We are inviting papers for a seminar to be hosted at the American Comparative Literature Association's 2015 Annual Meeting, in Seattle, Washington on -. This seminar explores how settler colonial studies contribute to our study of comparative literature, both within and beyond Anglophone settler spaces.
Recent scholarship has re-conceptualized settler colonialism as a distinct structure of domination. Despite inherent heterogeneity within settler and indigenous societies, structural opposition between the two continues beyond invasion. As such, ethnic minorities in white settler countries may participate in indigenous dispossession, and third-world postcolonial nation states may have untold histories of settler colonialism. Settler colonial history in the global scale thus entails particularly complex flows of power and structures of relation, whereby one moves vertically (structurally) from being indigenous to being settler (or vise-versa) along the horizontal global flows of migration, invasion, and settlement. In this framework, it may also become possible to examine migrants in Australia, the USA, Canada, and New Zealand for their participation in the settler order, and to query how much settler colonial domination has given legitimacy to states like Taiwan or Japan's many islands and contributed to the ongoing conflicts in Israel or the Chinese borderlands.
In response to these complex networks of relation brought to light by settler colonial studies, this seminar examines the particular challenges and new possibilities in reading literatures comparatively across settler colonial conditions and structural positions, between postcolonial, indigenous, and ethnic literary studies. What may be our new ethos and strategies of reading and how can we engage with the particular temporal and spatial juxtapositions and scaling in settler texts? In what sense may it be productive to study literatures outside of the Anglophone settler colonies as settler colonial? Then, do settler literatures in Chinese, Japanese, or other tongues, invoke distinct literary traditions to narrate settlement and do these narratives produce divergent structures of relation? Perhaps even more importantly, can literary texts effectively narrate and envision the decolonization of settler colonialism?
We welcomes theoretical and methodological explorations of comparative settler colonial literary studies, close readings of specific sites of settler colonial heterogeneity, or comparative works that investigate relations across locations, languages, or political systems.
To submit a paper proposal, please visit the ACLA website at http://www.acla.org/settler-colonial-literatures-comparison-0/
7th annual NAISA meeting
June 4-6, 2015
Panel CfP: Settler Colonial Biopolitics and Indigenous Lifeways
Biopolitics has recently received considerable attention as a central paradigm of settler colonialism in various national and continental contexts (Mark Rifkin, Scott L. Morgensen, Michael R. Griffiths, Morgan Brigg, among others). What might be most notable about these analyses is how the attempts to biopolitically regulate Indigenous peoples strongly depend on Indigenous peoples’ utter depoliticization. In exercising biopolitics, settler colonial nation-states deny Indigenous nations the status of political entities in their own right, and ascribe to them instead the position of a population group among other groups that populate the territory over which a settler nation-state claims undisputed sovereignty. The main defining characteristic of the thus constituted indigenous population group is its separation via a “biopolitical caesura “(Joseph Pugliese) from the body politic proper of the settler nation-states, which also makes up the basis for government policies towards Indigenous peoples via their construction as an homogenous group, a biopolitical unit of, e,g, in the U.S., “Indians.” It is thus arguably a means by which settler colonial nation-states constitute their own norm and create ways to insist on it as a newly established normativity. Furthermore, as Foucault has famously traced biopolitics to a shift in sovereign rule that ‘makes live’ and helps to produce and foster lives of subjects, this construction of settler normativities includes a classification of life according to which biopolitical practices operate that foster some life forms and lifeways while restricting, limiting, or abandoning others by ‘declassifying’ them.
A discussion of settler-Indigenous relations under the adage of biopolitics thus offers the opportunity to ask how the founding moments of settler colonial nation states in their devaluation of Indigenous nations as polities and of Indigenous lives as worthy of consideration are intertwined, and continue to be significantly embedded in the mechanisms and the structures of settler colonial nation-states today. Furthermore, and maybe even more importantly, it poses the question to which degree Indigenous lifeways – manifest in the realms of the social, political, economic, bodily, sexual, and spiritual, among others, and grounded in distinct traditions and practices – may illustrate Indigenous epistemologies (forms, concepts, knowledges) and politics of life that counter, oppose or in other ways interact with dominant settler colonial biopolitics. In this manner, it is the stated goal of the workshop to consider and explore ‘life,’ which settler cultures define for Indigenous peoples predominantly as an apolitical and largely ahistorical existence, as a central concept and category for the political analysis and critique in settler-Indigenous relations, evolving formations of sovereignty and agency, and in concentrated efforts toward decolonization. This panel thus invites papers from all areas of study and all contexts of settler-Indigenous relations seeking to explore the complex relations and interactions between biopolitics and Indigenous lifeways with a specific interest in discussing the potential, or limits, of ‘life’ as a critical concept and political category in Indigenous Studies.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
- Concepts and politics of life and lifeways in Settler Colonial and Indigenous Studies
- Realms/practices of Indigenous lifeways and colonial biopolitical techniques/regulations
- (De)classifications of life and forms of life in settler-Indigenous relations (hierarchies, caesura, relationality)
- Biopolitics, normativities, and the naturalization of settler colonial rule
- Indigenous lifeways and questions of sovereignty, agency, and decolonization
- Indigenous bodies, lands, lives/lifeways and settler colonial biopolitics
Dr. René Dietrich
Mainz University, Germany