“Settler Common Sense” A lecture by Mark Rifkin


Arts Building West 215, 853 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 0G5, CA

The McGill University Department of English presents “Settler Common Sense” A lecture by Mark Rifkin

Associate Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies
University of North Carolina, Greensboro  

How do varied administrative projects of settler colonialism and accompanying legal categories, geographies, and subjectivities come to serve as the background for ordinary non-native perception?  Conceptions of property and personhood that emerge out of ongoing histories of settler-Indigenous confrontation, negotiation, and struggle help shape non-natives' lived sensations, including the routine experience of place.  This talk addresses such feelings and explores the ways settlement is woven through everyday life, illustrating these dynamics through an engagement with Henry David Thoreau's Walden (1854).

Mark Rifkin is the author of Manifesting America: The Imperial Construction of U.S. National Space (Oxford UP, 2009); When Did Indians Become Straight?: Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty (Oxford UP, 2011)—which won the 2012 John Hope Franklin prize for best book in American Studies—and The Erotics of Sovereignty: Queer Native Writing in the Era of Self-Determination (U Minn Press, 2012). His latest book, Settler Common Sense: Queerness and Everyday Colonialism in the American Renaissance, is forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press in 2014. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (IGSF), and is made possible by a grant from the Beatty Memorial Lectures Committee.