Events Calendar

Science v. the Sacred, a Dead-end Settler Ontology....

Friday, October 23, 2020
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Kim TallBear

Science v. the Sacred, a Dead-end Settler Ontology -- And Then What?

Friday, Oct 23
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
A virtual event on Zoom: contact for Zoom link

Dr. Kim TallBear
CRC in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment
Faculty of Native Studies
University of Alberta

Settler-colonial society works hard to separate so-called spirituality from the material. This worldview inhibits settler society grasping Indigenous knowledges as knowledge based on centuries of observations and intimate relations with other-than-human relatives. Instead, Indigenous peoples are viewed as exceedingly “spiritual,” and dominant scientific traditions (including the social sciences and humanities) tend to denigrate Indigenous understandings of the world as beliefs rather than knowledges. The knowledge/belief divide stems from a hierarchy of life that the sciences share with major religious traditions. Within this understanding of sentience and agency, some humans rank above others, and humans rank above other life forms. More recently, thinkers such as the “new materialists” and multi-species ethnographers commit themselves to understanding other-than-humans in less hierarchical and more “vibrant” or agential, if still secular terms. But that “ontological turn,” while fascinating, may not be a sufficiently encouraging response in this moment of settler-colonial existential crisis. For those paying attention, Indigenous worldviews compel and edify. That is not to say that Indigenous understandings of the world can save settler society from itself. Non-Indigenous people must learn to live well together here, and it does not look good. Nonetheless, in an act of edification, I bring Indigenous ideas of being in good relation into conversation with the more sensible ideas of thinkers working within the settler state academy.

Kim TallBear is Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment. She is also a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellow. Dr. TallBear is the author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science.

Building on her research on the role of technoscience in settler colonialism, Dr. TallBear also studies the colonization of Indigenous sexuality. She is a regular commentator in US, Canadian, and UK media outlets on issues related to Indigenous peoples, science, and technology as well as Indigenous sexualities. She is a regular panelist on the weekly podcast, Media Indigena. She is a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota.
Everyone welcome.

No RSVP required, but space is limited to the first 100 participants to join the Zoom session.

Contact for Zoom link, and if you have any questions regarding this event.

Department of Sociology
Department of Sociology
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