Indigenous place-agency decolonises: Adam J Barker, Jenny Pickerill, ‘Doings with the land and sea: Decolonising geographies, Indigeneity, and enacting place-agency’, Progress in Human Geography, 2019


Abstract: Indigenous and decolonising geographies should be unsettling and challenging to the ontological foundations of the geographical discipline. Yet despite many scholars recognising and arguing for the need for these perspectives, Indigeneity remains marginal and Indigenous knowledge has been denied academic legitimacy within geography. Using ‘doings’ as an active, emergent, and evolving praxis, this paper examines how we can do Indigenous and settler geographies better. It illustrates how knowledge, emotions, feelings and intuition only come into being through the doings of the body with other bodies, places, and objects, including non-humans. Action and thought are indistinguishable, feeling is knowing, and the world becomes known through doing and movement. In these doings, place – particularly the land and sea – is an active agent in the making of beings and knowledge. By focusing on active doings in place, and acknowledging the temporalities of Indigenous ontologies, geographers are better able to support political and everyday struggles, situate our work in relation to colonialism, recognise and value everyday practices of resurgence, and spend time building relationships. ‘Doing’ geography differently would decentre academics as the source of knowledge production, employ more diverse voices in our teaching and provide embodied and material resistance to colonialism and neoliberal capitalism.

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