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Research group on Intercultural Processes on Architecture, Urbanism and Territory
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First seminar
“Decolonizing urban territories: processes of state colonization and indigenous resistance”.

During the last few decades, both the English and Spanish speaking academia and the media have begun to give more visibility to Indigenous peoples associated both with the offer of ethnic public policies and to processes of conflict situated in their historical territories. Although increasingly research is being conducted under what are considered ethical guidelines, much of it is still written in such a way as to perpetuate colonial logics. Some of this research speaks of ethnic groups and not of Indigenous peoples; other research gives visibility to the presence of native populations in urban areas while treating them as a phenomenon that is isolated from their areas of origin (Fontana 2019). In this way they invisibilize historic and territorial continuities by presenting these populations in a spatially fragmented manner as if limited to the interior of the corresponding nation-states.

We argue this is part of new forms of assimilation that are configured around Indigenous peoples, presenting their emergence and agency in urban areas in a dehistoricized and deterritorialized manner (Antileo 2012), as (mere) processes of ethnification (Imilan 2014) or under the rubric of ethnicity as a resource (Fuster 2015) in order to access benefits from the subsidiary state. In this way the continuities between these processes and current colonization processes that these national states impose on ancestral territories and the resistance to these processes are not taken into consideration. This resistance varies from protests to stop extractive projects, legal actions in international courts and programs to revitalize ancestral practices in urban areas. These phenomena are categorized in much of the academic literature (in both the English and Spanish speaking colonial traditions) as demands for recognition. On the other hand, other critical research experiences, within a decolonial framework and interpreting many voices belonging to those same Indigenous peoples, understand these demands as processes of recovery of spaces and territories (Baronnet 2012; Coulthard 2014; Pairican 2015).

In relation to this framework, we invite researchers from the academic world to present papers, in Spanish or English, at the first seminar on “Decolonizing urban territories: processes of state colonization and indigenous resistance.”

Some of the possible questions that we believe urgently need to be addressed include:

How does the expansion of urban areas advance over traditional lands of indigenous communities?

How do urban planning instruments impact indigenous populations?

How are “ethnic” real estate projects created and promoted, and how are identities (re)produced through the construction of intercultural buildings and public spaces?

What different forms does Indigenous resistance present in these urban territories?

What different actions are being taken?

What traditional practices are being recovered in these urban territories?

What imaginaries are being reactivated?

What hybrid forms are being created?

In summary, we see a crucial need to focus research on the growing presence of Indigenous populations in different metropolitan, intermediate and small urban contexts in many different countries worldwide, while understanding these populations as expressions of Indigenous peoples and not simply ethnic groups.

This seminar is therefore an attempt to bring into dialogue different academic worlds associated to different trajectories in different colonial languages (English and Spanish) in relation to the urban. Often writing in these languages there are perspectives from authors who are members of these Indigenous peoples. On the one hand we see an Anglo-Saxon literature on “settler colonial societies” recently gaining the qualification of “cities” (Hugill 2017; Porter, Hurst and Grandinetti 2020). On the other hand, we see a Spanish-speaking literature that has focused on making visible and criticizing processes of internal colonialism that states have been perpetuating through “ethnic” urban public policies (Antileo 2013, Alvarado 2015, Mansilla and Imilan 2020). We propose this seminar as a meeting place for this research and a place to contrast the epistemological implications of the conceptual frameworks that are behind them: settler colonialism and internal colonialism (Coulthard 2020). In this seminar we hope to propose questions more than to find definitive answers, in order to understand in more depth the paradox of the city as colonial strategy that is at the same time a place where different expressions of Indigenous resistance have currently been articulated.

In order for both traditions to dialogue, this seminar calls for researcher presentations focused on these questions. We also invite testimonial expositions of experiences of members of Indigenous peoples that have developed decolonization processes in urban territories.

The seminar will be in an online format and will provide simultaneous English-Spanish translation, seeking to reduce for a moment the barriers of language differences in order to move towards common understandings on these issues. We know this is not enough because ideally we would like to move towards an encounter of the multiple languages made invisible by academic exercise and that make up what we call the Indigenous world. As product of the seminar we propose to publish the best presentations in a special number of the local journal of the School of Architecture, Planning and Geography or in a peer-reviewed book.

We invite researchers to send an extended abstract of no more than 500 words in the online submission section until the 8th of October.

Alvarado Lincopi, C. (2015). La emergencia de la ciudad colonial en Ngülu Mapu: control social, desposesión e imaginarios urbanos. In E. Antileo, L. Cárcamo-Huechante, M. Calfío & H. Huinca-Puitrin (Eds.), Awükan ka kuxankan zugu  wajmapu  mew.  Violencias  coloniales  en Wajmapu (pp. 107-139). Temuco: Ediciones Comunidad de Historia Mapuche.

Antileo, E. (2013). Políticas indígenas, multiculturalismo y el enfoque estatal indígena urbano. Revista de Historia Social y de las Mentalidades, 17(1), 133-161.

Antileo, E. (2012). Migración mapuche y continuidad colonial. En Ta iñ fijke xipa rakizuameluwün. Historia, colonialismo y resistencia desde el país Mapuche (pp. 187-208). Temuco: Ediciones Comunidad de Historia Mapuche.

Baronnet, B., Bayo, M. M., & Stahler-Sholk, R. (Eds.). (2011). Luchas" muy otras": zapatismo y autonomía en las comunidades indígenas de Chiapas. Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social.

Coulthard, G. S. (2020). Once were Maoists: Third World currents in Fourth World anti-colonialism, Vancouver, 1967–1975. In Routledge Handbook of Critical Indigenous Studies (pp. 378-391). Routledge.

Coulthard, G. S. (2014). Red skin, white masks: Rejecting the colonial politics of recognition. University of Minnesota Press.

Fontana, M. (2019). Wariatun, Espacialidades mapuche en el Área Metropolitana de Santiago. Caso: Desplazamiento mapuche hacia el Área Metropolitana de Santiago 1975-2016 (Tesis doctorado). Santiago: Universidad Católica de Chile.

Fuster Farfán, X. (2015). (Re)conocimiento de la ciudad mapuche. Etnicidad y construcción del hábitat en la Villa Bicentenario de Cerro Navia (Tesis magíster). Santiago: Universidad de Chile.

Hugill, D. (2017). What is a settler‐colonial city? Geography Compass, 11(5), e12315.

Imilan, W. (2014). Experiencia warriache: Espacios, performances e identidades mapuche en Santiago. In W. Imilan, D.Margarit & A. Garcés (Eds.), Poblaciones en Movimiento: Etnificación de la ciudad, redes e integración (pp. 254-278). Santiago: Ediciones Universidad Alberto Hurtado.

Mansilla, P. & Imilan, W. (2020). 630. Colonialidad del poder, desarrollo urbano y desposesión mapuche: urbanización de tierras mapuche en la Araucanía chilena. Scripta Nova. Revista Electrónica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales, 24.

Pairican, F. (2015). El retorno de un viejo actor político: el guerrero: Perspectivas para comprender la violencia política en el movimento mapuche (1990-2010). E. Antileo, L. Cárcamo-Huenchante, M. Calfío & H. Huinca-Piutrin (Eds.), Awükan ka kuxankan zugu Wajmapu mew: Violencias coloniales en Wajmapu (pp. 301-323). Temuco: Ediciones Comunidad de Historia Mapuche.

Porter, L., Hurst, J., & Grandinetti, T. (2020). The politics of greening unceded lands in the settler city. Australian Geographer, 51(2), 221-238.