Shaista Aziz Patel


Shaista Aziz Patel is a PhD candidate at OISE/University of Toronto. Her scholarly and other political work is focused on engaging with colonial and racial violence(s), as well as on examining the place of people of color (South Asians in particular) in North America. “


The “Indianness” of the “Indian Queen”: Reading for the History of the Present

The “Indian Queen” has been a consistently popular figure in entertainment and advertisements from 17th – 19th century in Europe and North America.  The racial fluidity through which the Queen and her attendants are consolidated in the 18th century caught my attention.  The analysis which began with thinking about a white actress “playing Indian” (Deloria, 1999) could not account for the varying racial compositiona of the Queen, or hold onto the materiality of violence(s) which explicate the possibility of ‘her’ wide circulation. Arguing for the urgent need to read more than (and not simply beyond) the binaries of settler/native and white/black which dominate our “1492 episteme” (Wynter, 1995), I suggest a critical reading of this figure by situating ‘her’ in racial, colonial, anti-Black, anti-Muslim, and imperialist logics of white supremacy.  Through doing so, I also present some initial thoughts on bringing together what might appear to be discontinuous and “unlikely archives” (Lowe, 2015) in order to think about the ways in which tracing the absences which our reading of history has produced, and the ways in which these silences become self-sustaining hard boundaries carving up academic labor into fields and the intricate connections into unrelated archives can be examined. Treating cultural production as an important site for animation of racial, colonial and imperial histories can also help us to understand the past not simply as fixed or a mere event, but as shifting and enabling multiple presents and futures.

Talk Date: April 28, 10:00-11:30 Panel IV (Closed) Reading Violence, Creative Visions, Transnational Histories

Venue: University Senate Chamber

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