Excerpt: This special issue investigates Nordic individuals in transimperial spaces. It tracks Nordics on the move from the early modern period to the twentieth century, as they crossed imperial boundaries, and connected, networked, and operated in different spaces around the world within the framework of European global expansion. Though coming from countries with few or no formal colonies of their own, Nordic people were not distant observers but actively participated in the co-production of colonial ideology, knowledge, and rule from North America and the Caribbean in the west to the Dutch East Indies and China in the east, and from Africa in the south to Sápmi in the north. Nordics in motion sought personal gain, they crossed spaces within and between empires for work and leisure, and their mobility took place independently and as part of institutional settings. And in the case of the Sámi they also engaged in involuntary crossings. By zooming in on Nordics in motion these articles not only expand the cast of colonial projects from the classic ‘coloniser’ – ‘colonised’ binary, but develop a more complicated and nuanced conceptualisation of colonial mobilities and therefore of colonial globality, meaning the asymmetrical relationships created by colonial empires that structured global integration, cultural flows, and projects of modernisation. Aligning with the recent imperative to blur distinctions between national and colonial histories to better comprehend the legacies of Western colonialism in the modern world and within a genuinely global perspective, these articles build on and connect to transimperial history and Nordic colonial history, two fields that have expanded more or less concurrently but in relative isolation from each other.

Abstract: Decolonial praxis requires an awareness of colonial praxis: here, I show that the process of unseeing crime is central to the colonial enterprise in Palestine and significant to understanding the victimizer’s ethos, which in turn may help reframe strategically the victim’s options. First, I introduce the blindness epidemic in José Saramago’s dystopian novel, an epidemic which I later use as an allegory for the structural unseeing which has come to define the Zionist project. This is followed by a brief introduction to how my identity as a (half) Palestinian shapes my relation to the physical, structural, and epistemic violence I have lived or witnessed. I begin my analysis of colonial violence in Israel/Palestine by tracking the shifting interpretations of the impasse, and how these relate to decolonial conceptions of justice, repair, and healing. Next, I illustrate grassroots perspectives on how colonialism is unseen or invisiblized, drawing on my fieldwork data: interviews with leading Palestinian and Israeli activists. Here, the agents and beneficiaries of colonialism become incapable of seeing and “seeing” the criminality before and within them. It is a sinister, omnipresent process. I then discuss some psychosocial aspects of this “blindness epidemic,” showing the complexity here of both seeing and unseeing, which are simultaneously deliberate and automatic processes. After analyzing the structures and processes activating invisibility or unseeing in this colonial site, I show that the few Israeli Jews—some, my interviewees and others, my friends—choosing to exit the “blindness epidemic” become agents of coresistance (as opposed to “coexistence,” misleading mantra of peacebuilding) and of healing. Coresistance here is premised on seeing (and countering) the socially mandated unseeing.

Abstract: In settler colonial states like Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, water for the environment and the water rights of Indigenous Peoples often share the common experience of being too little and too late. Water pathways have been constrained and defined by settler colonialism, and as a result, settler state water law has both a legitimacy problem, in failing to acknowledge or implement the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and a sustainability problem, as the health of water systems continues to decline. In both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, the focus of water law has historically been to facilitate use of the water resource to support economic development, excluding the rights of Indigenous Peoples and poorly protecting water ecosystems. However, in the early 21st century, both countries made significant advances in recognizing the needs of the environment and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. In Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) provides an important bicultural and bijural framework that is beginning to influence water management. In 2017, as part of a Treaty dispute settlement, Aotearoa New Zealand passed legislation to recognize Te Awa Tupua (the Whanganui River) as a legal person and created a new collaborative governance regime for the river, embedding the interests and values of Māori at the heart of river management. In Australia, water recovery processes to increase environmental flows have been under way since the 1990s, using a combination of water buybacks and water savings through increased efficiency. There has been growing awareness of Indigenous water rights in Australia, although progress to formally return water rights to Indigenous Peoples remains glacially slow. Like Aotearoa New Zealand, in 2017, Australia also passed its first legislation that recognized a river (the Birrarung/Yarra River) as a living entity and, in doing so, formally recognized the responsibilities of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people as Traditional Owners of the river. This trend toward more holistic river management under a relational paradigm, in which the relationships between peoples and places are centered and celebrated, creates a genuine opportunity for water governance in settler states that begins to address both the legitimacy and sustainability flaws in settler state water law. However, these symbolic shifts must be underpinned by relationships of genuine trust between Indigenous Peoples and the state, and they require significant investment from the state in their implementation.

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