A future without settler colonialism: David Lloyd, ‘Traces of History, Specters of the Future’, American Quarterly, 69, 2, 2017, pp. 285-290


Excerpt: […] But what I want to dwell on here is what I learned from him in the process of our collaboration, in terms of the analysis that his work had suggested and which, in the final pages of Traces of History, he offers to us in the hope that it might be useful to the forging of solidarity and resistance. Though he demurred when I intimated as much to him as I initially invited him to participate in a panel at ASA in 2013, the notion that the traces of settler colonial logics can be tracked in neoliberal modes of appropriation and rule is a tribute to the contribution that his work had already made through the scattered essays that eventually came together in Traces of History. His analysis of the mobile and differentially articulated apprehension of race as a profoundly historical and transforming set of regimes is invaluable (and not just useful) for understanding our present conjuncture. Race, as he puts it, “is a process, not an ontology; its varying modalities so many dialectical symptoms of the ever-shifting hegemonic balance between those with a will to colonise and those with a will to be free, severally racialized in relation to each other.” The resultant structures, despite the all too often reductively cited aphorism that settler colonialism “is a structure, not an event,” are never inert.

These structures that Patrick terms “regimes of race” transform under the pressure of the unremitting resistance and survival of dispossessed, displaced, and exploited populations.

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