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The Settler Complex: Recuperating Binarism in Colonial Studies

By Patrick Wolfe

The essays in this volume confront the assimilationist agendas in settler-colonial states around the world that seek to erase the distinct histories and current status of Indigenous peoples as sovereign peoples. In the introduction, editor Patrick Wolfe provocatively asks whether the repudiation of binarism by non-Native scholars constitutes a colonizing perspective. He argues that the historical divide between Natives and settlers remains foundational to settler societies. The fact that African slaves were forcibly transported to the Americas against their will, he explains, does not alter the structural fact that their presence was part of the process of Native dispossession.

Wolfe contrasts the acceptance in the United States of a Black/White binary to the controversy surrounding the assertion of a Native/settler binary, attributing the latter to a racial discourse that seeks to minimize Indian difference and assimilate it to Whiteness.

Questions of identity form part of the ongoing process of settler colonialism that seeks to eliminate the Native. In various ways, by no means unanimously, the articles in this collection address these and related issues.

Contributors include Lauren Jessica (LJ) Amsterdam, Tracey Banivanua Mar, Kevin Bruyneel, Glen Coulthard, Adria L. Imada, Beenash Jafri, K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Maya Mikdashi, Ilan Pappe, Dean Itsuji Saranillio, Manu Vimalassery, and Ken Whalen.

247 pp. 
$35 paper

10-digit ISBN: 0935626697
13-digit ISBN: 978-0935626698

Table of Contents (PDF)

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