Feb 20–21, 2015
World of Matter: Extractive Ecologies and Unceded Terrains

9:00 – 18:00

EV 7.735
Concordia University
1515 Ste Catherine St. W.

A two-day symposium, held in conjunction with the opening of the exhibit World of Matter: Exposing Resource Ecologies, at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, 1455 de Maisonneuve West.

The world of matter has been forcefully sculpted in the last several centuries by the twin projects of colonialism and capitalism. The very movement of human activity under modernity has rested on the formation of a standing reserve of nature, a category whose flexibility has variously expanded and contracted to include both humans and non-human others as targets for exploitation and extractive energy. Carbon industries, forestry, mining, agri-business, construction, mega-farming and fishing participate in worlding the world as mere matter, asserting deep and unforgiving property rights in dispersed territories around the globe. Nevertheless, at each point in this cartography of extraction one finds committed points of resistance and unceded terrains, both material and symbolic. This symposium asks how the fields of contemporary art and media studies, indigenous studies and resistance movements, critical environmental studies, new ethnography and science and technology studies might bring into focus the globalizing dynamics of extractive ecologies. It seeks to build substantive discursive grounds for resisting incursions into sovereign land, denials of the rights of nature, and the persistent dispossession of indigenous and First Nation peoples. It asks, What unceded terrains precede and interrupt the excavatory depths of imperial ecologies? What interventions ensure the defense of land, labour, survival and species diversity in the globalized present?



Keynote lectures:

Dr. Darin Barney (McGill University), This Handful of Earth: The Prairie as Standing-Reserve

Dr. Audra Simpson (Columbia University), Reconciliation and its Discontents




Scott Morgensen, Helge Mooshammer & Peter Mörtenböck, Nicholas Brown



Imre Szeman, Brenda Longfellow



Heather Davis, Adam Dickinson, Gisèle Trudel



Eduardo Kohn, Ursula Biemann



Amanda Boetzkes, Lonnie van Brummelen, Peter von Tiesenhausen



Rafico Ruiz, Nicole Starosielski, Alain Deneault



Mabe Bethônico, Zoe Todd, Shirley Roburn

Co-organized by Krista Geneviève Lynes (Concordia University) & Darin Barney (McGill University)


This symposium was made possible with generous support from the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Canada Research Chair in Feminist Media Studies, the Canada Research Chair in Technology & Citizenship, Concordia University, the Feminist Media Studio, the Fonds de recherche société et culture du Québec (FRQSC), the Hexagram International Network for Research-Creation in Media Arts, Design, Technology and Digital Culture, Media@McGill, Pro Helvetia, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

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