cfp: contact zones


Relationships between indigenous and settler citizens have been shaped and managed by physical and ideological boundary setting, from the expansion of frontier borders into Indian Country to the reservation system, from residential schools to social welfare programs aimed at indigenous people. As they fight against processes of erasure, indigenous people’s forms of resistance, place-making and efforts toward sovereignty unsettle neatly drawn national, state, provincial, and municipal borders, calling attention to the processes of colonization that reordered lives and lands. This panel explores the effects and affects of these boundary formations and unsettlement, paying special attention to how settler citizens (re)imagine their local landscapes, their indigenous neighbors and predecessors, and their relationships to colonial pasts, contemporary conciliatory campaigns, and local articulations of power and resistance.  

How are settler identities negotiated in an era of national apologies (Australia, Canada), truth and reconciliation commissions (Canada, South Africa), and conditional endorsements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People?  Simultaneously with these national projects of contrition, how are settler identities forming amidst discourses of ‘special’ resource rights, casinos, tax exemptions, and the Rich Indian (USA)? What and where are the meeting grounds of settlers and Indigenous people today; where are the contemporary contact zones of (post)-coloniality (Pratt 1992)? How are physical and ideological borders redrawn and contested? How can anthropological analyses attend to issues of settler colonialism in the United States (Cattelino 2010) and elsewhere? 

We invite presenters to consider the ways settler peoples experience, resist, and contribute to grass-roots and state-sanctioned attempts to address historical injustices and contemporary inequalities at the centers and margins of (post)-colonial places.  We welcome critical analyses on a range of topics: citizenship, (re)defining the ‘settler state’ or ‘settler society’, sovereignty, inclusion, cultural and economic politics, reconciliation, land claims, treaty rights, and settler affect.  

Contact Zones: At the Borders of (In)Visibility, (Post)Colonialism, and In/Exclusion in Settler States

111th AAA Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
November 14-18, 2012
San Francisco, CA
Borders and Crossings

Session Organizers: Natalie Baloy (University of British Columbia) and Emily Levitt (Cornell University)

For consideration, please send in abstracts by April 9, 2012 to Natalie Baloy and Emily Levitt.

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