The rule of settler colonial indifference: Kara Granzow, Invested Indifference: How Violence Persists in Settler Colonial Society, UBC Press, 2020


Description: In 2004, Amnesty International characterized Canadian society as “indifferent” to the high rates of violence faced by Indigenous women and girls. When the Canadian government took another twelve years to launch a national inquiry, that indictment seemed true.

Invested Indifference offers a divergent perspective on the contemporary disappearance and murder of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. It does so by examining practices at three different historical moments in the same location, the place we now call Edmonton, juxtaposing late-nineteenth-century texts, documents concerning the former Charles Camsell Indian Hospital, and contemporary online police materials. Through a critical analysis of the seemingly disparate discourses circulating through these materials, Kara Granzow makes the claim that what we see as societal indifference does not come from an absence of feeling but from a deep-rooted and affective investment in framing specific lives as disposable.

Granzow demonstrates that through mechanisms such as the law, medicine, and control of land and space, gendered and racialized everyday violence against Indigenous people has become symbolically and politically entrenched as a central practice in the social construction of Canadian nationhood. Invested Indifference exposes the thread of violence not as past, but as running through our settler-colonial present.

Scholars of sociology, settler-colonial and postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and gender studies will find this book to be of interest, and, as national attention is finally paid to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, it will also have a broad readership among those involved in front-line services.

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