Mapping Extractivism

Authors: Merle Davis Matthews*, University of Minnesota
Topics: Canada, Cultural and Political Ecology, Resources
Keywords: mining, university, resource extraction, science and technology studies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The university can be understood as settler colonial in multiple ways. Often conversations about decolonization in the university focus on thought (Tuck and Yang 2012) but the university can be productively understood as materially settler colonial (La Paperson 2017). As a settler researcher invested in Indigenous futurity there are important tensions to explore around my own involvement in the university. My focus on resource extraction opens up space for reflection on how my own work can be extractive. This paper engages with a video shown in the Royal Ontario Museum produced by Barrick Gold that tells a story about the journey of gold from mine to market place. Reading this video as a colonial archive (McKittrick 2014), allows me to explore hegemonic discourses of extraction and their silences. By focusing on this video I follow Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang’s (2014) suggestion to shift the researching gaze away from the pain of the colonized and toward those who cause and benefit from this pain, including some of us in the academy. In considering this question in a way that refuses extractive research I story board a response to the video, thinking through questions of potential and power, intervention and exhaustion, audience and legibility and the politics of storytelling. Through a focus on York University the university more broadly is highlighted as a central node of extraction.

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