Settler intimacy with land as a solution? Lorenz Gabriel Francesco Poeschl, De-Naturalising Affects: Toward Intimacy as a Means to Negotiate Settler Public Pedagogies in the Aotearoa/New Zealand Nature Site, PhD dissertation, University of Auckland, 2020


Abstract: This thesis investigates the role that conservation sites play in settler identity in Aotearoa/New Zealand and offers a theoretical framework, based on Peter Trawny’s reflections on intimacy, by means of which to interrogate and experience this role, which it considers a process of public pedagogy. The thesis situates the discourse of national identity through nature in the literature on settler colonial efforts to claim belonging through land. This effort in New Zealand was based on claims to unicity. These claims continue on into the discourses of present-day conservation. The thesis grounds the dispersal of this discourse in the literature on public pedagogy, meaning the teaching of ways of thinking and being through public spaces, figures, and practices. The particular discourse of national belonging the thesis takes as an affective discourse, one that changes the possibilities of bodies’ experience and capability. Places of identity give settler colonials the ability to experience themselves as belonging. Four New Zealand conservation sites are here investigated in their function as affective places of public pedagogy. As a means to negotiate such a public pedagogy of affect this thesis offers a theoretical framework based on the German philosopher Peter Trawny’s writings on intimacy. Intimacy is the condition of approach that makes no claim to finality. An intimate settler renounces the claim to native belonging and understands sites of public pedagogy as places that are to be performed without end. The case study sites are interrogated in terms of their ability to host intimate interaction. The attitude of intimacy also influences the form of this thesis. The writing should be considered in many places as seeking to express itself in the same attitude of which it speaks.

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