Decolonizing Palestine Solidarity Politics & the Commitment toRelationality

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Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations CPC: Decolonizing Palestine Solidarity Politics and the Commitment to Relationality

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This webinar is the third in the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration's 2021 Critical Public Conversations series: Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations.

This talk is drawn from book in-progress,“Indigenous Implications: Decolonizing Palestine Solidarity Politics,” which explores U.S.-based solidarity activism in relation to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel – and the ethics of challenging one settler colonial state while positioned in another. While many in the movement rightly criticize U.S. imperialism, fewer challenge U.S. settler colonialism. Thus, the work argues for a more ethically consistent approach for activists engaged in solidarity campaigns while based on Indigenous lands claimed by the United States – extending the work of anti-normalization “at home.” Given the limits of both occupation and apartheid as legal and analytical frameworks, one can see that settler colonialism is a more precise model for understanding and reckoning with Israel’s domination of historic Palestine and the Palestinian people, given that land expropriation is the centerpiece of the Zionist political project. The implications of the settler colonial frame, then, necessitates challenging activist discourses of exceptionalism regarding the Israel-Palestine case. The foundations that have forged the nation-states of the U.S. and Israel are not merely analogous, they are shaped from many of the same material and symbolic forces. By triangulating the relations between and amongst U.S. settlers, Palestinians, and Indigenous people(s), the presentation pushes on the frameworks of solidarity, advocating for a politics of decolonization that challenges the (re)production of the structural integrity of both settler colonial states.


J. Kēhaulani Kauanui is Professor of American Studies and affiliate faculty in Anthropology at Wesleyan University, where she teaches courses on indigenous studies, critical race studies, settler colonial studies, and anarchist studies. She is the author of Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press 2008) and Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism (Duke University Press 2018). She is also the editor of Speaking of Indigenous Politics: Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and Tribal Leaders (University of Minnesota Press 2018). Kauanui is one of the six co-founders of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), established in 2008.


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Photo by Ahmed Abu Hameeda on Unsplash

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