Resistance: Indigenous and Postcolonial PerspectivesCall for contribution, Collège militaire royal du Canada, Kingston, Canada

Decolonazing Education, Marie Battiste, 2013

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In Decolonizing Education (2013), Marie Battiste critiques the valorization of Eurocentric knowledge systems through the minimization of Indigenous knowledge, peoples, and histories, arguing that “part of the ultimate struggle is a regeneration of new relationships among and between knowledge systems”. Achille Mbembe argues in “Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive” (2016) that decolonizing knowledge “mostly means developing a perspective which can allow us to see ourselves clearly, but always in relationship to ourselves and to other selves in the universe, non-humans included”. Their emphasis on relationships and dialogue across boundaries guides this multidisciplinary conference as it invites exchange among indigenous and postcolonial perspectives in exploring resistance of past and present manifestations of colonial and imperial domination—being mindful that, as Jody A. Byrd writes, the “contradictory temporal meanings” of the “post-” need to be questioned since they “represent a condition of futurity that has not yet been achieved” (2011).

Remaining cognizant of the many competing definitions of the term “postcolonial” and of valid suspicions of institutionalized theory, we envision dialogue between these perspectives as facilitating the exploration of relationships between critical theories, cultural products, pedagogical strategies, social practices, and communities that are motivated by comparable aims of resistance. This is not to suggest an easy mapping of these perspectives onto each other or to invite overwriting the specifics of ongoing settler colonialism. Rather, we hope this exchange will enable comprehension of the positions from which we communicate and how we can move forward where our goals interlink.

In this hope, we also converse with previous commentaries on this matter such as Thomas King’s description of the term “postcolonial” as “a hostage to nationalism” in “Godzilla vs. Post-Colonial” (1990) and George J. Sefa Dei’s argument for an anti-colonial discursive framework in “Rethinking the Role of Indigenous Knowledges in the Academy” (2000). Our call for dialogue then welcomes critiques of the limits of existing theoretical frameworks and the questioning of institutional power in service of grappling with issues like how land dispossession intersects with refugee movements. Or, to make the example more specific, with what framework do we understand Haitian asylum seekers being controlled by the Canadian state on the unceded traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Abenaki peoples? We also hope to make connections across conventional bounds, asking, for instance, what comes from connecting the #RhodesMustFall movement in South Africa to the protests against the Cornwallis statue in Halifax and the statue of John A. Macdonald in Kingston, or the renaming of Amherst Street in downtown Montreal? All the same, we hope to question in a critical way the many narrative and artistic techniques of contemporary works that “use the figure of the Amerindian and/or Métis to further the postcolonial arguments of the non-native cultural majorities of their traditions” (Vautier, 1994), as well as the other settler moves to innocence at work in literature, cinema, and the visual arts who prevent decolonization from happening by relieving “the settler of feelings of guilt or responsibility without giving up land or power or privilege, without having to change much at all.” (Tuck & Yang, 2012). These are examples of how institutional powers, be they academic or artistic, are infused into theories and works of art, restating the current order of things and preventing resistance movements to colonialism. Decolonization, during this conference, will not be understood as a metaphor.

Underlying this dialogue will be the question of what is gained or lost from having this conversation within the unique space that is the Royal Military College of Canada.

Possible topics include

  •  Art as resistance
  •  Activism and theory (Idle No More, #MMIWG, #NoDAPL, Black Lives Matter, the Secwepemc Tiny House Warriors)
  •  Migration, immigration, refugees, and land dispossession
  •  Surveillance, punishment, and incarceration
  •  Teaching resistance
  •  Settler moves to innocence in literature, cinema, and the visual arts
  •  Artistic exploitation of Indigenous and Métis figures
  •  Resistance to settler nationalism
  •  Relationships between postcolonial and indigenous Perspectives in the academia

Keynote Speakers to be determined.

Please note that we are unable to cover the costs of any of the fees related to your participation in the event. Costs related to travel, accommodation, and transportation will be your own responsibility. There will be no conference registration fees. We welcome papers delivered in French or in English. No simultaneous translation will be available. Panels will be bilingual.

The Royal Military College of Canada is located on the traditional land of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Peoples.


Submission guidelines

Deadline for submission: 22 January 2018

Abstracts should be 200-300 words in length.

Contact email: &

Date of the conference: 22-23 March 2018

Organizing Committee

  • Pierre-Luc LANDRY
  • Kris SINGH

Advising Committee

  • François-Emmanuël BOUCHER
  • Soundouss EL KETTANI
  • Frédérique OFFREDI

Works cited

  • BATTISTE, Marie. Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit. Saskatoon : Purich Publishing (2013).
  • BYRD, Jody A. The Transit of Empire. Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press.
  • DEI, George J. Sefa. « Rethinking the Role of Indigenous Knowledges in the Academy. » International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 4, no. 2 (2000) : 111–132.
  • KING, Thomas. « Godzilla vs. Post-Colonial. » World Literature Written in English, vol. 30, no. 2 (1990) : 10–16.
  • MBEMBE, Achille. « Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive. » Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand (2015).
  • TUCK, Eve & Wayne K. YANG. « Decolonization is not a metaphor. » Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, vol. 1, no, 1 (2012) : 1–40.
  • VAUTIER, Marie. “Postmodern Myth, Post-European History, and the Figure of the Amerindian: François Barcelo, George Bowering, and Jacques Poulin. » Canadian Literature, no 141 (1994) : 15–37.



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Contact : Pierre-Luc Landry. Mail : pierre-luc [dot] landry [at] rmc [dot] ca

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