Bring a lunch and join us for the Faculty Seminar Series featuring Susan Gray and Sybil Durand! Scholars participating in this series are investigating under the theme “Empire, the Postcolonial and the Decolonial.”

Scholars across humanities disciplines analyze, critique and theorize imperial, colonial and neo-imperial practices and their effects across the globe. Postcolonial theory and theories of settler-colonialism, in particular, have reshaped understandings not just of lived histories under empire, but power itself; and humanities methods have been essential to elucidating western colonial practices and developing strategies that actively decolonize knowledge making, social engagement and political action — effectively denaturalizing colonial practices.

Humanities researchers have also pointed to and worked to reimagine the ways colonial pasts and presents structure not just political and ideological systems of nationhood, but intersectional structures of race, class and gender, the subaltern, linguistic practices, economic forces, the environment, and the patterns of exploitation, cooptation and collaboration that make up our global present.

This event is a brown bag. All food brought in must be peanut-free.


Susan Gray, "Use-Rights, Resource Management and Sovereignty in Anishinaabewaki"

In this talk, Susan Gray will address recent developments in the legal, environmental and cultural history of the Great Lakes borderlands from the perspective of Anishinaabewaki — the homeland of the Anishinaabeg or Three Fires of Ojibwe (Chippewa), Odawa (Ottawa) and Boodewaadmig (Potawatomi).

For centuries, these peoples have occupied a vast area extending across the Great Lakes, bounded by Haudenaunee (Iroquois) territory in the east and Dakota territory in the west, and bisected after the War of 1812 by the international border between Canada and the United States. On both sides of the border, the history of the Anishinaabeg in the 19th and 20th centuries was marked by political subjugation and territorial dispossession.

Anishinaabewaki did not, however, disappear, but was reterritorialized as Anishinaabeg crossed and recrossed the border as wage workers, missionaries and lecturers. Beginning in the late twentieth century, this reterritorialization led to renewed struggles for sovereignty, including land claims, litigated demands for use-rights guaranteed by treaty, and efforts to work with state and provincial governments, as well as transborder entities, to manage environmental resources. These efforts have turned not only on the issue of Indigenous legal rights to such resources, but on Indigenous cultural authority based on traditional use and knowledge.

Drawing in part upon her own experience in a recent Michigan treaty-rights case, this talk will provide a comparative, bi-national perspective on these recent struggles for sovereignty.

Sybil Durand, "Rethinking Youth Identities in a Global Context: Postcolonialism, Intersectionality and Young Adult Literature"

An estimated twenty percent of young people in the U.S. have immigrant parents and likely grow up in households with diverse social, cultural and linguistic traditions. This increasing segment of the population is also widely diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and language, among other social identities.

Young adult texts such as "American Born Chinese" (Yang, 2006), "Does My Head Look Big in This?" (Abdel-Fattah, 2005), and "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets to the Universe" (Sáenz, 2012) offer opportunities to uncover the local and global discourses that shape immigrant youth identities.

This presentation draws on intersectional and postcolonial theories to examine how these texts represent immigrant youth identities and the ways in which they challenge or re-imagine individual, community and institutional constructs of these identities.

About the speakers

Susan Gray is an associate professor of history in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. Professor Gray's research interests are focused on the Great Lakes Basin and more generally on the U.S.-Canadian borderlands. Her work deals with the interplay of place, race and gender, and the role of memory in the construction of identity.

Sybil Durand is an assistant professor of English education in the Department of English. Her scholarship is grounded in post-colonial and curriculum theories, which situate literature and education at the intersections of sociocultural, historical, political and national contexts. Her research focuses on representations of youth of color in young adult literature including multicultural, international and postcolonial young adult texts, and how teachers and students engage such narratives. Her current study examines how middle school students engage young adult literature in the context of a Youth Participatory Action Research after school program.

Location and parking

This informal talk will take place in the IHR's office in Ross-Blakley Hall at ASU's Tempe campus. The closest parking options are the visitor parking in Lot 44 and the Rural Road parking structure.

Ross Blakley Hall, room 196

Event Map: 

For More Information Contact:

Leah Newsom
Institute for Humanities Research