UConn Political Theory Workshop: Sandy Grande

Indigenous Refusals of Settler-Capitalist Notions of Precarity and Aging: The Struggle for Indigenous Elsewheres

Sandy GrandeSandy Grande
Connecticut College


Location: Babbidge Library, 4th Floor, Room 4/209
Time:  4-5:30pm

The notion of precarity has emerged as a way of describing the effects of neoliberal policy on the human condition. Though the impact is broad, the precarity instigated by the settler project has been enacted and extracted upon the bodies of the marginalized, and within such communities, the most vulnerable: the sick, the young, the elderly. This paper examines the privatization and commodification of the body as one of the greatest affronts to sovereignty, compelling not only materialist analyses but also those that account for the immaterial – the soul, the sacred. The author begins with an examination of how issues related to end of life care and the question of whether to “live or let die” are constructed through (neo)liberal discourses of personal choice as conditioned by “culture.” Next, it is argued that such discourses serve to obfuscate the a priori role of the capitalist state where the frail and aged can only be viewed as a “crisis” of decreased labor power and increased expenditure; an amortization that has only worsened under neoliberalism. Thus, the aim of the paper is to present Indigenous discourses that situate the problematic of living/being beyond the scope of imperial interest and that are defined by mutuality.

Sandy Grande (Quechua) is a Professor of Education as well as the Director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) at Connecticut College. Her research interfaces critical Indigenous theories with the concerns of education. Her highly acclaimed book, Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought was recently published in a 10th anniversary edition (2015). She has published in The Journal of Settler Colonial Studies,The Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy,Harvard Educational Review; she also contributed a chapter to Robert Lake and Tricia Kress’ Paulo Freire’s Intellectual Roots (Bloomsbury 2013). In addition to her scholarly work she has provided eldercare for her parents and remains the primary caretaker for her 88 yr. old father.

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