Merle Austen Davis Matthews

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Minnesota, Minneapolis-St.Paul, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10213

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Davis Matthews, Merle (Minnesota, Minneapolis-St.Paul, U. of) "Staking a Claim- abstraction, settler-capitalism and turning a mineral deposit a prospect"

MERLE DAVIS MATHEWS, then a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, was awarded funding in October 2021 to aid research on ‘Staking a Claim: Abstraction, Settler-capitalism and Turning a Mineral Deposit a Prospect,’ supervised by Dr. Bruce Braun. The project investigates how mineral deposits are discovered and made into ‘prospects’ by junior mining companies operating out of Toronto, Canada. From March to August 2022, the grantee spent time in mining industry spaces such as conferences, annual general meetings, linked-in, and short courses in order to observe the many phases of production of a prospect; and with movements for mining justice in Toronto connected to impacted communities across the world in order to attend to silences in industry spaces. People involved in the industry and adjacent to it were interviews. Findings from this time relate to: the discursive production of a prospect, involving a grammar of abstraction which naturalizes settler-capitalist relations to land; the ways that prospectors attune to the world; how different financing schemes produce particular kinds of prospects; the presence of important divisions within the industry; and what prospectors say they do versus how they are experienced by impacted communities.