Past Event

Kim TallBear - Molecular Death, Desire, and Redface Reincarnation: Indigenous Appropriateness in the USA and Canada

February 19, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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Schermerhorn Extension (Room 754), Columbia University, 1200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York

Event Description:

The Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture Project, co-sponsored by Precision Medicine & Society and the Center for the Study of Social Difference, welcomes Dr. Kim Tallbear to give a talk on "Molecular Death, Desire, and Redface Reincarnation: Indigenous Appropriations in the USA and Canada."

This talk traces discourses of indigenous life, death, and vanishing as they unfold in genome science and other cultural fields in which indigeneity is consumed for the benefit of settler-colonial society. Definitions of indigeneity and who is able to claim it are co-constituted with settler claims to biological and cultural patrimony. For half a millenia colonial powers have claimed ownership and control of land and "natural resources." Academic disciplines developed in ways that support such claims. More recently, settler-colonial claims of ownership extend to indigenous peoples' DNA, symbols, and representations. This talk attends to dominant definitions and representations of indigineity that privilege individual human ancestry, history, and agency over indigenous collectivity co-constituted with other-than-human relations in place. Settler definitions of indigeniety override in the popular imagination of Indigenous Peoples' own definitions of peoplehood, thereby assisting the settler state in appropriating indigeneity within the national body, a final ultimate claim of ownership. 

Event Speaker:

Kim TallBear, Associate Professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta

Event Description:

The event is open to the public and co-sponsored by Columbia University's Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality (IRWGS); Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER); the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities. The talk will be followed by a small reception.

The Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture Project is co-directed by Rachel Adams, PhD, Professor of English; and Maya Sabatello, LLB, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Bioethics. For more information on this project, please visit