SAAP Annual Meeting 2013

Papers Proceedings »

Genocide and Agency

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Scott Pratt
University of Oregon
United States

Abstract:
This paper starts from Fanon’s claim that colonial society—settler society—is framed by a particular logical system. In America, this logic has gone mostly underground, obscured by genocidal policies and practices until today when most white Americans believe that the experience of native peoples in North America was the inevitable consequence of disease susceptibility and an inability to cope with modern ways of life. What has obscured both settler logic and the history of genocide has been a conception of agency devised as part of the process of destroying native peoples that came to frame the notion of agency for settler society as well. The first part of the paper shows the emergence of this conception of agency. The second part reviews settler logic and the third part traces the development of the emergent conception of agency in relation to American Indian policies and practices.

 

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