U.S. Colonial Present

U.S. Colonial Present

Professor Lisa Lowe

Settler colonialism, slavery, racialized immigration and military empire have been integral to the emergence of the U.S. nation, state, and economy, and their historical consequences continue today. In this interdisciplinary graduate seminar, we study the relevance of these historical and ongoing formations to the founding and development of the United States, giving attention to the independence of each, as well as to their differences, convergences, and contestations. We consider the strengths and limits of given analytic frames for understanding our current historical crises of public health, economic austerity, and racial state violence. Despite the differentiated histories of settler colonialism, slavery, and empire, contemporary struggles and solidarities can identify links and convergences that colonial logics may disallow. The seminar includes readings in history, anthropology, political theory, and literature, as well as films and other media.

 

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Modes of Relationship

Our current pandemic is shocking, and almost unbearable. I cherish Waterlily’s relatives’ refusal of isolation. For most of this year, I have quarantined and distanced. I do this for the safety of myself and others. I am fortunate to have work and a stipend; but still, there is much I yearn for. I don’t know when this will end.

Collectively, in the Black Radical Tradition

As I traversed this week’s readings, I recognized overlapping accounts of Black freedom struggle as a method of collective praxis across space and time. Sarah Haley writes: “Late-capitalist law-and-order logics proliferate individualism and privatization as preeminent moral values that rationalize mass imprisonment by criminalizing the precarious.” Conversely, collectivity, as an anti-capitalist model of social formation, […]

Stand up for Armenians in Artsakh Before It’s Too Late

Starting in July, Azerbaijan — backed by the Turkish, Israeli, and U.S. settler-states — has been attacking and terrorizing the Republic of Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh), a 95% Armenian-majority sovereign entity and an ancient Armenian stronghold where indigenous Armenians have lived since antiquity.

Rumors and Checkpoints: Undocumented Knowledge, Mobility, and Organizing

For the colonized, rumor is a double-edged sword, limited in its utility as the ambiguity or unverified truth of the rumor simultaneously causes both fear and restricted mobility. Nevertheless, it is the evasiveness of it that allows undocumented communities to organize, move, or stay put with some sense of authority over their bodies, bodies which themselves are often in a constant state of strategic evasiveness.

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