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Free School : Lecture (hosted by UHM Geography Colloquium)


The People Of a Place versus the People out of Place: Ideas of Indigenous Territorial Sovereignty in the Nationalist Politics of Anti-immigration

WHO : Nandita Sharma, Associate Professor, Sociology and Hawai‘i J20+ member

WHEN : Thursday, Nov 16 noon to 1pm

WHERE : UH Manoa Saunders Hall, room 443

In today’s postcolonial world, people who have been constituted as Natives and as Migrants are largely seen to be separate, discrete and, increasingly, as naturally opposed. Within autochthonous discourses, all those who cannot claim autochthonous status are portrayed as illegitimate occupiers of Native place. This is significant, not only because the negative dualities of Native vs. Migrant are mobilized in some of the most hotly contested and violent political events of our time, but also because such distinctions profoundly shape – and, arguably, foreclose - the ideas and practices of liberation and decolonization. My paper brings those identified as Natives and Migrants into the same field of analysis to examine how they both exist within the same global field of power known as postcoloniality and, crucially, how this field of power rests upon their analytic and political separation. I investigate the political work done by the colonial-era partitioning of people into mutually exclusive categories of Native and Migrant in today’s world by analyzing the temporal simultaneity of the post-WWII hegemony of the global system of national-states and the simultaneous expansion, intensification and racialization of immigration controls. Examining these developments in relationship to one another reconciles analytically separated spheres of political sovereignty, economic power and ideas of societal membership and further illuminate the particularity of postcolonial governmentality. I develop a more complete analysis of the importance of ideas of Native-ness to postcolonial relations of ruling to better understand the conflation between migration and colonial occupation evident in native nationalisms today – both “from above” and “from below.”