Kieran Way

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10249

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Way, Kieran (Toronto, U. of) "Life, concepts, and politics: decolonization or [and] reconciliation in a contested city"

I center my ethnography in a church and library in Thunder Bay, Canada, to understand how Indigenous persons and settlers work together and apart to challenge the city’s settler colonial conditions and its surging rates of racism. My project explores why and how these institutions have become compelling sites for anti-colonial and anti-racist projects in the city, and how they are being transformed. Throughout, I pay particular attention to the different political concepts and ethical practices that my interlocutors use to negotiate life in each space. I document how Indigenous persons and settlers use these concepts and practices to alter themselves and their relationships with each other, as well as the spaces within which they work and worship, in different ways. In documenting how politics and ethics are forged within and through these spaces, my project examines what happens when Indigenous persons turn toward and try to reclaim settler institutions, but also how settlers might also begin to undo longstanding systems of violence and oppression through self-reflexive and political action. I thereby explore the ethical affordances of concepts in the emergent but fragile potential of work and worship that seeks to challenge racism and settler colonialism in Thunder Bay.