He became the leader of a group of like-minded people, who attempted to realise this objective of a Welsh-speaking, self-governing, democratic and Nonconformist Wales overseas. A number of locations were considered, including Palestine, and Vancouver Island in Canada, but they eventually agreed upon the Chubut Valley in Patagonia – a remote area of South America, with no European settlements, only nomadic indigenous peoples.

BBC News.

Fenn Stewart, ‘Grey Owl in the White Settler Wilderness: “Imaginary Indians” in Canadian Culture and Law’, Law, Culture and the Humanities (first published on October 8, 2014)

This article considers Grey Owl’s tenure in Saskatchewan’s Prince Albert National Park as a “telling instance” of the ways in which iconic Canadian wilderness spaces have been constructed in white settler culture and law – not only through the erasure of Indigenous people(s), but also through highly visible forms of cultural appropriation, including the installation of “imaginary Indians.” Placed in the context of the complex history of Treaty Six, the story of Grey Owl reveals how white settler culture and law have been constructed with reference to two “imaginary Indians”: the “Bolshevik Indian” and the “Park Ranger Indian.” The former, figured as a source of lawlessness and destruction, is erased from the terrain of the nation; the latter, represented in this case by Grey Owl, figures the “consent” of “Indians” to settler law, “naturalizes” Canadian sovereignty, and bestows upon the nation a heritage of “Indian” culture that it is otherwise felt to be lacking.

Recent criticism of the field in Decolonization 3, 2 (2014), featuring Snelgrove, Corntassel, and Dhamoon, and Australian Historical Studies 45, 3 (2014), featuring Rowse, Veracini, and Johnson.

Settler Colonial Literatures in Comparison (ACLA — March 26-29, 2015. Seattle, Washington)

We are inviting papers for a seminar to be hosted at the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2015 Annual Meeting, in Seattle, Washington on March 26-29. This seminar explores how settler colonial studies contribute to our study of comparative literature, both within and beyond Anglophone settler spaces. 

Recent scholarship has re-conceptualized settler colonialism as a distinct structure of domination. Despite inherent heterogeneity within settler and indigenous societies, structural opposition between the two continues beyond invasion. As such, ethnic minorities in white settler countries may participate in indigenous dispossession, and third-world postcolonial nation states may have untold histories of settler colonialism. Settler colonial history in the global scale thus entails particularly complex flows of power and structures of relation, whereby one moves vertically (structurally) from being indigenous to being settler (or vise-versa) along the horizontal global flows of migration, invasion, and settlement. In this framework, it may also become possible to examine migrants in Australia, the USA, Canada, and New Zealand for their participation in the settler order, and to query how much settler colonial domination has given legitimacy to states like Taiwan or Japan’s many islands and contributed to the ongoing conflicts in Israel or the Chinese borderlands.

In response to these complex networks of relation brought to light by settler colonial studies, this seminar examines the particular challenges and new possibilities in reading literatures comparatively across settler colonial conditions and structural positions, between postcolonial, indigenous, and ethnic literary studies. What may be our new ethos and strategies of reading and how can we engage with the particular temporal and spatial juxtapositions and scaling in settler texts? In what sense may it be productive to study literatures outside of the Anglophone settler colonies as settler colonial? Then, do settler literatures in Chinese, Japanese, or other tongues, invoke distinct literary traditions to narrate settlement and do these narratives produce divergent structures of relation? Perhaps even more importantly, can literary texts effectively narrate and envision the decolonization of settler colonialism? 

We welcomes theoretical and methodological explorations of comparative settler colonial literary studies, close readings of specific sites of settler colonial heterogeneity, or comparative works that investigate relations across locations, languages, or political systems. 

To submit a paper proposal, please do so by Oct 15, 2014 on the ACLA website http://www.acla.org/settler-colonial-literatures-comparison-0/ . For questions, please contact Yu-ting Huang at <ythuang@ucla.edu>

Robert Nichols, ‘The Colonialism of Incarceration’, Radical Philosophy Review (online on September 20, 2014).

This essay attends to the specificity of indigenous peoples’ political critique of state power and territorialized sovereignty in the North American context as an indispensible resource for realizing the decolonizing potential latent within the field of critical prison studies. I argue that although the incarceration of indigenous peoples is closely related to the experience of other racialized populations with regard to its causes, it is importantly distinct with respect to the normative foundation of its critique. Indigenous sovereignty calls forth an alternative normativity that challenges the very existence of the carceral system, let alone its racialized organization and operation.

Contributions are sought for the following seminar, to be held during the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA, March 26-29, Seattle, U.S.A).


Organizer: Bruno Cornellier, University of Winnipeg

Our seminar wishes to return to some of cultural studies’ earlier, formative insights about culture and hegemony, but this time in conversation with current developments in Indigenous and settler colonial studies, two complementary fields that offer us ways to dialectically connect postcolonial concerns over movement (conquest, migration, diaspora, etc.) with the anchoring violence of settlement and occupation. Most recently, Mark Rifkin momentarily went back to Raymond Williams’ work on hegemony and the everyday life in order to argue that settler colonial occupation is indeed supported by culture enabling one’s readiness to assume and enjoy the experience of occupation as one of banality and certainty. We are complementarily led to observe how settler state policies are often predicated on the belief that the State can and must reform and monitor Indigenous lives at the level of their everyday banality and mundane occurrences, for instance in kinship, labor, housing, family life, sexuality, etc. This seminar seeks critical contributions to the study of settler cultures and settler cultural texts as they “document” (deliberately or not) their conditions of production as colonial texts (or as text imbued with a specific coloniality). We are also interested in how acts of reading, viewing, or producing cultural texts likewise constitute an event during which the (conflicting) modes of occupancy and personhood of settlers, Natives, and arrivants are felt, asserted, and/or contested, sanctioned and/or unsettled, naturalized, reformed, or made to feel strange to themselves.


Please send your proposals directly via ACLA’s website by October 15. You may also contact the organizer prior to submitting your proposal if you have any questions or concerns about the seminar (or the seminar format privileged by ACLA): b.cornellier@uwinnipeg.ca.

Please follow this link to login and send your proposal: http://acla.org/cultures-settlement-and-unsettlement-0

The lawsuit, filed last week at Vancouver Federal Court, alleges that Chief Giesbrecht breached his duty to “obtain the free, prior and informed consent” of his people before extinguishing a claim to aboriginal title.


More at the National Post.

Paul Moon, ‘The Influence of ‘Benthamite’ Philosophies on British Colonial Policy on New Zealand in the Era of the Treaty of Waitangi, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (Published online: 03 Sep 2014).

Most of the recent historiography on the British presence in the South Pacific in the first half of the nineteenth century rightly reflects the dichotomy of private commercial enthusiasm for imperial expansion set against a backdrop of official hesitance and vacillation over any possible enlargement of the empire—a stance manifested in Britain’s stance on New Zealand prior to 1840. However, such analyses, which emphasise the reactive, unplanned and incremental extension of British interests and involvement in New Zealand, tend to bypass consideration of the particular philosophical influences that helped to shape British colonial policy during this time. This article surveys those social philosophies formulated by Jeremy Bentham—and advanced by his followers—which prescribed a distinct form of colonial intervention and government. It focuses specifically on Bentham’s utilitarianism, and his notions of colonial trusteeship, and explores how these ideas insinuated their way into British colonial policy relating to New Zealand in the 1830s, culminating in the Treaty of Waitangi (1840).

Simone Bignall, Daryl Rigney & Robert Hattam, ‘The Postcolonial Time That Remains’, Interventions (Published online: 27 Aug 2014).

Sovereign authority to establish the colony of South Australia was given by Letters Patent (1836), signed by King William IV. The Letters Patent made explicit provision for the recognition and protection of Indigenous rights and interests in traditional lands and waters, establishing the basis for a peaceable and respectful interaction between Indigenous and settler societies. However, the preexisting sovereignty of Indigenous peoples was not respected and these written orders were ignored by the South Australian Company in its executive action to establish the Province of South Australia. Accordingly, the potential for development of positive forms of intercultural social relationship remained unrealized in this region, as was also the case throughout the Australian colonies. This essay reflects upon the transformative force of this unrealized potential, which remains immanent within the trajectory of Australian history. It makes use of Agamben’s conceptualization of time and exigency in The Time That Remains (2005) to theorize directed processes of historical discontinuity. We analyse colonial sources of contemporary Australian society, with a renewed attention to those aspects of political recognition and positively shared social life that were always possible but never came to pass into history. We argue that the experience of time and temporality in the ‘messianic mode’ enables new understanding of the problematic ‘time of the now’ and recreates possibilities for the communal invention of postcolonial futures that respond properly to ongoing and contemporary Indigenous practices of sovereignty and nationhood.

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Alexander Morrison, ‘Peasant Settlers and the ‘Civilising Mission’ in Russian Turkestan, 1865–1917′, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (Published online: 03 Sep 2014).

This article provides an introduction to one of the lesser-known examples of European settler colonialism, the settlement of European (mainly Russian and Ukrainian) peasants in Southern Central Asia (Turkestan) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It establishes the legal background and demographic impact of peasant settlement, and the role played by the state in organising and encouraging it. It explores official attitudes towards the settlers (which were often very negative), and their relations with the local Kazakh and Kyrgyz population. The article adopts a comparative framework, looking at Turkestan alongside Algeria and Southern Africa, and seeking to establish whether paradigms developed in the study of other settler societies (such as the ‘poor white’) are of any relevance in understanding Slavic peasant settlement in Turkestan. It concludes that there are many close parallels with European settlement in other regions with large indigenous populations, but that racial ideology played a much less important role in the Russian case compared to religious divisions and fears of cultural backsliding. This did not prevent relations between settlers and the ‘native’ population deteriorating markedly in the years before the First World War, resulting in large-scale rebellion in 1916.

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