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American Studies Lecture Series: Kim Tallbear

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013 2:00 PM
Student Union Building - Sandia Room

Kim Tallbear is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American & Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Texas-Austin.

Dear Indigenous Studies, It's Not Me, It's You: Why I Left and What Needs to Change

Dear Indigenous Studies: I have an on-again, off-again relationship with Indigenous Studies. I’ll call her IZ. I am drawn to her fiery intellect, how in the wake of the American Indian Movement she made her way into the academy to passionately theorize Native American and indigenous sovereignty. But she also disappoints me. Worldwide, technoscientific knowledges are integral to governance, including for indigenous peoples. And yet indigenous Studies in the U.S. consort mainly with the humanities, especially literature and history. IZ swaggers and talks of decolonization, but she largely ignores the role of technoscience in indigenous sovereignty, thus revealing her Eurocentric disciplinary chauvinism. She contradicts her stated desire to engage indigenous ontologies, which do not break narrative from spirit from materiality to make “literature,” “religious studies,” and “biology.” I suggest new bodies of academic inquiry that IZ could engage in multiple loving relationships, re-entangling what the West has torn asunder. I ask her to throw off her old-school monogamy to the humanities, to open her primary relationship, to make fundamental changes. Otherwise she risks alienating her best potential lovers, the very indigenous communities who need more from her if they are to self-govern and thrive in the 21st century

This event is cosponsored by the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies and the Institute for Indigenous Research (IfAIR) at UNM.

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