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“Decoloniality” NWSA 2016
Montréal/Tiotià:ke, unceded Mohawk/Kahnawake territory—territoire autochtone non-cédé
Decoloniality is a worldview that denaturalizes settler colonial logics and structuring violences. Coloniality and settler governance are transnational in scope and include territorial occupation, conquest, removal, economic exploitation, resource extraction, displacement, and dehumanization. Settler colonialism is also a way of knowing that permeates institutions, including education, the law, science, economics, politics, and religion. Decoloniality disrupts and departs from settler logics, structures, myths, stories, archives, institutions, affects, embodiments, aesthetics, desires, ontologies, categories, cartographies, and politics. It has a long, diverse genealogy and can be understood as an ongoing process of co-resistance and alliance. As an approach to thought and action, decolonial work exposes how coloniaility is not “past”: simultaneously, it traces forms of critical and creative resistance and shows possibilities for (and the necessity of) decolonial being/knowing/loving/resisting/creating (L. Simpson 2015).
In addressing layers of dispossession and matrices of violence, decoloniality is multifaceted: it is epistemic, ontological, political, pedagogical, and spiritual. Decolonial projects query dominant ideas about power and the natural world; break open historical archives; disrupt settler notions of place, land, property, and personhood; focus on sovereignty; question a politics of recognition from/by the settler state; trouble normative ideas about embodiment, identity, subjectivity, and agency; depart from forms of love tied to conquest; rethink notions of the human and non-human; and engage with inanimate and spiritual worlds.
We welcome submissions that bridge or juxtapose multiple literatures, politics, and frames of reference, that examine coloniality, empire, and neo/colonialism, and that trace or perform resistance to these structures and legacies. Within Decoloniality as an overarching theme, we invite consideration of a range of questions as we gather in Montréal, including:
What radical transformations in feminist knowledge-making, pedagogies, and alliances are possible via decoloniality, given its focus on reciprocity, accountability, and relationality?
How can decolonial ways of knowing dislodge dominant mindsets and disrupt prevailing ideas about who produces, holds, and accesses knowledge—and what ‘counts’ as knowledge?
If gender is a colonial imposition that sustains racialized, heteronormative, patriarchal hierarchies and that reinforces distinctions between persons and non-persons, as well as humans and animals, what of gender as a category, experience, embodiment, or object of analysis?
Decolonial feminist work contests many prevailing ideas about (and approaches to) land, place, space, borders, and nation. How does decoloniality center as feminist questions of resource extraction, land ownership, profit, property, migration, immigration, detention, and citizenship? What are the implications for women’s studies and its practitioners?
How does naming and also resisting silences in settler-colonial feminism(s) fundamentally alter feminist histories, subjectivities, analytics, and genealogies?
How can decolonial creative praxis be used to help forge collective, transformative consciousness?
NWSA 2016 identifies several thematic areas for critical inquiry and creative engagement in women's and gender studies and related fields:
Unsettling Settler Logics
Movements and Migrations
Bodies and Biopolitics
Borders and Be/longings
World-Making and Resistant Imaginaries