Institute for Advanced Study Presents

Savage States: Settler Governance in an Age of Sorrow

IAS Thursdays
Sep 2017
About the Event

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. This fantasy of a world without Indians or Indians whittled into claimants extends itself to a mode of governance that is beyond institutional and ideological but is in this study, deeply affective. 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. This piece asks not only in what world we imagine time to stop, but takes up the ways in which those that survived the time stoppage stand in critical relationship to dispossession and settler governance apprehend, analyze and act upon this project of affective governance. 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.

This talk is copresented by the John E. Sawyer Seminar. Cosponsored by American Indian Studies, the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, Heritage Studies, and the departments of Anthropology and History.