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Visual Sovereignty: Indigenous Studies for Artists

August 21, 2021 - September 11, 2021

Saturday August 21, Sept 4, Sept 11 noon-2pm (note, schedule has shifted)

Join us for a series of virtual seminars on Indigenous Studies as a paradigm for decolonial/anti-colonial art practices. This seminar will survey different threads of Indigenous Studies as a political, educational, and aesthetic movement. By engaging Michelle Raheja’s  “Visual Sovereignty” as a praxis, we will emphasize the need for trans-Indigenous worldmaking that deploys individual and community assertions of what representation means in art and literature. The works in this seminar also embody what Maile Arvin calls “regenerative refusal” in which Indigenous peoples voice dissent from colonial hierarchies of being and relating to the world and enable transformed and liberatory futures. “Refusal” emphasizes the need for Native understandings of tradition, relationality, and alternative worlds and hierarchies of being that are opposite vis-à-vis western epistemologies that stems from histories of colonialism to modern day neocolonialism, the military-industrial complex, neoliberalism, and late-stage capitalism. 

Register here for the seminar: we will send people who sign up a syllabus, information on the zoom seminar, and access to the readings.

The readings are organized in an archipelagic way, connecting Native American thought with Indigenous theory of Oceania in the Pacific, with that in the Caribbean, and networks of Indigenous coalitions of resistance across the globe. By connecting the broad field of Indigenous Studies through what Audra Simpson calls “nested sovereignties” our readings will consist of varied perspectives of Native peoples and critiques of inherent paradigms of colonial power asymmetries. Categorizing these readings through an archipelagic standpoint connects these divergent narratives, positions, times, and spaces. As Manulani Meyer states:

Indigenous epistemology [is] a wide-open field of knowledge production and exchange with priorities in practice, relevance, context, consciousness, and shared common sense. It is knowledge through experience, individual or collective, and a way of being via site-specific familiarity through years, generations, and life-times. In this way patterns emerge collapsing time into space and all unknowns into mystery and story.

By putting together in conversation these formative readings in the wide-ranging field of Indigenous studies, our focus will be concerned with critical Indigenous pedagogies that center cultural reclamation against the violences of the settler state.

This seminar will be led by Nicole Ku’uleinapuananiolikoawapuhimelemeleolani Furtado. She is a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside. Nicole is of Kanaka Maoli heritage and is from Nanakuli, Hawaii. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and her M.A. in English at UC Riverside. Her current research interests are in Speculative Fiction, Indigenous Studies, Digital Art, Disability Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and Decolonial Futurities.

This seminar is partially supported by UC Riverside. Flyer image: Sofia Kaleomalie Furtado.


August 21, 2021
September 11, 2021
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