Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Middle East Section
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Indigeneity
Secondary Theme: Resistance
This panel focuses on settler coloniality in Turtle Island–primarily Canada– and Palestine, exploring what resistance and resilience look in these two sites and what it means to put research on these two settler colonial formations in dialogue with each other. While there is growing work in anthropology on comparative settler colonialisms, including North America, there has been relatively little focus on understanding the connecting threads of settler colonization in Canada and Palestine. This panel examines some similarities as well as divergences in these settler colonial projects, using feminist and indigenous studies perspectives to address native epistemologies of colonization and decoloniality.
The questions this panel addresses are: how can the analytic of settler colonization help us link Canada and Palestine while retaining the specific historical and political forms of colonization in these two sites? How does a feminist or queer perspective illuminate the particular relations between settler and indigenous populations in these two sites as well as the relations of solidarity between colonized populations? The panelists are Palestinian scholars or scholars who do ethnographic work on Palestine. From their position as settlers on Turtle Island, their papers are informed by a critique to the Canadian and U.S settler colonial states.
Juxtaposing the liberalism of the Canadian state with the militarism of the Israeli state forces us to consider the national narratives that erase the settler colonial history of Canada and ongoing violence against First Nations as well as Zionist narratives that transform the settler into the native, usurping Palestinian culture and denying Palestinian identity. Yet as Palestinian scholars Dana Olwan, Steven Salaita, and others have pointed out, expressions of solidarity between these two colonized populations sometimes implicitly erase or support these colonial narratives and erase historical and material specificities. Therefore, our panel is an intervention in an ongoing debate about “inter/nationalism” and reciprocal solidarities and is inspired partly by Palestinian solidarity with the Idle No More movement in Canada and scholarship on decolonization.
Through looking at cases of freezing deaths of indigenous persons in Canada, Wahbe examines Israeli strategies of keeping Palestinian bodies frozen for months. Wahbe explores the sovereign logics of corporeal domination through linkages made between freezing deaths in these two settler-colonial contexts. Hasan’s paper explores patterns of racialization and Orientalism in the discourse of “radical” feminist Israeli activists who promote solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. These discursive patterns reflect some of the discursive foundations and strategies of settler colonialism in Palestine and elsewhere. Desai examines the settler colonial assault on Indigenous youth activism in the contexts of Canada and Palestine, in the shadow of political processes of “reconciliation in Canada” and the “peace process” in Palestine. Olwan examines Palestinian discourses of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota and explores the mobilization of indigenous activists who are building new trans/national movements against settler colonial states. Abu Hatoum will contribute an understanding of visual colonial relations through her work on the Israeli incarceration of the Palestinian lands/landscapes and will examine the possibility of visual decolonization.