Spatial Resistance and Repression

Authors: Nadia Abu-Zahra*, University of Ottawa
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Political Geography, Human Rights
Keywords: mobility, movement restriction, Indigenous, colonial
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Studio 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A major consequence of the world’s denial of Indigenous nationhood is that restrictive measures are put in place that would be unthinkable for “citizens”: the pass system in Turtle Island/North America, the pass system in South Africa, the pass system in Palestine/Israel. These pass systems operate to brand people and place them in a hierarchy of blacklisting. They enable coercion, of the kind even weapons and force can sometimes not evoke. They restrict movement, blocking access to vital and essential services and life choices — like who to marry, where to study, and where to live and work. They play a role in colonial land exploitation, inducing people to leave, to be replaced by settler colonialists. But perhaps least studied of all, spatial restrictive measures are a form of repression reserved for the most influential and powerful acts of resistance. Beyond but including imprisonment, spatial repression (and the spatial resistance that precedes and follows it) is an understudied aspect of settler colonialism that can often be overlooked in other forms of analysis, such as legal analysis, historical analysis, (auto)ethnography, and analyses that concentrate on land and resources.

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