Spring 2018 Colloquium Seminars

Tuesday talks, SFU Burnaby
Free and open to all. Brown bag lunch


Rupturing Colonialscapes: Politicizing the Relational Sites and Scales of Indigenous Resurgence

January 16, 2018

Dr. Sarah Hunt, Assistant Professor, First Nations & Indigenous Studies/Geography, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, University of British Columbia


In recent years, the cultural, political and legal resurgence of Indigenous nations has taken shape through the actions of Indigenous people whose political consciousness arise from an orientation toward Indigenous, rather than colonial, law. These diverse expressions of Indigenous resurgence cannot be contained within colonially-delineated Indian reserves, but instead enact a network of territorial relations which together cover all of what is now known as Canada. Yet realities of gendered violence serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need to challenge colonially imposed divisions between public and private space, which continue to depoliticize and deprioritize much of the intimate work of decolonization. In this talk, I will discuss the relational nature of strategies of resurgence across diverse sites of decolonial thought/action and their potential to actively rupture what I call colonialscapes – the interrelated spatial rationales of terra nullius, the frontier and Indian reserves. Through a series of recent examples, I will explore the potential for multi-scalar activations of Indigenous territorial relations to create ruptures in colonialscape relations, actively resisting the closure of settlement.

Insurgency, Price, Sovereignty: The Struggle Against Financialized Water in Europe

Tuesday, February 27, 2017

1:15 - 2:30 pm, AQ 5067, Ellen Gee room

Dr. Andrea Muehlebach, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto


This talk explores recent water insurgencies, price-wars, and referenda in Ireland and Italy in order to reflect on how water has become a vehicle for critiques of the privatization and financialization of water. Water - as life, gift, vital resource, and infrastructure - has thus emerged as symbol and substance through which protesters in different parts of Europe have formulated popular critiques of finance capital and the forms of capitalist predation and political authoritarianism that accompany it. At stake is the emergence of what I call a "vital politics," which opposes the vitalism of water to enclosure, the commons to private property, and collective care over extractivist violence.

Savage States: Settler Governance in an Age of Sorrow

March 20, 2017 

2-4 pm at Halpern Centre, Room 114

Dr. Audra Simpson, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University


In what world do we imagine the past to be settled in light of its refusal to perish and allow things to start over anew? What are the conditions that make for this imagining, this fantasy or rather, demand of a new start point? In this piece I consider the world of settler colonialism which demands this newness, and a world in which Native people and their claims to territory are whittled to the status of claimant or subject in time with the fantasy of their disappearance and containment away from a modern and critical present.  In this piece I examine how the Canadian practice of settler governance has adjusted itself in line with global trends and rights paradigms away from overt violence to what are seen as softer and kinder, caring modes of governing but governing, violently still and yet, with a language of care, upon on still stolen land. Here an oral and textual history of the notion of "reconciliation" is constructed and analyzed with recourse to a subaltern strata of Indigenous criticism of this affective project of repair.

Co-sponsored with First Nations Studies and with funding from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, SFU