The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory NUBS 2.10
Jul 06, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230706T1100 20230706T1230 Europe/London 6.2. Settler Colonial Memory Vs. Indigenous Perspectives NUBS 2.10 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
27 attendees saved this session
A People With/Out a Home: Memories of Land and Dispossession in East Jerusalem’s City of David
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 03:45 PM - 05:15 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 14:45:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 16:15:00 UTC
Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in East Jerusalem, this paper tracks the rapid Jewish territorialization of the Wadi Rababa neighborhood in Silwan-a valley considered 'untouched' by modern development and the figurative backyard of the city, serving in different historical moments as landfill, burial site, and dumping grounds. In 2020 Israel's Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) deemed the privately owned Palestinian olive groves at Wadi Rababa as an unkempt part of the Old City Walls National Park, prompting the Jerusalem municipality to issue "gardening decrees" in order to make the private lands useable for the public. The NPA turned control of the project to "revive" the barren landscape to the private settler organization Elad, who set out to "rejuvenate" the valley by building an ecologically focused educational park teaching biblical agricultural techniques and running guided tours on the Jewish history of the Palestinian territory. Over the past two years and under the auspice of conservation and environmentalism Elad has seized more and more land, and radically changed the visual and demographic makeshift of Wadi Rababa's landscape. This paper tracks the mnemonic practice that backbones the Jewish moral and legal claims to the valley: memory narratives of land ownership. In this mnemonic, settlers narrate their surrounding through a history of Jewish ownership of private property that stretches to biblical times to provide moral and legal reasoning for the dispossession of Palestinians. In response to the rapid colonization, local Palestinian residents, in collaboration with Jewish solidarity activists, have launched counter tours, that focus on Palestinian land-owners own memories of land ownership-yet earning little success in their mnemonic resistance. 
Memory Studies has long focused on the ways mnemonic practices are used in the aftermath of political violence in the pursuit of justice, reconciliation, and restorative practices (Erll and Olick 2021). And Indigenous scholars and scholars of settler-colonialism have shown how memory is used to provide historical legitimacy to settler projects, its structures of elimination, disavow the historical presence of indigenous groups, and render the property rights, belonging, and homemaking practices of settlers as natural and enduring (Zerubavel 1995; O'Brien 2010; Wolfe 2016; Rifkin 2017; Kotef 2020; Bruyneel 2021). However, little attention has been given to how memory legitimates dispossession by bonding land and peoples, rendering territorial violence moral and normal. This paper expands on the study of memory as a technology of dispossession in the settler colonial context by focusing on how mnemonics are used to construct an imagined propertied and racial relationship between settlers and land and render dispossession as a moral act. Moreover, comparing settlers' memories of ownership with native and indigenous ways of narrating belonging to land exposes the fault line between the two territorial imaginaries and the mnemonic infrastructure that informs which acts of violence are considered the settled matter and beyond decolonization, and which forms of violence remain unsettled.
Yair Agmon
Graduate Student, University Of California, Los Angeles
The Arnait Video Collective of Inuit Women: Intergenerational Transmission and Decolonization through Film
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
The narratives surrounding the history of the Canadian Inuit and their relationship to Canadian settlers differs somewhat from ones about the First Nations situated South of the Arctic circle, mainly because the colonization process occurred much later for the Inuit. Nonetheless, when looking at the history of colonization in the Canadian Arctic, events such as the decimation of populations via infectious disease brought on by the settlers, as well as linguistic and cultural assimilation, dislocation, the loss of a nomadic lifestyle closely linked to the culture and the obligation to attend residential schools make it hard to imagine how a culture and Nation is capable of survivance. The word survivance (instead of survival) is used by Anishinaabe author Gerald Vizenor to describe the dynamic nature of Indigenous cultures and peoples, moving well beyond survival to construct new discourses of change, while keeping cultural memory and tradition alive (2008). As is expressed by the Inuit themselves, many of the problems faced by Inuit communities "are the obvious results of this history and experience. Attempts to colonize both the lands and minds of Inuit has sometimes resulted in shame, confusion, cultural denial, loss of cultural identity and low self-esteem." (Katerak and Tester 2017, 9).
Furthermore, cinema has played an important role in the colonization/assimilation process, by focusing on loss or fragility of Inuit identity and culture, whether by capturing images of an endangered nomadic way of life or by portraying the Inuit "as unreal constructs of white colonialism" (Kroeber 2008, 27). In recent years, Inuit filmmakers, including the Arnait Video Collective of Inuit women, have taken over their own representation, orienting their efforts towards creating images of continuity and renewal, all the while encouraging intergenerational transmission of traditional knowledge. Founded in 1991 by Québécois filmmaker Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu (an Inuk woman) the intercultural collective has used video for 30 years as a political and cultural tool, allowing Inuit women's voices to be recorded for present and future generations who are eager to learn more about their culture. This presentation will therefore examine how the collective functions in such a way as to promote decolonization of past images, through acts of visual sovereignty (Raheja, 2010) and through the indigenization of the medium of film. Additionally, this paper will discuss how the Arnait archive, housed at Queens's University, contributes in keeping their legacy alive through activities promoting the "living" archives.

Karine Bertrand
Associate Professor, Queen's University Canada
Identity Construction in the Shadow of Postcolonialism in The Marrow Thieves
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves (2017) is set in 2050 and imagines a land in which people lost their ability to dream and the only people who can still dream are Indigenous people. In a such postapocalyptic narrative, Dimaline warns her reader about the post-apocalyptic world, but she mainly focuses on the present time. She envisions the future in order to focus on settler colonialism; mainly the effect of residential schools. By focusing on the future which shows an apocalyptic climate, she expresses her concerns regarding racism in the present which dates back to the colonial past and residential schools. The main protagonist of the novel, Frenchie, has no memory of his Indigenous roots; therefore, he needs to create his identity based on the collective memory of his society. In order to reflect on the process of identity and subjectivity formation, I will apply Dori Laub and Shoshana Felman's concept of witnessing and testimony and Aleida Assmann's concept of individual and collective memory to Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves. Laub and Felman believe that nobody but the witness of an incident has the words to express the traumatic situation and its effects; therefore he has a unique position to give the testimony. The Aboriginal peoples experienced the residential schools and they are the first hand witnesses of its traumatic effects on generations after generations of their own people. The Aboriginal peoples' memory functions as the collective memory that Assmann writes about. The characters in Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves shape their identity individually by exploring themselves, and also through the help of their ancestors and the collective memory the Aboriginal peoples gathered throughout the years.
KAMELIA Talebian Sedehi
Adjunct Lecturer, La Sapienza University Of Rome
A Visual Archaeology of Settler Historical Privilege + Colonial Aphasia
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
The cumulative events of "Canada 150" and the discovery of unmarked gravesites at 20 residential schools has since reignited a critical scrutiny of Canada's lieux de mémoire and their abiding implication in upholding the nation-state's settler colonial legacy. Questions on how to ethically reconcile with either an extension or redaction of their temporal lifespan(s) have been contentiously debated between social, cultural, and political groups within, across, and beyond multiscalar borders (see Nijhawan et al., 2018; Sharma, 2021). While select churches, statues, and universities have 'succumbed' to contestation through such diverse acts of unsettlement as burning, felling, and renaming (see Alberga, 2022); to date, however, little work has thoroughly (re)examined the Canadian family farm as a settler colonial lieu de mémoire nor its enduring role in the continued dispossession of Indigenous ecology, sovereignty, and life. A multidisciplinary review of literature details three reasons for this impasse.
First, Mackey (2016) has detailed how settler social perspectives discern assertions of Indigenous land rights as being at odds with the institutional processes that have collectively reaffirmed their own 'settled expectations' to land entitlement. Second, Bronson et al. (2019) have explicated how the bucolic cultural currency of the settler family and farm is still being traded upon in the service of commercial marketing by both corporate and family (agri)businesses alike. And third, academics and policy makers consequently theorize the family farm as 'an imagined site of resistance' to the structural changes unfolding in the agricultural landscape (Calus & Huylenbroeck, 2010). Thus, as one can see, there exists multiple social, cultural, and political storylines that inevitably work to eschew the family farm's settler colonial referents in the present. 
My paper contests the family farm's current theorization by positing it as a case study of a settler colonial lieu de mémoire. It challenges each memorial storyline and reinscribes the farm's settler colonial referents into a contemporary theorization that simultaneously serves as a vicarious stepping-stone to entice further "multidirectional" acts of unsettlement (Rothberg, 2009). I will be analyzing a mix of materials ranging from: the photographic life stories of three 4th generation settler siblings, the trade materials of the CPR, the Indigenous poetic works of Belcourt; NDN Coping Mechanisms (2019) and Halfe; Sôhkêyihta (2018), and the setter poetic works of B. Wallace; Common Magic (1985) and K. Wallace; There Is No Need to Talk about This (2015. The results will be explicated through Borell et al.'s (2018) theory of historical privilege to weave a critical bricolage comprised of multiple perspectives. It will take seriously their assertion that if we are to understand the ill effects of colonization on one population, the privileging effects consequential to another must also be part of the conversation (p. 31).
In conclusion, I argue that the Canadian family farm is an overlapping form of occupation, trauma, and privilege; a site that slips under the radar of political intent, and that without a critical reanalysis it will continue to perform discriminatory work in masking what is fundamentally a settler colonial practice. 

Teiji Wallace-Lewis
Independent Artist, Researcher, And Storyteller
“United under the same sky”: How Jacinda Ardern constructs narratives of the past on New Zealand public holidays
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
On Friday 24 June 2022, Matariki was observed as a public holiday in New Zealand for the first time. The reappearance of the Matariki star cluster in the early morning sky in New Zealand signifies the end of the year and is celebrated as the Māori New Year. The official adoption of Matariki - the newest public holiday in 48 years - was described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as "our first authentically Māori public holiday", alluding to the dominance of colonial and settler identities in the calendar. The framing of Matariki by political actors including Arden and the Matariki Advisory Group position public holidays within the narrative of New Zealand's developing national identity. The New Zealand case study resonates with conceptualisations of public holidays, in their particular instances and as part of the networked constellation of the national calendar, as sites of memory that promote commemoration and remembrance within mnemonic communities (see Marschall, 2013; Fridman, 2014; David, 2014; Polletta & Maresca, 2021; Cossu, 2020).   
This paper contributes empirically to this cluster of research by examining how narratives of the past are mobilised through public holidays within the sociocultural, political and economic context of New Zealand. Following Olick (2016), the research explores not only how historic events are commemorated but the history of previous commemorations as 'memory of memory'. Drawing on the speeches and social media posts of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (2017-present) for three public holidays (Matariki, Waitangi Day and Anzac Day), the discourse analysis focuses on how narratives of the past, as well as remembrance as a national value, are constructed. The analysis traces the ongoing negotiation of national identity across time and considers how Ardern makes sense of the past and orientates policies in and by representing the past on the specific occasions of these three public holidays.   
Waitangi Day and Anzac Day are positioned as the two principal public holidays in New Zealand. Anzac Day (commemoration for New Zealanders who have died in war) is positioned by Pakeha as a "straightforward celebration of heroic sacrifice" that allows for the reproduction of settler identity and reinforcement of the hegemony of normative Pakeha identities (O'Malley & Kidman, 2018, p. 307). Whereas Waitangi Day (commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the British crown and Māori chiefs) is often constructed in opposition to Anzac Day. It is positioned by Pakeha as complicating efforts to celebrate national identity due to the reminder of colonisation and Treaty responsibilities, reproducing an us-and-them binary (McConville et al., 2020).   
This paper examines how Arden's speeches and social media posts engage with these dominant discourses and issues of colonialism and perceptions of ethnic identities through her construction of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day along with the newly introduced Matariki. Given that Matariki was part of Ardern's pre-election manifesto and the 2020 election campaign, the paper examines the instrumentalisation of the past in political communication and as part of official memory. 
Taylor Annabell
Associate Professor
Queen's University Canada
Adjunct lecturer
La Sapienza University of Rome
Independent artist, researcher, and storyteller
Graduate Student
University of California, Los Angeles
Mr Paul Mersh
Post Graduate Research Student
University of Greenwich
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