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Tuesday, April 26, 2022 3:15pm to 4:30pm

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Every year the graduate students and faculty invite visit a number of speakers to the department to share some of their most recent work. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet scholars within and beyond our specific sub-fields. This month's speaker is Dylan Robinson from Queen's University.

Giving / Taking Notice

How do we sense structures of settler colonialism as they take material and intangible form across daily experience and the exceptional event? How, moreover, is our perception guided by settler colonial norms? Hungry listening—as one among many practices of settler colonial perception—is a set of extractive listening practices indexed by the term xwelítem (starving person) that xwélmexw (Stó:lō people) use to describe settlers. Yet hungry listening is just one way that positionality and perception intertwine to produce different modes of listening that are context-specific and non-generalizable. To develop an awareness of the various norms and habits of settler listening positionality requires that we learn to notice different moments of intersection. Noticing our noticing is not undertaken as a means to amass a comprehensive catalogue of settler perception’s “bad surprises” (Sedgwick). Instead, through the practice of attuning to positionality‘s emergence--its timbre, rhythm and tempi—we may find new possibilities for listening improvisation.

Professor Robinson is a Stó:lō scholar who holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University, located on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. His research has been supported by national and international fellowships at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, in the Canadian Studies Program at the University of California Berkeley, the Indigeneity in the Contemporary World project at Royal Holloway University of London, and a Banting Postdoctoral fellowship in the First Nations Studies Program at the University of British Columbia.

From 2010-2013 Dylan led the SSHRC-funded “Aesthetics of Reconciliation” project with Dr. Keavy Martin that examined the role that the arts and Indigenous cultural practices played in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the Indian Residential Schools. This research led to a second collaborative project, “Creative Conciliation”, supported by a SSHRC Insight grant, to explore new artistic models that move beyond what many Indigenous scholars have identified as reconciliation’s political limitations.

Dr. Robinson’s current research project documents the history of contemporary Indigenous public art across North America, and questions how Indigenous rights and settler colonialism are embodied and spatialized in public space. Funded by the Canada Research Chair program, this project involves working with Indigenous artists and scholars to collaboratively imagine new forms of public engagement and create new public works that speak to Indigenous experience. Dr. Robinson is also an avid Halq'eméylem language learner. Yú:wqwlha kws t'í:lemtel te sqwá:ltset!

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