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Monday, February 21, 2011

CASCA 2011 panel: call for abstracts - Post/Colonial (Re)Constructions of Indigenous parenthood and family life

CASCA 2011 Panel Proposal:
Post/Colonial (Re)Constructions of Indigenous parenthood and family life

We are still seeking one additional paper for this panel. Please send
abstracts by email to not later than 5pm (EST)
on Wednesday February 23rd. We will aim to respond within twenty-four

Proposed Panel:
Many colonial regimes around the world and through history have been
centrally concerned with Indigenous family relations, parenting practices
and children. The latter have constituted social sites for the
legitimization of colonization, through discourses which construct
colonized peoples as morally inferior and justify interventions by the
colonial state, religious authorities and/or settler society into
Indigenous family life. Anthropologists and other scholars are belatedly
analysing what Indigenous people have been arguing for several decades:
how colonial regimes, in Canada and many other parts of the world, have
practiced the coerced acculturation of colonized children as a central
technique of colonial governance, removing Indigenous children from their
families and communities and placing them in boarding schools, orphanages,
children's homes and settler families. Comparable practices continue to
the present day through child welfare systems in settler states including
Canada, the United States and Australia. The striking historical
endurance of practices of 'rescuing' Indigenous children, across different
settler colonies and over periods of profound political and social change,
should prompt us to analyse how legitimizing discourses shift over time,
in concert with dominant professional, institutional and other interests
and changing moral economies.

Historically and in the present, Indigenous people have disrupted dominant
accounts and assumptions about the legitimacy of state-authorised
professionals' interventions into Indigenous family life. Such challenges
have coalesced in organized political protests, legal actions and
Indigenous initiatives to develop child welfare, parent support and early
childhood education services which are accountable to Indigenous
communities and incorporate Indigenous knowledge and languages. Such
initiatives involve processes of institution-building and
professionalization, often in the context of colonial continuities in
relations between settler states and Indigenous peoples, creating new
sites for the (re)constructions of Indigenous family relations and
contestations of parenting practices.

This panel seeks to promote scholarly dialogue on these issues via a
series of papers which analyse dominant and resistant, historical and
emergent discourses and practices on Indigenous parenting, child welfare
and family relations across time and in geographically varied
post/colonial settings. Analyses might draw on ethnographic and/or
historical (archival, oral history, literary, photographic, other)
sources, and focus on policies, professions, institutions,
social/political movements, and/or any other relevant site. All
submissions engaging with the above themes are welcome. We are
particularly interested in those which:
• analyse the social complexity of colonial relations with due attention
to Indigenous people as social and political actors, rather than focusing
more narrowly on dominant/ settler discourses
• draw on ethnographies/sources from outside of Canada (two of our
existing papers are Canadian-based).

Panel organizers: Krista Maxwell (Department of Social Science, University
of Toronto Scarborough Campus) and Susanne Miskimmin (Department of
Anthropology, University of Toronto).

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