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Glen Coulthard: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition

January 17, 2020

Our live recording with UBC professor and author Glen Coulthard is now available! Click here to listen to the episode in full. Read below for more information on this special episode of our podcast Below the Radar.

Glen Coulthard spent time in Kelowna, East Vancouver and went on to become an academic and tenured professor at the University of British Columbia. Returning to school as an adult, Glen studied at Langara College and then transferred to the University of Alberta. Glen is of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation from Denendeh.

As a professor, Glen is a part of the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program, and the Department of Political Science at UBC. He teaches courses such as “Indigenous Politics and Self-Determination,” which explores the “cultural, historical, political, economic, and gender dynamics that structure the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the state in Canada.”

Alongside his academic work, Glen is the author of the acclaimed book, “Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition.” In addition, he continues his work as an activist with projects such as the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, a decolonial, Indigenous land-based post-secondary program operating on the traditional territories of Denendeh.

Red Skin, White Masks

During the episode, Glen talks about his influences, including psychiatrist and political philosopher Frantz Fanon, who is known for his work in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory and Marxism. Frantz wrote the seminal book, “Black Skin, White Masks,” which examines the effects of racism and dehumanization in situations of colonial domination on the human psyche. Evidently, Glen took influence from Frantz’s writings with his book, “Red Skin, White Masks,” in both the similar topics and title structure.

In Glen’s book, he questions “the assumption that contemporary difference and past histories of destructive colonialism between the state and Indigenous peoples can be reconciled through a process of acknowledgment. He examines an alternative politics, seeking to revalue, reconstruct, and redeploy Indigenous cultural practices based on self-recognition.” His book has won numerous international awards, including the Frantz Fanon Outstanding Book award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association.

Activism Work Today

During the episode, Glen also talks about being the co-founder of the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning. He explained about how the centre delivers land-based programming including university accredited post-secondary programming in Denendeh. 

Glen also delves into his current work examining the crossroads between gentrification and displacement of Indigenous peoples, using the City of Vancouver as a clear example of this.

We are so happy that Glen Coulthard sat down and chatted with us for our latest episode of Below the Radar. You can listen to the episode here. Be sure to listen to Below the Radar on whatever platform you find podcasts (Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicSpotifySoundcloudStitcher). And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you get notified when our episodes goes live. 

This special live recorded episode was part of the Vancouver Podcast Festival, which was a free public event held at the Vancouver Public Library in November 2019.

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