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Resistance and Reparation: Idle No More and the Politics of Refusal

Tuesday March 21st at 2:30 PM until 4 PM

University of Victoria  (David Turpin Building)

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Dr. Vicki Hseuh, Western Washington University

Idle No More represents a multi-modal way of staging reparative claims in which resistance, refusal, and contention function to highlight and accentuate the shape-shifting and opportunistic dimensions of colonial engagement and recognition. I draw on the conception of political refusal developed in Audra Simpson’s Mohawk Interruptus to characterize the Idle No More campaign as an example of multi-faceted and flexible practices of reparative refusal at work today. Like Simpson’s account of the Mohawk, Idle No More's activist and spontaneous refusals serve to highlight the long history of broken promises and failed agreement. In addition, these refusals bring to the fore both the possibilities and the difficulties of enacting self-determination and sovereignty in contention with colonial states. In the paper, I'm particularly interested in the emotive features at work in the politics of refusal.

Vicki Hsueh is Director of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Western Washington University. Her teaching and research interests include the history and historiography of political theory, protest movements and civic action, identity politics and theory, indigenous politics and post-colonial theory. She is the author of Hybrid Constitutions: Making and Unmaking Power and Privilege in Colonial America and articles in The Review of Politics, Contemporary Political Theory, Journal of the History of Ideas, and History of Political Thought. She has been the recipient of several fellowships including the Barbara S. Mosbacher Fellowship (John Carter Brown Library), the Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship (American Antiquarian Society), and the Mayer Fellowship (Huntington Library).