The Annual Ato Quayson Lecture in DTS with Professor Audra Simpson

When and Where

Thursday, February 08, 2024 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George St. Toronto, ON M5R 2M8


Professor Audra Simpson


The lecture will run from 3:00 - 5:00pm with a reception to follow from 5:00 - 6:00pm with light food and refreshments.

About the Lecture:

"Settler Colonial Apologia"

How is the past imagined to be settled? What are the conditions that make for this imagining, this fantasy or rather, demand of a new start point in time? In this lecture I consider the slice of this new-ness in recent history and the way “historical wrong doing” or “mistakes of the past” have been addressed by states and by individuals.  This is a time of apology, and a time in which Native people and their claims to territory and to self are whittled to the status of claimant or subject in time with the fantasy of their disappearance from a modern and critical present.  How has governance adjusted itself in line with global trends and rights paradigms away from overt violence to what are seen as softer and kinder, caring modes of governing but governing, violently still and yet, with a language of care, of contrition? This piece asks not only in what world we imagine time to stop, but takes up the ways in which those that survived the time stoppage stand in critical relationship to dispossession and settler governance, how they apprehend, analyze and act upon this project of affective governance. Here an analysis of formal apologies is placed within an oral and textual history of the notion of “reconciliation.” 

About Professor Simpson:

Audra Simpson is a Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.  She researches and writes about Indigenous and settler society, politics and history. She is the author of Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (Duke University Press, 2014), winner of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s Best First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies Prize, the Laura Romero Prize from the American Studies Association, the Sharon Stephens Prize from the American Ethnological Society (2015) and CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title in 2014. She has published articles and book chapters spanning various fields. She was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto in 2018, the Nicholson Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Unit for Criticism and Theory at University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) in 2019 and Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Department of Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity at University of Chicago in 2023.  In 2010 she won Columbia University’s School for General Studies Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2020 she won the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching.  She was the second anthropologist in the 50-year history of the award to do so. She is a Kahnawà:ke Mohawk.

Contact Information

Katharine Bell