Lindsey Kingston, ‘The Destruction of Identity: Cultural Genocide and Indigenous Peoples’, Journal of Human Rights (posted online: 10 Sep 2014).

International law defines genocide in terms of violence committed “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” yet this approach fails to acknowledge the full impacts of cultural destruction. There is insufficient international discussion of “cultural genocide,” which is a particular threat to the world’s indigenous minorities. Despite the recent adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – which acknowledges the rights to culture, diversity, and self-determination – claims of cultural genocide are often derided, and their indicators dismissed as benign effects of modernity and indigenous cultural diffusion. This article considers the destruction of indigenous cultures and the forced assimilation of indigenous peoples through the analytical lens of genocide. Two case studies – the federally unrecognized Winnemem Wintu tribe in northern California and the Inuit of northern Canada – are highlighted as illustrative examples of groups facing these challenges. Ultimately, this paper seeks to prompt serious discussion of cultural rights violations, which often do not involve direct physical killing or violence, and consideration of the concept “cultural genocide” as a tool for human rights promotion and protection.

Daniel Rueck, ‘Commons, Enclosure, and Resistance in Kahnawá:ke Mohawk Territory, 1850–1900′, Canadian Historical Review 95, 3 (2014).

Historical communities that have held lands in common have, without exception, had strict regulations for using those lands. This was true also in Kahnawá:ke, a Mohawk community near Montreal, where community leaders articulated and enforced customary land laws until the last decades of the nineteenth century. Although a few Mohawks contested these laws in the nineteenth century, the Canadian government undermined, dismantled, and replaced customary land law in the 1870s and 1880s. This article reveals the way the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs exacerbated resource and land shortages in its attempts to undermine Kahnawá:ke leaders, gain control of the land, and ultimately to disperse the community. It describes a chaotic transition from regulated common property to a form of private property under the Indian Act and argues that this transformation was part of a global enclosure movement that continues to this day. Nevertheless, the Canadian government was unable to bring its project to completion, in large part the result of effective resistance offered by Kahnawá:ke Mohawks. The article draws attention to the extraordinary nature of this successful Indigenous resistance to the Canadian state in the late nineteenth century.

À travers l’histoire, toutes les communautés qui ont détenu leurs terres en propriété commune ont instauré des règles strictes relatives à l’utilisation de ces terres. Il en alla de même à Kahnawá:ke, une communauté mohawke près de Montréal, où les dirigeants communautaires réussirent à énoncer et à appliquer leurs règles pour la gestion des terres coutumières jusqu’aux dernières décennies du dix-neuvième siècle. Si certains Mohawks contestèrent ces règles tout au long du dix-neuvième siècle, ce n’est qu’au cours des années 1870 et 1880 que les règles relatives à la gestion des terres coutumières furent remises en cause, abolies et remplacées. Cet article révèle comment le ministère canadien responsable des Affaires indiennes exacerba les pénuries de ressources et de terres dans le but de miner l’autorité des dirigeants Kahnawà:ke, de prendre le contrôle des terres et, finalement, de disperser la communauté. Il décrit la transition chaotique d’une propriété commune réglementée à une forme de propriété privée en vertu de la Loi sur les Indiens et fait valoir que ce changement s’inscrivait dans un mouvement mondial des enclosures qui perdure encore aujourd’hui. Toutefois, le gouvernement canadien ne parvint pas à mener à terme son projet, en grande partie à cause de la résistance efficace opposée par les Mohawks de Kahnawá:ke. Cet article met en évidence le caractère extraordinaire de cette puissante résistance autochtone à l’État canadien à la fin du dix-neuvième siècle.

Noel Pearson, ‘A Rightful Place: Race, recognition and a more complete commonwealth’, Quarterly Essay 55 (2014).

The nation has unfinished business. After more than two centuries, can a rightful place be found for Australia’s original peoples?

Soon we will all decide if and how indigenous Australians will be recognised in the constitution. In the words of Professor Greg Craven: “We have a committed prime minister, and a committed opposition. We have a receptive electorate. There will never be a better time. We have no choice but to address the question. If constitutions deal with fundamental things, our indigenous heritage is pretty fundamental.”

In A Rightful Place, Noel Pearson shows how the idea of “race” was embedded in the constitution, and the distorting effect this has had. Now there is a chance to change it – if we can agree on a way forward. Pearson shows what constitutional recognition means, and what it could make possible: true equality and a renewed appreciation of an ancient culture. This is a wide-ranging, eloquent call for justice, an essay of remarkable power that traverses history and culture to make the case for change.

“As long as we have a constitution that characterises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the basis of race, it will always have deleterious implications for their citizenship. It must be removed … This is not just a matter of symbolism. I think this will be a matter of psychology. The day we come to regard ourselves as people with a distinct heritage, with distinct cultures and languages but not of a distinct race, will be a day of psychological liberation. And it will also be liberating for those in the wider community …”

Jodi A. Byrd, ‘A Return to the South’, American Quarterly  66, 3 (2014).

Written as a meditation, this essay considers how indigeneity challenges the geopolitical formations of “souths” within and beyond the US nation-state. In particular, Southeastern American Indians provide an important analytic through which to reconceptualize hemispheric understandings of race, place, and temporality that are often collapsed into discussion of a global South or often conscripted into absence in the assumption of a global North. Drawing on Éduoard Glissant and other Caribbean intellectuals to situate Southeastern American Indian histories within a larger hemispheric frame of the Americas, this piece argues for reading practices that disrupt colonialist geographies of absence and removal to demonstrate to importance of return within indigenous understandings of land.

Eve Darian-Smith, ‘Global Studies—The Handmaiden of Neoliberalism?’, Globalizations (Published online: 09 Sep 2014)

The field of global studies has gained momentum over the past 20 years and today occupies a significant presence within many universities. As a result, there is now a burgeoning array of institutional support for global studies scholarship. Perhaps not surprisingly, concurrent to such institution-building there has been a spate of essays engaged with the question ‘what is global studies?’ that have promoted lively debate and commentary. In this essay, I ask a rather different question which is ‘who gets to define global studies, and what is at stake in these kinds of delineating efforts?’ I argue that debate about global studies demands the inclusion of multiple voices and perspectives from around the world. I conclude by urging global studies scholars to be deliberately conscious of their taken-for-granted assumptions with respect to power and the related capacity to speak for others from the global south and east who are largely still absent in defining this new field of inquiry.

Nicholas Blomley, ‘Making Space for Property’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers (Published online: 10 Sep 2014).

A modern-day treaty process in British Columbia, Canada, involving First Nations and the federal and provincial governments, entails a struggle to carve out both metaphoric and material space for indigenous land and title. Despite considerable opposition, the state has insisted that First Nations will hold their treaty lands as a form of “fee simple,” this being the way most private property owners hold property, granting broad rights to access, use, and alienation. This is said to generate what the state terms certainty, a concept predicated on the idea of property as a priori, singular, and definite. I explore the resultant contest through a performative lens that treats property not as essence, but as effect. Tracing the complicated ways in which fee simple is performed in the treaty process reveals that fee simple is anything but. Multiple, competing, and overlapping fee simples are in circulation. The identification of this multiplicity offers valuable lessons for our understanding of the contemporary space of postcolonial reconciliation.

涉及第一民族、联邦以及省政府的加拿大不列颠哥伦比亚 (卑诗省) 的当代缔约过程, 招致为原住民土地和所有权开拓出隐喻及物质空间的斗争。儘管有大规模的反对, 国家仍然坚持第一民族所拥有的条约土地作为一种 “绝对且无条件的产权” (fee simple) 之形式, 而这是多数私有产权所有者拥有财产, 以及授与获取管道、使用与排除的广泛权利之方式。此一方式据说生产了国家称作绝对之事——一个依据产权作为先验、单一且确切之概念。我透过不把产权视为本质、而是一种效应的展演性视角, 探讨其所导致的争夺。追溯绝对且无条件的产权在缔约过程中所展现的复杂方式, 揭露了绝对且无条件的产权根本全然背离其宣称, 反而是多重、竞争且重叠的 “绝对且无条件的产权” 的盛行。指认此般多重性, 对于我们理解当代的后殖民和解空间, 提供了宝贵的经验。

Un proceso de moderno tratado en Columbia Británica, Canadá, que involucra a las First Nations (Primeras Naciones) y los gobiernos provincial y federal, implica una lucha para hacerse de un espacio metafórico y material de tierra y títulos indígenas. A pesar de una considerable oposición, el estado ha insistido en que First Nations conservará sus tierras obtenidas por el tratado como una forma de “pago simple,” que es la manera como la mayoría de los tenedores de propiedad privada ejercen el derecho de propiedad, lo que les otorga amplios derechos de acceso, uso y alienación. Se dice que todo esto genera lo que el estado identifica como certeza, un concepto respaldado en la idea de propiedad a priori, singular y definitiva. Yo exploro la disputa resultante a través de una lente performativa que trata la propiedad no como esencia, sino como efecto. Al trazar las maneras complicadas con las que el pago simple es llevado a cabo en el proceso del tratado revela que el pago simple está lejos de serlo. Por todo lado circulan pagos simples múltiples, contestatarios y superpuestos. La identificación de esta multiplicidad brinda valiosas lecciones que ayudan a nuestro entendimiento del actual espacio para la reconciliación poscolonial.

Aziz Rana, ‘Colonialism and Constitutional Memory’, UC Irvine Law Review (2015), Forthcoming.

The United States shares a number of basic traits with various British settler societies in the non-white world. These include longstanding histories in which colonists and their descendants divided legal, political, and economic rights between insiders and subordinated outsiders, be they expropriated indigenous groups or racial minorities. But Americans rarely think of themselves as part of an imperial family of settler polities and instead generally conceive of the country as quintessentially anti-imperial and inclusive. What explains this fact and what are its political consequences?

This essay, prepared for the Third “Law As…” Symposium, offers an initial response, arguing that a significant reason is the symbolic power of the American Federal Constitution in sustaining a particular narrative of the country as free and equal from the founding. Although this creedal narrative has played a powerful and productive role in creating a more inclusive national community, it has also, paradoxically, made it more difficult for Americans to appreciate the country’s colonial underpinnings and thus to address specific structural grievances. In developing these claims, the essay first explores how universalistic accounts of national identity and constitutional meaning began to take political hold with the country’s emergence onto the global stage following the Spanish-American War. It then analyzes the unacknowledged contemporary costs of creedal narratives by recovering a tradition of radical black critique, which viewed the dominant national identity as truncating dilemmas of race in part by deemphasizing the need for material restitution and symbolic rupture.

Keyan G. Tomaselli, ‘Who owns what? Indigenous knowledge and struggles over representation’, Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies 28, 4 (2014).

Ownership of field research records involving informants and subject communities is discussed with regard to doing research amongst indigenous populations. Intellectual property rights (IPR) law often assumes, for example, that an age-old mythical story retold by a contemporary informant is owned by the legal entity that facilitated its being captured in writing. The implication is that if the story-teller now wants to tell the same story to someone else, written legal permission from the legal entity would be required. IPR contracts freeze the dynamism of knowledge, killing its ‘lived’ relation, and the process owned by others (our research partners/hosts/subjects) is transformed into commodities that the original storytellers no longer own or control. For our ǂKhomani Bushman hosts, this constitutes information theft. A third party, in our case the academy, claims ownership of ideas our subjects thought were theirs. This article examines ensuing issues of IPR and ethics in relation to doing research amongst indigenous communities.

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Catherine Hall, ‘Gendering Property, Racing Capital’, History Workshop Journal 77, 1 (2014).

This essay started life as a lecture at the conference convened in 2014 to consider the directions in ‘History after Hobsbawm’. What are the resonances of Hobsbawm’s work in the present and what are the new directions that have been marked out in history-writing in the last decades? The essay, drawing on the work of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project at University College London, argues that gender and race are both critical to capital formation in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Classical Marxist accounts of the development of industrial capitalism need to be rethought.

Mark McGranaghan, ‘Different people’ coming together: representations of alterity in ∣Xam Bushman (San) narrative’, Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies 28, 4 (2014).

Colonial processes around the world had major impacts on the indigenous populations with whom colonists interacted – this is particularly true for small-scale populations that relied heavily on foraging subsistence practices. Historical sources that document these impacts are in the main highly skewed toward representations made by colonial populations themselves. The dominance of these representations forms a major challenge to attempts to reinterrogate colonial historical accounts of the processes of colonisation, and renders opaque the ways in which indigenous populations themselves understood and manipulated their historical interactions with ‘Others’. The Bleek–Lloyd archive – focusing on the ∣Xam Bushmen of the arid interior Karoo of South Africa – offers the opportunity both to question colonial presentations of ‘Bushman’ identities, and to explore Bushman representations of their 19th-century situation. This article discusses one aspect of these representations, focusing on the way in which ∣Xam individuals constructed ‘alien’ identities, and how these were manipulated in social discourse.


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