Keynote Address: Professor Audra Simpson

The Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society (ANZLHS) and CASS invite you to a keynote address by Audra Simpson, Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.

When: Monday 10 December, 2018

Time: 10.15 – 11.00am

Where: Building 67 Room 107

Cost: While attendance at the keynote is free, should you wish to attend any other portion of the ANZLHS Conference, you will need to register. Please refer to the Conference Program and Registration details.

Savage States: Settler Governance in an Age of Sorrow

In what world do we imagine the past to be settled in light of its refusal to perish and allow things to start over anew? What are the conditions that make for this imagining, this fantasy or rather, demand of a new start point? In this piece I consider the world of settler colonialism, which demands this newness, and a world in which Native people and their claims to territory are whittled to the status of claimant or subject in time with the fantasy of their disappearance and containment away from a modern and critical present. This fantasy of a world without Indigenous people, or Indigenous peoples whittled into claimants extends itself to a mode of governance that is beyond institutional and ideological but is in this study, deeply affective. In this piece I examine how the Canadian practice of settler governance has adjusted itself in line with global trends and rights paradigms away from overt violence to what are seen as softer and kinder, caring modes of governing but governing, violently still and yet, with a language of care, upon on still stolen land. This piece asks not only in what world we imagine time to stop, but takes up the ways in which those that survived the time stoppage stand in critical relationship to dispossession and settler governance apprehend, analyze and act upon this project of affective governance. Here an oral and textual history of the notion of “reconciliation” is constructed and analyzed with recourse to Indigenous criticism of this affective project of repair.

Bio

Audra Simpson is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. She is the author of Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (Duke University Press, 2014) Her research is energized by the problem of recognition, by its passage beyond (and below) the aegis of the state into the grounded field of political self-designation, self-description and subjectivity. This work is motivated by the struggle of Kahnawake Mohawks to find the proper way to afford political recognition to each other, their struggle to do this in different places and spaces and the challenges of formulating membership against a history of colonial impositions. Her current research project examines the borders of time, history and bodies across and within what is now understood to be the United States and Canada.