Abstract: “Humanitarian Governance in Colonial New Zealand” focuses on a landmark intervention, Britain’s 1840 annexation of New Zealand, to show how officials, settlers, and indigenous Māori implemented a transnational discourse of humanitarian care within the colony. Invoking favorable impressions of Māori capacity for “civilization,” British proponents of colonization in the 1830s and 1840s advocated planned settlement and an intentional approach to managing indigenous peoples. New Zealand constituted an early experiment in humanitarian governance – defined as the administration of human collectivities in the name of a higher moral principle – as a solution to the grim consequences European settlement entailed for aboriginal populations.

Uncertainly surrounding the terms of annexation, competition between a private company and the British government, and the colonial state’s lack of military power relative to Māori slowed early efforts at implementing policies of humanitarian governance. The dissertation examines several areas of government action – land reserved for Māori, the administration of health and education, and programs promoting legal assimilation – to show how colonial officials initially deployed humanitarian governance as the only viable means of assimilating Māori into the colonial state. With the arrival of more colonists in the 1850s and London’s devolution of authority over Māori affairs to New Zealand, humanitarian governance became more assertive. Instead of seeking Māori participation, settlers prioritized the individualization of communal lands and accelerated the legal assimilation of Māori communities.

A hardening of racial attitudes toward indigenous peoples throughout the British Empire, and a decade of intermittent warfare in the 1860s, reframed practices of governance. If in the 1840s agents of empire implemented ideas of humanitarian governance as an experiment in colonization and a way of encouraging Māori engagement with the colonial state, by the 1870s the government conceptualized humanitarian governance as a way to limit Māori autonomy and justify interventions in the name of progress.

Abstract: The ways in which Africanisation and decolonisation in the South African academy have been framed and carried out have been called into question over the past several years, most notably in relation to modes of silencing and epistemic negation, which have been explicitly challenged through the student actions. In a similar vein, Canada’s commitments to decolonising its university spaces and pedagogies have been the subject of extensive critique, informed by (still unmet) claims to land, space, knowledge, and identity. Despite extensive critique, policies and practices in both South African and Canadian academic spaces remain largely unchanged, yet continue to stand as evidence that decolonisation is underway. In our paper, we begin to carefully articulate an understanding of decolonisation in the academy as one which continues to carry out historical relations of colonialism and race. Following the work of Eve Tuck and Wayne Yang (2012), we begin the process of “de-mythologising” decolonisation, by first exposing and tracing how decolonising claims both reinforce and recite the racial and colonial terms under which Indigeneity and Blackness are “integrated” in the academy. From our respective contexts, we trace how white, western ownership of space and knowledge in the academy is reaffirmed through processes of invitation, commodification, and erasure of Indigenous/Black bodies and identities. However, we also suggest that the invitation and presence of Indigenous and Black bodies and identities in both academic contexts are necessary to the reproduction and survival of decolonising claims, which allows us to begin to interrogate how, why, and under what terms bodies and identities come to be “included” in the academy. We conclude by proposing that the efficacy of decoloniality lies in paradigmatic and epistemic shifts which begin to unearth and then unsettle white supremacy in both contexts, in order to proceed with aims of reconciliation and reclamation.

Abstract: From 1880-1910, Montana was home to one of the most vibrant and diverse African American communities in the Rocky Mountain West. By the onset of World War II, however, the black population had fallen by over fifty percent, and Montana was well on its way to being the least black state in the US by the twenty-first century. In The Erosion of the Racial Frontier, I argue that scholars of African American studies and the American West must consider the sedimented afterlife of US settler colonialism if those fields are to articulate a distinctly western narrative of African American history. My approach draws on colonial and settler colonial theories to examine the history of African Americans in Montana from 1880-1930. As a non-indigenous, non-white, community of color—or what Lorenzo Veracini would call ‘subaltern exogenous others’—black westerners fall into an uncertain space in settler colonial theory. As an ongoing structure, settler colonialism continues after the violent appropriation of Indigenous lands appears to culminate. The thesis of The Erosion of the Racial Frontier is two-fold: The logic of settlement together with the logic of anti-blackness created distinctly western categories of racial exclusion that is evident in the archive of black Montana. This western, colonial racism acted as an erosive force across the state, targeting the stability and place identity of western black communities. Moreover, the society that developed in tandem with colonial erosion necessarily continues to live with the sedimented afterlife of settler colonialism. As such, the history of Black Montana can be understood as individual and collective experiences of thousands of black Montanans struggling against and subverting the settler colonial project in western North America. 

Abstract: This project-based dissertation emerges from my engagement with theories of representation, settler colonialism, and genocide, as well as involvement with direct engagement through embodied experience of the Palestinian reality in the colonized West Bank during 2015–2017. The artworks and written components of this project seek to represent shards of the multilayered Western-Zionist settler colonial project in Palestine through a focus on the struggle and resilience of the Palestinian people and the endurance of their land. Land seizing as the aim of settler colonialism and the colonised bodies as sites of oppression and sites of resistance are central to the various works of the exhibition and the textual analysis. The dissertation is built on the assertion that the Western-Zionist venture in Palestine amounts to an incremental genocide that targets the existence of the Palestinian people, their material culture, and their land. It also asserts that the right of the Palestinians to resist colonial violence is a legitimate right enshrined in international law and connected to the struggle of colonized and oppressed people around the world. My experience and what I observed and documented in the West Bank—particularly in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem—represented in this project, resembles Palestinian resilience, sumud (steadfastness), and resistance in the face of a century of Zionist dispossession and military oppression. Representing active settler colonialism is hindered by continued violence on the ground in Palestine, dominant Zionist narratives, suppression and misrepresentation of the colonized peoples’ resistance, as well as by the limitations of representational forms. Obstacles that I have faced while working on this project include denial of entry to Gaza ( twelve years under blockade), restrictions of movement within the country, and access to sites, information, as well as intimidation and sometimes life threats.

Abstract: Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the notion of Palestine/Israel as a ‘laboratory’ for the production and export of advanced weapons, security knowhow and technology. Critics of Israeli wars and the ongoing colonization of Palestine use the laboratory metaphor to make sense of Israeli state policies and practices used in controlling Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and fighting wars but also to address how Israeli instruments of violence come to travel elsewhere. This article brings these discussions into sharper focus by examining how the concept of the laboratory is employed in making sense of Israel’s perceived centrality in global patterns violence and militarism, here termed the laboratory thesis. The article argues that although the thesis develops powerful insights, it has analytical limitations. It further calls into question the thesis’ polemical force, suggesting that critical references to Palestine/Israel as a laboratory reinforce misleading ideological tropes at the core of Israel’s settler colonial project. The article takes these concerns as an opportunity to re-assemble the policing/security laboratory as a critical concept, in relation to Palestine/Israel, the global war on terror and beyond.

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