Reflecting on the invisibility of violence under settler colonialism: Cindy Holmes, Sarah Hunt, Amy Piedalue, ‘Violence, Colonialism, and Space: Towards a Decolonizing Dialogue’, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 14, 2, 2014, pp. 539-570


Abstract: Broadly taking up themes of violence and colonialism, this paper was first presented as a roundtable at the Decolonizing Cascadias?: 2013 Critical Geographies Mini Conference at the University of British Columbia. Framed as a
roundtable conversation among the three authors, the paper critically examines the material and ideological relations through which certain types of violence are made invisible in the context of ongoing colonialism in white settler society. In dialogue
across their various academic, activist and personal experiences, the authors argue for a critical decolonizing geography of violence that examines how spaces and subjects are constructed relationally through social, material and legal processes of
racial violence and its gendered and sexualized politics. How do certain forms of violence come to be naturalized within civilizing and modernizing discourse, such that the violence of development or colonialism come to be erased? How do some
lives become constructed as inherently violent in order to deny the violence against them? Disrupting and examining the settler colonial thinking and practices that persist within diverse social movements and academic disciplines, including
geography, the dialogue explores who has the authority to name what forms of violence are seen as legitimate. As activist-scholars engaged in knowledge production and legitimization, the authors are interested in envisioning new
possibilities for how they understand violence and resistance, particularly by centering Indigenous ontologies and by naming lived realities which are not accounted for in dominant discourses of violence and colonialism.

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