Massy Reads: On Interrogating the Colonial Frame
A Public Humanities Hub Conversation with UBC Authors Hannah Turner (School of Information) and David Gaertner (Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies)
A book launch series co-hosted by UBC Public Humanities and Massy Arts Society. Co-sponsored with UBC Press.
Books can be purchased through Massy Books. This event is free and open to the public.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
7:00 – 8:15 pm Pacific Time
Online via Zoom
Dr. Hannah Turner
Assistant Professor, School of Information
Dr. David Gaertner
Assistant Professor, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies
Dr. Daniel Heath Justice
Professor, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies
Books & Bios
Cataloguing Culture: Legacies of Colonialism in Museum Documentation
By Hannah Turner
How does material culture become data? Why does this matter, and for whom? As the cultures of Indigenous peoples in North America were mined for scientific knowledge, years of organizing, classifying, and cataloguing hardened into accepted categories, naming conventions, and tribal affiliations – much of it wrong.
Cataloguing Culture examines how colonialism operates in museum bureaucracies. Using the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as her reference, Hannah Turner organizes her study by the technologies framing museum work over 200 years: field records, the ledger, the card catalogue, the punch card, and eventually the database. She examines how categories were applied to ethnographic material culture and became routine throughout federal collecting institutions.
As Indigenous communities encounter the documentary traces of imperialism while attempting to reclaim what is theirs, this timely work shines a light on access to and return of cultural heritage.
Museum practitioners, historians, anthropologists, and media scholars will find the practices and assumptions of their fields revealed in this indispensable work.
Hannah Turner is an information and museum studies scholar, and is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at the University of British Columbia. She has published in journals such as Museum Anthropology, Knowledge Organization, and Cataloging and Classification Quarterly. From 2018 to 2019, she was a lecturer in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester.
The Theatre of Regret: Literature, Art, and the Politics of Reconciliation in Canada
By David Gaertner
The Canadian public largely understands reconciliation as the harmonization of Indigenous–settler relations for the benefit of the nation. But is this really happening? Reconciliation politics, as developed in South America and South Africa, work counter to retributive justice. The Theatre of Regret asks whether – within the contexts of settler colonialism – the approach to reconciliation will ultimately favour the state over the needs and requirements of Indigenous peoples.
Interweaving literature, art, and other creative media throughout his analysis, David Gaertner questions the state-centred frameworks of reconciliation by exploring the critical roles that Indigenous and allied authors play in defining, challenging, and refusing settler regret. In 2007, Canada became the first liberal democracy to formally implement a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process, a prominent element of global intrastate politics in the 1990s. Through close examination of core concepts in reconciliation theory – acknowledgement, apology, redress, and forgiveness – Gaertner unpacks reconciliation within the contexts of Canadian settler colonialism and the international history of the TRC. In so doing, he exposes the deeply embedded colonial ideologies that often define reconciliation in settler colonial states.
The Theatre of Regret redirects current debates about reconciliation and provides a roadmap for the deconstruction of state-centred discourses of regret.
Scholars and students of Indigenous studies, cultural studies, Canadian studies, literature, law, and political science will find this book challenging and necessary, as will thoughtful Canadian readers.
David Gaertner is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Critical Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia. His articles have appeared in Canadian Literature, American Indian Cultural and Research Journal, and Bioethical Inquiry, among other publications. He is the editor of Sôhkêyihta: The Poetry of Sky Dancer Louise Bernice Halfe and Read, Listen, Tell: Indigenous Stories from Turtle Island (with Sophie McCall, Deanna Reder, and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill).
Daniel Heath Justice is a Colorado-born Canadian citizen of the Cherokee Nation/ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture at UBC on unceded Musqueam territory. His most recent book is Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, a literary manifesto about the way Indigenous writing works in the world. He is the author of Our Fire Survives the Storm: A Cherokee Literary History and numerous essays and reviews in the field of Indigenous literary studies, and he is co-editor of a number of critical and creative anthologies and journals, including the award-winning The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature (with James H. Cox) and Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature (with Qwo-Li Driskill, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti).