J. Kehaulani Kauanui

Land Acknowledgements, Indigeneity and the Politics of Decolonization

A Lecture by J. Kēhaulani Kauanui (Wesleyan) as Part of the Mary L. Cornille Faculty Seminar Series
Sep 23, 2021, 4–5 PM
Open to the Wellesley College campus community only

This talk will examine indigeneity as a category of critical analysis in relation to both settler colonialization and decolonization. In political movements, legal discourse, and dominant academic paradigms, discussions of decolonization most often take (former) franchise colonies as their point of reference. But what sort of decolonization is possible in settler colonial contexts? In Patrick Wolfe’s theorization of settler colonialism, he argued that this model of domination operates by “the logic of elimination of the native” because the acquisition of land is its central feature. Thus, decolonization will necessarily differ from models offered by former franchise colonies (or other colonial formations). Using land acknowledgements as a window into this discussion, this presentation examines the politics of liberal institutional acknowledgements in contrast to the land back movements sweeping across North America as they refuse the “logic of the elimination of the native.”

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui is Professor of American Studies and an affiliate faculty member in Anthropology at Wesleyan University. She is the author of Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press 2008); Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism (Duke University press 2018); and Speaking of Indigenous Politics: Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and Tribal Leaders (University of Minnesota Press 2018). 

This is a hybrid Wellesley College community event. Advance registration is required.

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Generously supported by:

Robert E. Garis and Arthur Gold Humanities Colloquium Fund