The workshop was convened by Professor David Chandler (CSD, University of Westminster) and postdoctoral researchers Marjo Lindroth and Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen (University of Lapland, Finland).
The overall aim of the workshop was to examine the ways in which political power is exercised relating to indigenous issues in today’s world. One of the elements that the workshop participants discussed was the ethos of progress regarding indigenous issues in international politics and the valorisation of indigenous subjectivity as persistent, adaptive and enduring.
The event started with a presentation by Marjo Lindroth and Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen. They talked about their previous joint work that had dealt with resilience, adaptation, indigeneity and knowledge in international politics. Lindroth and Sinevaara-Niskanen also introduced their new research project “'Indigeneity in Waiting: Elusive Rights and the Power of Hope”, which critically examines the development of the rights of indigenous peoples and includes the involvement of a number of international experts, including David Chandler from the University of Westminster, Julian Reid from the University of Lapland and Mitchelle Dean from Copenhagen Business School. Comments by the participants touched upon the benevolent guises and shape-shifting nature of colonialism, as well as the political potential entailed in the role of indigenous peoples as either victims or survivors.
In the roundtable discussion that followed, participants discussed indigeneity and politics from a variety of perspectives. The discussion ranged from the role of indigenous knowledge to the different forms that colonialism currently takes.
Mark Jackson (School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol) presented his work titled “Indigeneity and Commitment Beyond Postcolonial Critique”. The presentation generated a lively debate on what being critical means for scholars engaged in studies that deal with indigeneity and politics. David Chandler’s (University of Westminster) topic was "From ‘Indigenous Culture’ to ‘Indigenous Knowledge’”. His presentation touched upon the role of correlational and flexible indigenous knowledge in the times of the Anthropocene. He claimed that the limits of Western, causal knowledge have become clear.
Shela Sheikh’s (Goldsmiths, University of London) presentation was titled “Biocolonialism and the Paradoxes of Access to Knowledge”. It dealt with biopiracy, the problems of protecting indigenous knowledge and the concurrent slow violence that takes place. Finally, Adam Barker and Emma Battell Lowman (University of Leicester) presented their work, titled “Always in Relationship: Working with Indigenous communities and against settler colonialism”. They discussed the current state of settler-indigenous relations, their potential re-formulation and the need to de-colonise critique.
More information on the project ”Indigeneity in Waiting: Elusive Rights and the Power of Hope”.