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2.3.2: Contesting Development: Decolonization and Resistance
Wednesday, 18/May/2022:
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Chair(s): Valérie Charest, uOttawa; Emmanuel Tamufor, Guelph

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Decolonial Co-Resistance as Indigenous Methodology: Deepening Resistance & Decolonizing the “Co-“

Jess Notwell

University of Guelph, Canada

Palestinian women “frontliners” (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2009) deploy diverse strategies to protect their communities from settler colonial violence, build decolonial futures, and create a “liveable life” (Tabar & Desai, 2017; Hammami, 2016). The methodology developed through place-based co-resistance aimed at “creating doorways out of settler colonialism” (Simpson, 2016: 27) during visits to families of prisoners and martyrs, the Freedom and Dignity Hunger Strike, defending Al-Aqsa Mosque in July 2017, and land defense protests. Decolonial Co-Resistance developed iteratively as I did research with Palestinian women and learned from their praxis of decolonial love (Simpson, 2013; Sandoval, 2000), hope, connection and co-liberation. While my methodology is grounded in ancestral knowledge and Cree and Anishinaabe teachings, my research is with women Indigenous to Palestine. This paper explores Decolonial Co-Resistance through critical questions that have pushed me to reflect on the “co-“ in co-resistance. What are the implications of applying Indigenous Methodologies outside of our communities and cultures? How has being a white-passing Indigenous person with a Canadian passport impacted and limited the “co-“? What are the contours of this “constellation” of co-resistance? What are the tensions between Decolonial Co-Resistance as a research methodology and as miyo-pimatisiwin for liberation? This paper concludes by explaining Decolonial Co-Resistance as an ongoing praxis of decolonial love from Turtle Island to Palestine.

Extractivism and Pandemic Conflict in the Amazon: Indigenous Activism and Territorial Defense

Ana Watson, Conny Davidsen

Environmental Policy and Governance Group, Department of Geography, University of Calgary

Amazonia was among the most dramatically affected by COVID-19 in Peru. In 2020, the crisis exposed the state’s rationalities over the Amazon Forest and failure to protect the people steward the resources for generations. Typically described as a remote extractive frontier to support extractive developmentalist projects, indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon lack of access to health services. Despite one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, Peru quickly approved its Amazon resource extraction to continue, clearly prioritizing national revenues over increased risks for already vulnerable communities.

Drawing on theoretical perspectives of governmentality and indigenous self-determination, this paper examines territorial counteraction as an indigenous response to the national state. The analysis focus on the case of Camisea, Peru’s emblematic and important gas extraction project in the Amazon. Local communities have a long history of negotiation with hydrocarbon companies, international finance institutions and the national state demanding better environmental standards and access to the benefits. They had successfully fought for its own formal subnational administrative jurisdiction in 2016, named Megantoni district. This paper examines the pandemic as a catalyst moment that led to territorial counteraction as an indigenous defense against the national state. The study advances in the understanding of the diversity of indigenous activism in times of crisis vis-a-vis hierarchical relationships of the state and related subjectivities.

Contesting Neoliberal Development: Special Economic Zone, Land Dispossession, and Adivasi Resistance

M. Omar Faruque

Queen's University, Canada

This paper analyzes a recent case of Adivasi resistance against land dispossession in northwest Bangladesh. Since 2014, several Adivasi communities have been demanding the return of their farmland, which was acquired in 1954 by the then East Pakistani government (now Bangladesh) to build a sugar mill. The land transfer agreement between the government and the mill authority guaranteed that the land would be returned to its owners if no longer necessary for the sugar mill. Although the Bangladeshi government closed the mill in 2004, the landowners’ demands remained unfulfilled. Instead, the government identified the land as ‘unused and abandoned’ and decided to establish a special economic zone on that land. Although the Adivasis occupied a part of the land and built temporary huts to realize the demands of their movement, they were violently removed from the area. Scholarship on land wars in South Asia and elsewhere emphasizes various socio-economic, political, and cultural factors contributing to the grievances of affected communities. Building on these insights, this paper will focus on the marginalization of Adivasi communities and the role of the postcolonial state in sustaining a socio-political context, which perpetuates social injustice and discrimination. Based on empirical evidence derived from secondary sources and in-depth interviews with Adivasi activists and their supporters among urban-based civil society actors, this paper suggests that the anti-dispossession movement contesting capitalist industrial development is a reaction to the state’s disinclination to eliminate marginalization and social injustice, which characterize the everyday lived experience of Adivasi communities in Bangladesh.

Development and Human Insecurity: The Case of Jamaica’s Tourism Sector

Tka Pinnock

York University, Canada

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-2020, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism stated that opening the borders was a matter of “economic life or death” (Silvera, 2020). Almost a year earlier, when the country declared a State of Emergency (SoE) that would last almost 12-months ending just before the start of COVID-19, the Minister publicly framed the SoE as a means of “securing the integrity of the destination” (Jamaica Information Service, 2019) in pursuit of his Ministry’s growth strategy. Working from a feminist political economy tradition, I draw on the theoretical concepts of disciplinary neoliberalism (Bakker and Gill, 2003) and necropolitics (Mbembe, 2019; 2003) to grapple with the ways in which the Jamaican state, in pursuit of its economic survival, renders certain subjectivities and spaces disposable. Through a textual analysis of a variety of secondary sources including government press releases, newspaper articles, and other public documents, this paper makes the case that state interests – while working to secure economic development that ostensibly benefits the general population – generates and is rooted in distinct insecurities for marginalized communities. Tying the paper into the broader literature on human insecurity, the paper concludes with thoughts on the ways in which contemporary economic development processes creates a matrix of human in/security that is enabled by the instrumentalization of human bodies and subjectivities.

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