THIS IS HOW WE HOPE: DECOLONIZING LANGUAGE, WATER, LAND AND LOVE
Date: May 19 th (Friday), 2017, 2:00 ~ 4:00 p.m. at ARC, GC
Speaker: Bonnie McElhinny, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto
Discussant: Don Robotham, Professor of Anthropology and Director of ARC,
The Graduate Center, CUNY
Abstract: In 2015, published The Decolonial Atlas: Re-imagining the World (https://decolonialatlas.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/the-great-lakes-in-ojibwe-v2/), a map in Ojibwe which re-orients the ways we understand the Great Lakes. This map asks us to think about this place where many of us on Turtle Island live, a place with 20% of the world's fresh water, in different frames, to, as the site says “re-imagine” the world. Linguistic anthropology often focuses on critique; in this talk, I focus on the notion of hope (and our wariness about it). Why are such alternative worlds appearing now? Why are some of the languages that were disciplined and punished not long ago being reclaimed and re-mapped? How are people responding to these and other initiatives? This chapter considers the political economic changes at the moment that help account for the kinds of phenomena the map represent, and that situate us at a moment of intense social change in which language plays a particularly important role. If the logic of late capitalism is a logic of anticipation (Adams, Murphy and Clark 2009), of trading in commodity futures, sometimes of building certain kinds of individual desiring selves (Ahearn 2003), how can linguistic anthropologists queer financial logics? What are the ways our field can help illuminate new ways of thinking about time, about place and about personhood?