Indigenous Studies Symposium at UCSD

11 01 2010

JANUARY 15 – UCSD Department of Ethnic Studies’ UNTHINKING THE NATION-STATE: AN INDIGENOUS STUDIES SYMPOSIUM

Community Room, Cross-Cultural Center, 3 – 5 PM

SPEAKERS: Audra Simpson, Columbia University; Glen Coulthard, University of British Columbia; Andrea Smith, University of California-Riverside

The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that accords with this insight. Then we will clearly see that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency. – Walter Benjamin, 1940

Heeding Benjamin’s call, let’s remember that Indigenous protest, since the 1969- 1971 occupation of Alcatraz, holds a critical edge in averting the multiculturalism/diversity hinge that sustains the U.S. American national tale. This opening event raises crucial questions targeting the link between the intellectual, political, and institutional faces of Ethnic Studies. Through an engagement with Indigenous Studies, and the radical political promise that animates its intellectual project, we invite a conversation that challenges the customary demands for recognition by, and inclusion into the Nation-State. This conversation is all the more crucial now because the recent crisis in the State of California threatens the unleashing of reformist responses that risk reinforcing this recent refashioning of the public/private binary. Leading our thinking are the University of California’s students, the majority of them students of color, who are meeting this situation by protesting for continued access to and the preservation of public higher education. This is a critical moment. As the Nation-State, in its various guises, retires from the social, Indigenous Studies reminds us that its very institution in conquered territories is the inaugural violent act, which places colonial subjugation at its core. What is to be done? Which intellectual program and political agenda can guide a struggle for justice which both recognizes and denounces the settler State’s destructive origin and demands that it continue to fulfill its role as the liberal ethical shield against the destructive economic drive of neoliberal capitalism?

(Co-sponsored by the Departments of Anthropology, California Cultures in Comparative Perspective, and the Cross-Cultural Center)

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Contact Information:Department of Ethnic StudiesUniversity of California, San Diego9500 Gilman DriveLa Jolla, CA 92093-0522Tel.: (858) 534-3405Fax: (858) 534-8194dsilva@ucsd.eduhttp://weber.ucsd.edu/~dsilva


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