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CPSA/ISA-Canada section on International Relations

C14(a) - Indigeneity, IR and the Settler Colonial State

Date: Jun 5 | Time: 03:45pm to 05:15pm | Location: ESB 2012

Chair/Président/Présidente : Sarah Wiebe (University of Hawaii)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Colleen Bell (University of Saskatchewan)


Session Abstract: In the wake of resurgent Indigenous mobilization and the recent TRC recommendations (themselves the consequence of decades of Indigenous activism) IR scholars are increasingly asking how Indigeneity, Indigenous politics and Indigenous-settler state relations – which have always been international – can best be understood, explained and taught in IR. To what extent are traditional IR constructs, concepts and theories suitable for engaging with Indigenous politics; or, to what extent do Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing suggest means through which these IR constructs and theories might be de-centred or reimagined? What does Indigenous mobilization in response to resource extraction, policing, and other modes of settler colonial violence suggest about the ways in which ‘the local’ and ‘the international’ are always/already entangled? How can and should these questions be addressed when teaching IR to undergraduate students? In sum, what does it mean, or could it mean, to ‘Indigenize’ IR: in what ways might our teaching, theorizing or scholarship be reimagined or transformed to centre Indigenous peoples, politics and perspectives?


Divided Sovereignties: Pipelines Politics, Settler-Indigenous Relations, and the Implications for Canadian Foreign Policy: Wilfrid Greaves (University of Victoria)
Abstract: Contemporary debates over the construction of new or expanded fossil fuel pipelines have emerged as among the most divisive political issues in Canada. Multiple pipelines affecting all regions of the country have been alternately championed and contested by overlapping networks of federal, provincial, municipal, Indigenous, and non-state actors, with significant effects on inter-provincial and Canada-American bilateral relations. This paper examines the implications of these contentious pipeline politics for Canadian foreign policy by examining the challenges arising from divided sovereignty between the federal and provincial Crowns, and the assertion by Indigenous peoples of sovereignty over their traditional and unceded territories. It outlines two recent pipeline proposals – the Trans Mountain and Energy East pipelines – that have ignited national debate, and examines the intersecting sovereignty claims pertaining to each. I argue that these contentious pipeline projects are at the centre of contemporary Canadian politics and that the outcomes will substantially shape the future direction of the Canadian state, society, and international agency.


Indigeneity, Sovereignty and In/visibility in the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Response: Suzanne Hindmarch (University of New Brunswick)
Abstract: This paper examines the emerging global and Canadian antimicrobial resistance (AMR) governance response – a response which, to date, has not meaningfully included Indigenous peoples or perspectives, in spite of the fact that Indigenous and other structurally marginalized populations are likely to be disproportionately impacted by AMR. The paper argues that at both domestic and international levels of policy-making and governance, Indigenous peoples are at once invisible, yet central to, AMR governance responses. The simultaneous presence and absence of Indigenous peoples in AMR governance represents both a functional-institutional failure to engage with Indigenous peoples on a nation-to-nation basis, and a deeper ontological failure to centre Indigenous conceptions of health, disease, and relationships to the earth, including microbial and other non-human worlds. But, this paper argues, these invisibilities and failures are also deeply productive, serving to reinforce the power-knowledge matrices that establish legitimate, authoritative knowledge, knowers, and international actors, and to maintain and reproduce particular forms of sovereign and biopolitical control over populations.