Starlight and Indigenous Disappearance: Colonial Mappings of Tierra del Fuego

Monday, November 28, 2016 6:00PM - 8:00PM

A talk by Professor Macarena Gómex-Barris

Abstract: Cultural memory has been a central analytic in my work on modern state violence, militarization, and its persistent effects. In new work, The Extractive Zone I consider a longer arc of cultural memory by analyzing five regions of high biodiversity that overlap with indigenous territories, spaces of land and water defense, and militarized intensification, especially since the onslaught of neoliberal governance. In this talk, I build upon this work to consider geographies that do not cohere within national imaginaries, specifically analyzing the history of colonization, representation, and cultural memory within Tierra del Fuego. British colonization and Chilean imperialism overlap in spaces such as Isla Dawson, the site of genocidal violence against Fuegan indigenous peoples, and a prison that was later used as a concentration camp against “subversives” during the Pinochet regime. I examine images from the colonial archive to unsettle the presumed discreteness between modern and colonial violence, suggesting what we might learn from Ona histories of disappearance, security states, non-cohering archipelagos, and the histories of settler colonization in the Américas.

Macarena Gómez-Barris is Chairperson at Pratt Institute, Social Sciences and Cultural Studies. She is author of The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (Duke University Press,Fall 2016), Beyond the Pink Tide: Politics in the Américas (Duke University Press, Fall 2016) and Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009). She is also co-editor, with Herman Gray, of Towards a Sociology of a Trace (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Macarena teaches on social and cultural theory, comparative Indigeneity, decolonial theory, visualities, and Latin American cultural thought. She is also co-editor of Las Américas Quarterly a special issue of American Quarterly (November 2014) and Decolonial Gestures, E-mísférica (May 2014). Macarena was Fulbright Research Fellow and Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology and Gender at FLACSO-Quito, 2014-2015.