Panel 16: Classification and coloniality

Veronica Gomez Temesio, University of Copenhagen, (chair)

Abstract: Of Ruins and Love: Ebola and the Politics of Memory

During the Ebola outbreak that affected Guinea in 2013-2015, local health workers were exposed to disproportionate risk compared to their foreign colleagues. Moreover, local workers were deprived of a public voice in humanitarian media operations. This article explores the way triage in the situation functioned, not only to distinguish the sick from the healthy, but to distinguish those who could tell their story from those who could only remain silent. Recognition and memory are bounded together. I will hence tackle politics of memory as political technologies of the present that discloses forms of class and racial segregation persisting from the days of colonial medicine to the contemporary treatment of emerging diseases in Global Health. Comparing the Ebola outbreak with another dramatic episode of Guinean history, the 28thSeptember massacre, I argue that for those who are deprived of political recognition, love becomes the only space of survival.

Tiffany Dang, University of Cambridge,

Abstract: The Changing Nature of National Parks

Extraction is not limited to the mining industry, but rather it is a relational structure predicated on the oppression of weaker and poorer hinterland communities by central cities of concentrated economic and state power. This extractive divide—between metropolis and hinterland, urban and rural, town and country—is reflected in the landscapes of the Canadian national parks, which largely occupy the ‘remote’ hinterlands of the Canadian nation. The Canadian national parks system has been used as a systemic instrument for colonizing the so-called ‘frontier,’ since at least 1885, a year which marked the establishment of the first Canadian national park at Banff and the subsequent displacement of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. Contemporary programs of tourism within national parks serve to uphold colonial imaginations of frontier landscapes as wilderness—unexplored, untouched, and uninhabited—stripping vast territories of their Indigenous and ecological sovereignties. Erased of Indigenous and ecological complexities, landscapes of the national parks are reduced by the global extractive capitalist machine into a frontier resource: massive playgrounds of constructed wilderness to which city dwellers can travel to escape urban life. On February 18, 2019, after nearly two decades of active negotiation, members of the Łutselk’e Dene First Nation voted in favour for the creation of Canada’s newest national park on the eastern arm of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories: Thaidene Nene National Park. Canada’s newest national park has a complex history, dating to the 1960s, when the first proposals for the park were put on hold due to protestation from the Dene. Recent renewed negotiations since 2001 have come a long way, proposing an unprecedented strategy centred on a joint co-management agreement between Denesoline, Territorial, and Federal governments, promising equality of all three partners. The story of Thaidene Nene follows the evolution of the Canadian national parks system, as a system of dispossession to a contemporary attempt at reconciliation and co-existence.

Mattias Borg Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen,

Abstract: Fractured Justice: The Coloniality of Hydro-social Territories of Northern Patagonia

Hydraulic fracturing – ‘fracking’ – is a highly disruptive and destructive extractive practice, which leaves behind scarred and scorched landscapes. For almost a decade, the Vaca Muerta shale formation in Northern Patagonia, Argentina, has been the center of attention of the international hydrocarbon industry. While it is framed as a strategy for national energy sovereignty, local populations are brought to bear a disproportionate cost of extraction, and Vaca Muerta has also become a centre-piece for mobilizations against fracking. Since 2012, the Mapuche has been at the frontline of contestations over the use of territories and water. This paper reviews scholarly work on fracking and Argentina and beyond, and asks how we can understand struggles over redistribution, recognition, and representation. The interpretation of environmental justice struggles over fracking in Argentina is informed by scholarship theorizing coloniality in settler societies. I am therefore interested in understanding the dynamics of justice in a context, where there is disagreement about the vocabulary used to describe mal-distribution, where political spaces are shaped by misrecognition and/or multicultural recognition, and where procedures and representation are structured by persistent settler colonialism and hence, the coloniality of power.