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Why Is Sex a “Thing”? Making Relations against a Colonial World | Meredith Miller Memorial Lecture

Kim TallBear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate), University of Alberta

Mon, 4/1 · 5:00 pm7:30 pm · 100 Robertson Hall

Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies

Settler-colonial states like Canada and the US have forged their societies and governance systems with theories of what is natural, and have centered specific property regimes while doing so. Concepts of nature and property have been at the heart of violence toward first peoples of the Americas, peoples of African descent, women, children, the differently abled, and queer people. What is deemed to be natural and who gets to define and manage “nature” have kept straight, white, property-owning men on top. Nature and property are also key to settler-colonial society’s ideas and regulation of sex. In this talk, Dr. Kim TallBear explains how the very notion of “sexuality” (like “nature”) makes networks of relations into controllable objects. She draws on Critical Indigenous and sexuality studies frameworks to offer alternatives to making intimate relations into “things” to be managed and controlled. This is a sex-positive talk that also paradoxically works to de-center “sex” as one manifestation of “nature.”

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