Borders of Kinship: Species/Race/Indigeneity

Thursday, May 23, 2013
Communications 120

Bringing the Land to the Fight: Biotechnology and Hawaiian Ontology
Noenoe Silva (Political Science, University of Hawai’i, Manoa) and Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller (Social Sciences, Public Policy Center, University of Hawai’i, Manoa) examine current political struggles of native Hawaiians over the increasing presence of biotechnology corporations in Hawai’i. Biotechnology depends upon conditions that facilitate genetically modified organism (GMO) research and profit from ever-increasing production of genetically modified organisms. Legal regimes of property recognize new organisms that can be controlled, sold, and exploited; analogously, multiculturalist policies recreate identity through denial of indigeneity, refusing land claims by indigenous people that would interfere with biotechnology industries. This impacts Hawaiians’ ability to survive on the land and to (re)create a Hawaiian world, which would include native species, many of them kino lau or native deities. We consider Hawaiian ideas of kalo, for example, as kin and sacred anc!  estor, and other plants, animals, and natural elements as kino lau or body forms of deities, as crucial elements in the struggle against further colonization and towards a resurgence of native lifeways.

Indigenous Approaches to Critical Animal Studies and the New Materialisms?
Kimberly Tallbear (Environmental Sciences, University of California, Berkeley) highlights what indigenous thought has to offer academic theorizing as new critical fields work to dismantle hierarchies in the relationships of “westerners” with their non-human others. For example, “multi-species ethnography” now studies humans and their relations with nonhuman-beings such as dogs, bears, cattle, monkeys, bees, mushrooms, and microorganisms. But the starting points of these inquiries can only partially contain indigenous standpoints. Indigenous peoples never forgot that nonhumans are agential beings engaged in social relations that profoundly shape human lives. Moreover, their non-human others may not even be understood as living. “Objects” and “forces” such as stones, thunder, or stars are known within our ontologies to be sentient and knowing persons. Indigenous approaches also critique settler colonialism and its management of non-human others, linking violenc!  e against animals to violence against particular humans historically accorded less-than-human or animal status.

Presented as part of B/ordering Violence: Boundaries, Gender, Indigeneity in the Americas, a John E. Sawyer Seminar in Comparative Cultures generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the Latin American & Caribbean Studies program, the Jackson School of International Studies, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, & Sexuality (WISER).
For more on the B/ordering Violence Seminar Series, visit and

Symposium: Empires of Capital: Race Across the Atlantic and the Pacific, May 17-18

May 17 and 18, 2013
University of Washington, Seattle

The two-day symposium seeks to theorize and historicize racial capitalism in the modern world. Building on Cedric Robinson’s insight that capitalist development has been pursued and organized fundamentally around race, speakers will strive to uncover the multiple layers of capitalist expansion—ideological, cultural, economic, and social—to reveal and comprehend the tensions and contradictions of racial capitalism in the past and in the present and across the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Friday, May 17
Petersen Room, Allen Library
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Opening Roundtable
Lisa Lowe, Tufts University, “Sugar, Tea, Opium, Coolies: The Intimacies of Four Continents”
Commentators: Moon-Ho Jung, Chandan Reddy, Stephanie Smallwood, and Alys Weinbaum (Conference Organizers)

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.          Session 1
Jennifer Morgan, New York University, “Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Slave Law and the History of Women in Slavery”
Michael Witgen, University of Michigan, “Seeing Red: The Politics of Crime and Punishment on the Northern Borderlands of the Early American Republic”

Saturday, May 18
Husky Union Building, Room 334
10:30 a.m. – Noon      Session 2
Shelley Streeby, University of California, San Diego, “Hubert H. Harrison’s Scrapbooks, Racial Capitalism, and the Black Radical Tradition”
Manu Vimalassery, Texas Tech University, “Native and Black Visions of Self-Determination”

Noon – 1:30 p.m. Lunch Break*

1:30 – 3:30 p.m.          Session 3
Peter James Hudson, Vanderbilt University, “Black Sovereignty and Racial Capitalism: The National City Bank in Haiti and Liberia, 1910-1935”
Jodi Kim, University of California, Riverside, “Debt Imperialism, Settler Modernity, and the Necropolitics of the Promise”
Andrew Friedman, Haverford College, “Meridians and Parallels: Racial Formations on the Global Grid”

3:45 – 4:15 p.m.          Closing Reflections

The symposium is free and open to the public.

*If you will be joining us for a light lunch on Saturday, please RSVP to or 206-543-8656 by Tuesday, May 14.

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, the University of Washington Libraries, the Department of History, the Department of English, the Jackson School of International Studies, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities.