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GWST 495/INDG 395
Topics in Women’s Studies/Indigenous Studies: Special Topics“Indigenous Women in the Contemporary World: Unsettling North
Art 210, TTH, 8:00-9:30 a.m., UBC OkanaganSite:http://gwstindgtamez.blogspot.com
INSTRUCTOR: Margo TamezOFFICE HRS: MW 10:30-11:30, and by appt.OFFICE: Art 269CONTACT:margo.tamez@ubc.ca 
Either: INDG 100. 3 additional credits of INDG courses at the 200-level; and third-yearstanding. Or: Third-year standing and 6 credits of GWST or WMST.**Helpful, though
not required 
: basic Spanish literacy (reading comprehension).
: This course is organized as both
. Our class formatwill run as a ‘seminar’ where students have significant responsibilities to organize, facilitate andto participate dynamically in each class meeting. Challenging readings, some films, andanalysis of Indigenous uses of web-based tools encourage engaged discussions and debates. The methods, tools, and subject matter will prepare students for analyzing challenges,complexities and demands across communities, societies, nations, and borders relevant toIndigenous Peoples today. Decolonization, and particularly Indigenous women’s confrontationsand interrogations to conquering histories, laws, and science, will inform our study of the manychallenges at the crossroads of colonialist systems—and will illuminate some solutions. Theissues presented will provide students with methods and tools to problemitize, and to think,write, and vocalize critically with regard to past and present concerns of Indigenous peoples inboth local and global contexts.
: This course will provide important research methods, critical analysis tools, andcrucial perspectives which directly challenge mainstream stereotypes, norms, practices, andprejudices which clutter and disarm a more productive and potent way of seeing,comprehending, and thinking about Indigenous Peoples, and a group often subsumed within thatcategory – Indigenous Women. That critical location will guide our process, where we begin, andwhere we will conclude the course. Here are a few core discursive frameworks to begin theprocess: ‘Decolonization’, ‘Human Rights’, ‘Empty Lands/Terrenos Baldios’, ‘Savages/Barbaros’,‘Enemies’, ‘Vanishing Indians,’ ‘We the People,’ ‘Rights,’ ‘Aboriginal Title and Sovereignty’, and‘Gender Oppression/Violence.’ This course uniquely positions the advanced student to synthesize critical tools acquired to date,and to apply them in more rigorous ways in ‘localized’ ways. Students will be expected to directtheir projects towards specific communities, issues, problems, and challenges that are situated in
contemporary local-global conflicts. Students will situate themselves as researchers and activeagents within those. Special emphasis will be given to the diverse ways that Indigenous peoples—particularly the multiply marginalized within Indigenous communities—have historicallyresisted and given voice to community-based, collective analysis of colonization, gender andsexual violence, and their broad-based, coalitional and anti-colonial movements. Globalization,development, militarization & migration are key frameworks to inform a gender analysis (theproduction and enforcement of heteropatriarchal and violent masculinities and femininities) atthe intersections of geopolitics produced and reproduced through oppressive systems andmethods. 
: We will
our focus on particular geopolitical and genderedterrains, and this opens up critical space specifically to analyze, critique and interrogate Mexico,Canada and the U.S. from Indigenous and Indigenous-gendered perspectives. From earlycolonial ‘conquests’ to NAFTA, the WTO, and global Indigenous movements and beyond--byinterrogating alternative ‘contact’ perspectives, (vis-à-vis a strong emphasis on IndigenousPeoples’ and Indigenous-focused scholarship, oral testimonials, literacies, knowledge systems,primary documents, legal histories, etc.), we will utilize texts and contexts to guide us. In that vein, ‘North Americ
’—and its discontents—allows for a framework which foregroundsmultiplicity and diversity of Indigenous experiences---disaggregating Indigenous peoples fromhomogenizing limits imposed by heteropatriarchal states—as well as nations-within-nations.Using ‘gender’ and ‘indigeneities’ to gird up our analysis, we will confront the ideologies andregimes which naturalize fixed and linear notions of ‘Indians/Indios/Natives’ and interrogatethese as monolithic symbols of Euro-American conquering methods. We will confront Euro-American legal constructions of tribalisms, indigenisms, Indian ethnicities, Indigenous ‘haves’and ‘have-nots’, borders, nations, and sovereignty as normative and thereby innatelydiscriminatory and full of high risk for Indigenous peoples today.In this, by interrogating history, law, science, and politics through Indigenous peoples’ lenses andsocial movements, the processes and outcomes of state-craft , capitalist democracy, assimilativedevelopment projects , and militarization will be elevated in order to engage in the situations andchallenges that a wide spectrum of Indigenous peoples face. Testimonies and testaments fromIndigenous peoples’ themselves will unravel the myths that enshrine colonization as alwayspredestined and inevitable.
We will place very strong emphasis on decolonizing thenarratives, imaginaries, lands, resources and bodies within and across the boundaries producedat the intersections of Euro-American nation-states and heteronormative citizenship (of 
Indigenous societies). We will examine forces, actors, and organizations whichpromote the maintenance of oppression and repression as dual forces to marginalize Indigenousdecolonial movements across society and borders.At the same time, we will interrogate how/when/where colonialist methods got adopted andassimilated into Indigenous societies and governance in unquestioning ways, and we examinekey Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholarship which investigate Indigenous peoples’ challengesto disrupt and dismantle these regimes and forces of colonial violence. In that vein, we pay closeattention to the lingering consequences for marginalized Indigenous peoples at the fringes of theEuro-settler nation-state and normative Indigenous nations—women, children, GLBTQ folk,migrants, refugees, differently abled, mixed ancestry, incarcerated, economically deprivated,and elders.Decolonizing North Americ
emphasizes the multiplicity of lenses about who and what‘the Americas’ was prior to 1492 and is, and how Indigenous peoples are usingdiverse tools to
interrogate the legal, scientific, and cultural obsession of elites and the
privileged to possess and commodify Indigenous lands, bodies and knowledge systems to theisolation and deprivation of certain groups. Heteropatriarchy, capitalism, globalization andmilitarization will be four interlocking systems which will help us to elevate multiply-marginalizedIndigenous peoples’ knowledges, and the increasing move by elites to censure and flatten theeveryday realities of Indigenous resistances to and negotiations and accommodations withviolent, assimilative systems.Our lenses will also ‘zoom-in’ on raced, gendered, sexualized, and classed imaginaries of ‘NorthAmerican’ ‘natives’, ‘Indians’, ‘Indios’, ‘Indigenas’, ‘Mixed-bloods’, ‘Mestizos’ and Métis asterritorializing methods in the gendered and raced projects of colonizations. While ‘NorthAmerica’ as Mexico, Canada and U.S. artificially (!) imposes limits to the scope of our work andproblematically curtails the examination of Euro-American colonizations to the (equallyproblematic) meta geography of ‘North America’ as ‘land mass’ , it should be understood to onlysignify a starting point for emancipating colonialist borders and mappings of IndigenousAmerican realities as intricately tied relationships intertwining peoples, waters, lands, historiesand activities in dynamic relationships with one another. Today’s divisions and differencesbetween Indigenous peoples should not signify that this always was (to this degree) or thatintense conflict, fear, and even apathy and hatred is predestined, preordained or irrevocable.[The immense damage inflicted by racist and sexist notions emanating from 19
c. / early 20
c.U.S.-centric and hegemonic ‘Plains Indian’/‘Southwest Indian’/’American Indian’, is a particularlybounding space where the patriarchal and patrilineal nation-state has instituted ‘Indian malehead’ as ‘custom’ and a measure for authenticity, and which, sadly, large numbers of Indigenouspeoples have deeply internalized and acculturated.Within projects to territorialize minerals, oil, water, arable lands, bodies, and knowledges acrossMexico, Canada and the U.S., crucial sectors of Indigenous Peoples’ histories, languages,perspectives, and experiences have been made
invisible. In this course our aim is tounpack these, especially voices breaking silence at the fringes of Indigenous communities. Thiscourse will maintain firm pressure on elevating Indigenous visibility in all its diversity, andlikewise confronting the forces of marginalization which impose regimes of dispossession anddisavowal upon Indigenous groups which dissent against conformity imposed by colonialistsystems.Indigenous peoples and their multiple positionalities, particularly individuals, groups, and sectorsat the
of citizenship, have and are continuing to maintain large, intact and vibrantcommunity-based and land-based identities. How, by whom, and where is this occurring andwhat tools are Indigenous peoples utilizing and innovating to breathe new life into theircommunities beyond physical, gendered, raced, sexist, and imperialist borders? We look closelyat the many ways Indigenous peoples have/are organized over
time and space and place
todevelop re-newed and new social organizations, revive and reinvent Indigenous community-controlled governance, innovate and re-member ancestral economic and ceremonial traditions,and how infusing these are central to Indigenous women’s and their family members’ self-determined
human rights
beyond borders.
 Another central objective will include healthy mythbusting. In dominating myths and narratives across the America—and globally— ‘the Americas’,‘Americans’, and ‘the West 
’ problematically position Indigenous Peoples as ‘vanished’ and‘disappeared’ outside of a Euro-linear narrative of ‘progress’, ‘freedom’, ‘land wars’ and‘democracy.’ ‘Cowboys/Vaqueros’, ‘Indians/Indios’, ‘lawmen/jefes’, ‘bandits/banditos’,‘prostitutes/prostitutas’ are
(caricatures) which certainly populated the Euro-Americanimaginary and construction of Euro-American metageographies of ‘the West’, the ‘Nor’ west’, the‘Southwest’ and ‘old Mexico.’ Consequently, this imaginary has had (and continues to have)negative impacts and consequences—and, not only affecting Indigenous Peoples. Its authorityand control has been
to shaping the assimilation process of numerous waves of 

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