Plenary Speakers

Abstracts for the NAAS Plenary Speakers.

Asbjørn Grønstad (University of Bergen) – Norway/ASANOR
”On the Persistence of Murray Bookchin’s Eco-Philosophy”  

The talk will consider the lasting significance of the political theory of American philosopher and historian Murray Bookchin. Building upon Lewis Mumford’s Technics and Civilization (1934), Bookchin was a pioneer of environmental studies and wrote about issues of social ecology (a term coined E. A. Gutkind, a German architect and urban planner), marrying critical theory to a denunciation of capitalism, which he regarded as more detrimental to the health of the environment than both overpopulation and technology. While Bookchin’s ideas vastly influenced the New Left, the anti-nuclear movement, as well as the anti-globalization movement, his work seems somewhat under-appreciated today. In my lecture, I propose that Bookchin’s eco-philosophy remains if anything even more relevant for the challenges of the contemporary moment. In the first part of the talk, I discuss Bookchin’s lingering influence on current experiments in direct democracy through the example of Rojava in Northern Syria. In the second part, I suggest that Bookchin’s political philosophy might be seen as a much needed alternative to the hegemonic position of global neoliberalism. 

Sami Lakomäki (University of Oulu) – Finland/FASA
”Of Dancing and Other Documents: Indigenous Archives, Colonial Records, and Histories of Imperial Warfare in North America”

In 1753, the government of Virginia sent William Trent to the Ohio Valley to seek the support of the region’s Indigenous nations in an escalating conflict between the British and French empires. Many Native communities did not share the anxiety of Trent and his employers, however. The Shawnees, for example, declined Trent’s invitations to urgent negotiations and, according to the frustrated Virginian, “seem[ed] to think of Nothing else but their dancing.” Trent’s journal of his journey opens a window into what is widely considered a major turning point in North American history, the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War. It also offers us a rare opportunity to see different people, working under very dissimilar worldviews and epistemologies, engaged in the construction of “the past.” Inspired by Trent’s unintentional juxtaposition of two disparate projects of past-making, his own journal writing and the Shawnees’ dancing, I explore how pasts were conceptualized, produced, and engaged by Indigenous and colonial communities engulfed in imperial warfare in North America during the long eighteenth century. I also address a more profound issue: how does the past-making of Trent, his Shawnee hosts, and their Native and colonial contemporaries shape our production of North American histories today?

Marianne Kongerslev (Aalborg University) – Denmark/DASA
”A New Age of Furies?”

In recent books such as Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger (2018) and Brittney Cooper’s Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower (2018), to name a few, the authors suggest fury and rage as effective and affective strategies of feminist rebellion. These books point to a temporal and emotional peak in women’s fury, an epoch that white actress and writer Amber Tamblyn calls Era of Ignition (2019). However, this angry resistance is an old phenomenon. As Sara Ahmed states in “Snap!” (2017), “We could think of feminist history as a history of snappy women, a history of women who have leaked all over the place. What comes out of our own mouths might come out of a history; we have, as it were, other snaps behind us.” This lecture explores the newness of and tradition behind a contemporary cultural phenomenon that is especially suited to angry women: slam poetry. By tracing the way that emotions flow through multiple slam poems, primarily focusing on women of color poets, the lecture explores how rage becomes ceremonial, intensified and enhanced with each performance in a way that resonates with broader feminist concerns. These poets’ fury constitutes a feminist “snap”—a moment of rupture. Mobilized deliberately and optimistically, the fury of the poets is meant to upset, to cause a rupture within the system, continuing the tradition of women employing anger as a political tool.

Gunlög Fur (Linnaeus University) – Sweden/SAAS
”Building a New Scandinavia on Indigenous Land”

We are accustomed to thinking about our own time as one of rapid and persistent change, while the past is often painted as a placid river slowly moving towards the present. But humans and other living beings have often tackled abrupt transformations, throwing order and balance to the winds. One such period occurred in the decades around the turn of the century 1900, when Indian reservations were opened for non-Indigenous settlement and in less than a generation, scores of Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and later Finnish migrants took the opportunity to settle on Indigenous land, while First Americans (Indigenous peoples) saw much that was familiar crumble. This lecture contributes to the story of how migrants from the Nordic countries found a New Scandinavia, as Fredrika Bremer envisioned in 1848, in Minnesota and surrounding territories by fencing, farming, irrigating, building, logging, railroading on land, lakes, and rivers that were home to Ojibwe, Dakota, and many other peoples. Just as rapidly, the story demonstrates, Indigenous peoples found themselves dislocated and forced to devise strategies and forge relations to manage land encroachment, timber theft, loss of biodiversity, starvation, illnesses, and humiliation in their own territories. This story is a beginning, thus far much too one-sided, that offers an invitation to tie threads of experiences together into a weave that exposes responsibilities and lasting entanglements in this history of crisis and change in the American heartland.

%d bloggare gillar detta: