native title claims in settler states, she worked at New Zealand’s Waitangi Tribunal. Her work appears in Public CulturePostcolonial Studies and the New Zealand Journal of History.

J. Kehaulani Kauanui is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Studies at Wesleyan University. Her research interests include Native Hawaiian sovereignty, US colonialism in the Pacific, critical race theory, decolonization and nation building, and nationalism and the politics of gender and sexuality. Her work appears in the following journals: Political and Legal Anthropology ReviewThe Contemporary PacificSocial TextWomen’s Studies International ForumThe Hawaiian Journal of HistoryAmerican Indian QuarterlyAmerasia JournalComparative American StudiesAmerican Studies, and `Oiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal. Her first book, Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity, will be published this year by Duke University Press, and she is currently co-editing a volume entitled Native Feminisms: Without Apology. Kauanui is also the producer and host of a weekly public affairs radio program, “Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond,” on WESU a Pacifica-affiliate station in Middletown, Connecticut.

Amanda Macdonald is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where she teaches cultural theory and cultural analysis, with a focus on everyday genres. Her teaching and research interests fall under the broad heading of representation studies, where francophone studies meet the new humanities. Her publications include studies of the metaphorics of French theoretical and critical writing, pedagogical discursivity, and a variety of word-image genres in French and English. She is presently preparing a monograph on the play of genre issues in the contemporary representation of Kanaks and Kanak sovereignty in New Caledonia.

Stuart Macintyre currently holds the Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University. He was previously Ernest Scott Professor of History and in 2002 was made a Laureate Professor of the University of Melbourne, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1999 to 2006. His work has focused on political, intellectual, and labor history in Australia, and he is currently researching the history of communism in Australia. His is an editor of The Oxford History of Historical Writing. He has authored and edited more than thirty books, including The Reds: The Communist Party of Australia from Origins to Illegality (1998), Concise History of Australia (1999), The History Wars with Anna Clark (2003), The Historian’s Conscience: Australian historians on the ethics of history (2004), and The Life of the Past: The Discipline of History at the University of Melbourne (2006; coeditor with Fay Anderson).

Aileen Moreton-Robinson is a Geonpul scholar and Professor of Indigenous Studies at Queensland University of Technology. She is also the founding President of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association. She has written extensively on issues of native title, whiteness, race, gender, and feminism, and has published pieces on Aboriginal art and indigenous conceptions of whiteness. Her works include Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: Indigenous Women and Feminism (2000) and the edited volumes Whitening Race: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism (2004) and Sovereign Subjects: The Manifestation of Indigenous Sovereignty (2008).

Elizabeth Povinelli is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her writing has focused on developing a critical theory of late liberalism, grounded in theories of the translation, transfiguration, and the circulation of values, materialities, and socialities within settler liberalisms. In her first two books, Labor’s Lot: The Power, History and Culture of Aboriginal Action (1994) and The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism (2002), she focuses on impasses within liberal systems of law and value as they meet local Australian indigenous worlds, and the effect of these impasses on the development of legal and public culture in Australia. In her most recent book, in The Empire of Love: Toward a Theory of Intimacy, Genealogy, and Carnality (2006), she explores how a set of ethical and normative claims about the governance of love, sociality, and the body circulate in liberal settler colonies in such a way that life and death, rights and recognition, goods and resources are unevenly distributed there.

Caroline Schuster is a third-year graduate student in the Anthropology department at the University of Chicago.  Her work centers on small-scale development projects, especially microcredit, in the southern cone of Latin America.  Her dissertation project focuses on the regulatory forms that produce ‘good businesses’ in a free trade zone on Paraguay’s shared border with Argentina and Brazil: a zone that is notorious for smuggling, piracy, money laundering and contraband.  In addition to theorizing money and value, her interests also include the intersection of regulation and law as well as the fraught relation between indigeneity and development projects.

Audra Simpson is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at Cornell University. She has articles in American Quarterly and Junctures and work forthcoming in Law and Contemporary Problems. She has work in the edited collections Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as the forthcoming volume, Native Feminisms Without Apology. Her book manuscript is under contract with Duke University Press. Her theoretical and ethnographic interests reside within nationhood, indigeneity, critical forms of history and contemporary colonialisms. She labors to connect these interests between the fields of anthropology, native studies and political theory. In July, 2008 she will commence her tenure track position in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University.

Andrea Smith is co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and the Boarding School Healing Project. She is the author of Native Americans and the Christian Right:  The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances (2008) Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (2005), and is editor (through Incite) of The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex (2007).

Hadas Weiss is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Anthropology at theUniversity of Chicago.  She is writing a dissertation on ideology and practice in the West Bank settlement movement.

This symposium is co-sponsored by the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Department of Anthropology, the Center for Gender Studies, the Department of History, the Harris Fund in International Studies, the Native American Students Association, the Nicholson Center for British Studies, the Human Rights Program, and the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT).