Research Seminar: Selected Issues and Topics—Indigenous Cultures and the Politics of Space
ETHSTD 250 002 | CCN: 25838
TH 2pm-4:59pm 2547 Wheeler 106
Space, in the voluminous recent scholarship on the subject, is structured by a paradox: although generally perceived as natural and inert, it is in fact, as geographers Michael Keith and Steve Pile contend, the “(covert) medium and (disguised) expression of asymmetrical relations of power.” Nowhere is this truer than in Native America, where colonization has taken the interrelated but disavowed forms of territorial dispossession and containment, the control and inscription of Native bodies, and the creation of institutional spaces including the home, the school, and the museum. Indeed, because the notion of indigeneity denotes original occupation of the land prior to colonization, indigenous identities themselves are rooted in territorial conflicts. For these reasons, issues of space shape indigenous cultural production and its critical engagement with ongoing colonization.
This course centers on a series of interconnected questions: How does attention to the politics of space expose the entwined territorial. Institutional, and gendered dimensions of colonization? What role does culture play in determining the meanings and uses of spaces? How does indigenous cultural production revise representational traditions to contest colonization, and what alternative spatialities of bodies and territories does it present? By covering a range of cultural texts including novels, films, photographs, performances, and art, our analyses will consider the particular significance of visual and textual representations of space in creating as well as contesting social power, and we will also take up questions of methodology (what does it mean to read spatially?) with regard to various cultural forms. Another key goal of the course is to gain familiarity with theoretical scholarship on space that is useful within and beyond Native studies.