settler concern as a “non-performative”

I’ve wondered how institutions whose mandate is to care or show concern end up producing lots of reports. I’ve also noticed how these institutions have become nearly therapeutic in their desire to listen closely, to increase the voices included in the “conversation;” yet, they never seem to change social relationships on the ground. Maybe they were never supposed to do anything more than register a problem, to nod

This sense is nothing new. In fact, Vine Deloria’s (1969) Custer Died for Your Sins contains a darkly humorous account of task forces and secret task forces tasked primarily with listening. In Deloria’s account these institutions of concern for the “plight” of American Indians are linked with a sense of unreality, of seeing oneself as alien. These two experiences seem to be related to a problem of how one’s voice doesn’t register, or at least doesn’t register as one might expect it would, within institutions. Recently Sara Ahmed has coined the term “non-performative” to get at this feature of “being given a hearing” in institutional settings

Continue reading “settler concern as a “non-performative””

climate justice and the failures of western imagination

this year, BTOT was again full of joy and provocation: joy in the variety of jam sessions, new music, and dance composition with which presenters engaged their colleagues at berklee; provocation as some of our colleagues tried to stir things up. as a member of the BTOT program committee, it was a great deal of fun!

this year as many years, my colleague political scientist  victor wallis organized a panel that underscored the urgency of the climate crisis. as a prison and environmental activist and scholar who has edited the journal socialism and democracy, victor wallis is aware of the complexity of the climate issue. in many ways, his work points out how the urgency of the climate crisis requires us to think our way outside of capitalism

Continue reading “climate justice and the failures of western imagination”