Futures of Symbiotic Assemblages: Multi- naturalism, Monoculture Resistance and “The Permanent Decolonization of Thought”

Kim TallBear presenting"Settler Relations as Property." Photo credit: Ostin Zarse

Saturday, April 28
2:30pm –4:00pm
ACT Cube, e15-001

Part of the Zooetics+ Symposium

In the age of post-truth, peak oil, alternative facts, and the alternative right, it has never been more urgent to defend the need for the coexistence of other, alternative vantage points – of species, of time, of traditions, of beings.

Emmanuel Alloa, and Kim TallBear
Respondents: Gediminas Urbonas, Laura Knott, Nuno Loureiro, and Nolan Oswald Dennis


Emmanuel Alloa

Research Leader in Philosophy, University of St. Gallen

From Another Vantage Point. Towards an Imaginative Perspectivism

In the age of post-truth, claiming the need   to defend alternative approaches brings one into the dangerous vicinities of alternative facts, alternative truth and alternative right. In the face of this hijacking of alternativity, it has never been more urgent to defend the need for other, alternative vantage points. By introducing and comparing different theoretical moves that can be made with regard to the issue of perspectivalness (phenomenology, developmental psychology, literature and anthropology, with a special focus on the Descola-De Castro debate), the presentation will subsequently analyze three modalities where alternative takes on reality coexist: the coexistence of time, the coexistence of species and the coexistence of beings. The point will be to highlight in what sense the capacity for taking another stance deeply rest on the imaginative force.


Kim TallBear

Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta

Settler Relations as Property

My longer-standing work on the ethics and politics of Indigenous DNA research, commercial genetic ancestry testing, and the use of DNA testing in tribal citizenship practices in the US has segued into work on Indigenous materialisms and decolonial sexualities. My approach to examining relations between human bodies and with other-than-human entities has also been informed by critical race scholar Cheryl Harris’s ground-breaking work on whiteness as property. In that paradigm-shifting 1993 Harvard Law Review article, she explains the links between private property and white supremacy in the US settler state. My empirical work analyzed in part through Harris’s lens, shows how the settler state  turns all relations into property—be they human or other-than-human, e.g. land, water, and “resources” including biological (re)sources. Settler relations as property are also made manifest in the cultural-regulatory bundle of marriage/monogamy/nuclear family/ private property that was imposed by settler states such as the US and Canada onto Indigenous peoples and other aspiring citizens. The settler state that privileges hierarchies among beings cannot be our guiding hope. An ethic of Indigenous relationality or being in good relation with one another and with our other-than-human relatives is an alternative guiding narrative in this time of planetary transition.




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