The rappers said they belonged to Mazibuye African Forum, a group that advocates the reversal of black economic empowerment benefits for Indian people, Chinese and white women. Co-founder of the forum, Zweli Sangweni said he did not know whether the rappers were in fact members of the organisation, but argued that the song should not be taken literally or opportunities for dialogue would be missed. 

“Issues of Indians going back to India are far-fetched, and we all know that, but you can’t use those lyrics to suppress dialogue, because that would be disingenuous and amounts to trying to protect the status quo. We need to confront the issues that give rise to these songs. Our leaders need to respond as leaders and address economic imbalances being spoken about.” 

Kwanele Sosibo for M&G.

Circe Sturm, ‘RACE, SOVEREIGNTY, AND CIVIL RIGHTS: Understanding the Cherokee Freedmen Controversy’, Cultural Anthropology 29, 3 (2014).

Despite a treaty in 1866 between the Cherokee Nation and the federal government granting them full tribal citizenship, Cherokee Freedmen—the descendants of African American slaves to the Cherokee, as well as of children born from unions between African Americans and Cherokee tribal members—continue to be one of the most marginalized communities within Indian Country. Any time Freedmen have sought the full rights and benefits given other Cherokee citizens, they have encountered intense opposition, including a 2007 vote that effectively ousted them from the tribe. The debates surrounding this recent decision provide an excellent case study for exploring the intersections of race and sovereignty. In this article, I use the most recent Cherokee Freedmen controversy to examine how racial discourse both empowers and diminishes tribal sovereignty, and what happens in settler-colonial contexts when the exercise of tribal rights comes into conflict with civil rights. I also explore how settler colonialism as an analytic can obscure the racialized power dynamics that undermine Freedmen claims to an indigenous identity and tribal citizenship.

Vanessa Sloan Morgan and Heather Castleden, ‘Framing Indigenous–Settler Relations within British Columbia’s Modern Treaty Context: A Discourse Analysis of the Maa-nulth Treaty in Mainstream Media’, International Indigenous Policy Journal 5, 3 (2014).

Media plays an integral role in (re)producing our social construction of reality. When viewed in light of Canada’s colonial legacy, media’s power has undoubtedly been implicated in circumscribing Indigenous peoples and Indigenous–settler relations. Employing a discourse analysis of mainstream media covering the recent (2011) implementation of a comprehensive land claims agreement in British Columbia, this study investigates how media has framed contemporary Indigenous–settler relations within the Canadian state. Findings indicate that mainstream media predominantly relies on stereotypes of Indigenous peoples and tends to neglect historical and current political complexities, thereby perpetuating stagnant Indigenous–settler relations. Concluding with empirically derived recommendations, this article points to education reform to create more robust mainstream media able to address stagnated (re)constructions of Indigenous–settler relations.

Sara Safransky, ‘Greening the urban frontier: Race, property, and resettlement in Detroit’, Geoforum (Available online 16 August 2014).

In 2014, approximately 100,000 lots lie “vacant” in Detroit after decades of industrial decline, white flight, and poverty. Planners and government officials have proposed to repurpose Detroit’s highest vacancy neighborhoods, deemed to have “no market value,” as blue and green infrastructure (retention ponds, carbon forests, urban farms, greenways). According to the Detroit Future City plan, traditional public services (water, street lights, transportation, garbage pickup) and the “grey infrastructures” that deliver them will be reduced and eventually withdrawn from these zones. While Detroit is widely touted for its potential as a model green city, the costs and benefits of green redevelopment are distributed unevenly within the context of gentrification and bankruptcy. Through an analysis of media representations, a contentious citywide planning project, and the construction of a private urban forest, I demonstrate how settler colonial imaginaries and rationalities articulate with austerity measures to prepare a postindustrial urban frontier for resettlement and reinvestment. During the historical era of U.S. settler colonialism, economic development happened through westward expansion on a continental scale (and then imperial scale), but today, in the urban United States, it occurs through internal differentiation of previously developed spaces and is taking a new form. Where the rural settlers of the 19th century sought to conquer wilderness, “urban pioneers” in the 21st century deploy nature as a tool of economic development in a city with a shrinking population and a large spatial footprint. Yet accumulation by green dispossession still turns on some of the defining features of settler colonialism, e.g., private property as a civilizing mechanism on the frontier, the appropriation of common collective land and resources, and the expendability of particular people and places. The production of this new urban frontier also depends, like any frontier, on erasure: the material and discursive work of presenting “empty” landscapes in need of improvement by non-local actors. I argue that understanding the stakes of postindustrial urban development struggles requires revived attention to how concepts of (white) settler society – which have been absorbed into political and legal-juridical institutions, discourses, myths, symbols, and national metaphors – are used to claim “wild” and “empty” lands like those in Detroit.

Darryl Leroux, ‘”A genealogist’s paradise”: France, Québec and the genealogics of race’, Ethnic and Racial Studies (Published online: 14 Aug 2014).

Genealogy, or the study of one’s ancestral patri-lineage, has a long and esteemed pedigree in French Canadian and Québécois history. From Cyprien Tanguay’s late-nineteenth-century encyclopedias to René Jetté’s updated versions more than a century later, genealogy has been an important component of French Canadian nationalisms. Tracing one’s ancestry back to the early St. Lawrence settlement in the seventeenth century has provided Québécois subjects with opportune political and social capital with which to make territorial and national claims legitimate. Through a case study approach, I explain how genealogy provides the grounds upon which Québécois and French subjects remember a shared past. Specifically, I examine a variety of sites of memory in the French countryside, including a museum that relies on ‘genealogics’ to call the French Canadian Québécois back to its roots. As such, I demonstrate how the biological, read as a contemporary articulation of Balibar’s notion of the racial supplément necessary to nation building, travels across the Atlantic.

Michael Morden, ‘Across the Barricades: Non-Indigenous Mobilization and Settler Colonialism in Canada’, Canadian Political Science Review 8, 1 (2014).

Recently, a new body of scholarship on “settler colonialism” has emerged with the goal to analyze the non-Native dimension of Indigenous-settler relations, in Canada and other settler states. This paper will identify two shortcomings of the new literature: first, a tendency to conflate mass-level non-Natives with the state itself; and second, an erroneous, primordial presentation of non-Native norms and identity. The paper examines two case studies of settler political mobilization in opposition to Indigenous peoples, in the contexts of the Indigenous occupations at Ipperwash/Aazhoodena in the early- to mid-1990s, and Caledonia/Kanonhstaton in 2006. The cases reveal consistency in how the mobilization is framed by non-Native participants – as a defense of abstract procedural principles like equality before the law and public order. This normative framework does not resonate with settler colonial theory. They also illustrate the degree to which mass-level non-Natives are autonomous actors in the relationship. During both conflicts, local non-Natives often advanced divergent interests from those of the state, producing a tripartite political dynamic that is not anticipated in the literature.

Oliver Haag, ‘Racializing the social problem: reception of Samson and Delilah in Germany’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies (published online 8 August 2014).

This article examines elements of German reception of the Aboriginal Australian film Samson and Delilah (2009). There is a discrepancy between the film’s recognition at the Cannes Film Festival and its less enthusiastic audience reception. On the basis of qualitative interviews with German viewers, this article traces some of the patterns of reception and shows that audiences did not recognize the cultural codes of Aboriginal sovereignty and agency contained in this film. Instead, Samson and Delilah has largely been interpreted through dominant German cultural frameworks on race and racism. The film’s reception has thereby resulted in the opposite effect of a racialized construction of social problems conferred upon Aboriginal Australians. The main reason for different comprehension of the film’s cultural codes, as this study argues, lies in the lacking rendition of culturally unfamiliar codes.


This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society takes as its focus the relationship between law and decolonization. Does the deconstruction of colonial institutions and practices such as law insinuate the eradication of the contemporary state-form as we know it? And if so, what does such a dismantling entail, and how might political-juridical framework(s) be newly imagined, let alone concretely constructed? Importantly, several of the articles contained herein point to settler-colonial sovereignty as an unfinished project. In so doing, this issue delves into the tensions raised by the question: What is the relationship between law and decolonization?


Canadian Journal of Law & Society 29, 2 (2014).

panama zonians


“It was a strange kind of artificial place,” says Michael Donoghue, author of Borderland on the Isthmus: Race, Culture, and the Struggle for the Canal Zone. His father travelled through the zone during World War Two, and compared it to “a small southern town transplanted into the middle of Central America”.


English was predominantly spoken and even life-long Zonians could get away with not learning Spanish.

“They were pretty much set apart from the general Panamanian population by their own decision,” says Alonzo Delaguardia, vice rector for university relations at Florida State University’s Panama campus. The school was established in 1957 at the request of the US Department of Defense to provide education for Zonians.


Kate Dailey for BBC News.

Settler Colonial Studies, Vol. 4, No. 4 (2014) 

is now available on Taylor & Francis Online. 


Marcelo Svirsky, ‘The collaborative struggle and the permeability of settler colonialism’.


Henry Reynolds, ‘Action and anxiety: the long history of settler protest about the nature of Australian colonization’.

Simone Bignall, ‘The collaborative struggle for excolonialism’.

Jennifer Newman, ‘Radical hope – surprising will’.

Alessandro Pelizzon, ‘Aboriginal sovereignty claims: contemporary voices in Australia’.

Colin Salter, ‘Intersections of the colonial and postcolonial: pragmatism, praxis and transformative grassroots activism at Sandon Point’

Ilan Pappé, ‘Collaboration in struggle in Palestine: the search for a thirdspace’.

Omar Barghouti, ‘Opting for justice: the critical role of anti-colonial Israelis in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement’.

Ariella Azoulay, ‘Civil alliances – Palestine, 1947–1948′.

Marcelo Svirsky, ‘On the study of collaborative struggles in settler societies’.


Carroll P. Kakel III, ‘German expansionism, imperial liberalism, and the United States, 1776–1945′.

Janne Lahti, ‘North American borderlands’.


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