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"

This project investigates how mineral deposits are discovered and made into ‘prospects’ by junior mining companies. The work of making a mining project possible begins years before extraction starts and far from the site where extraction occurs, often in corporate offices in downtown Toronto. Here, mineral exploration companies– juniors — work to produce prospects through visual, discursive and technical practices that abstract the prospect from place and history and that negotiate between multiple temporalities and spaces. In many of the mining company meetings I have attended, the land operated on and the mineral explored for was not mentioned. I write an emplaced story of junior mining companies, such that space, place and history matter for understanding the specific form that ‘settler-capitalism’ takes. In focusing on what is not said in corporate spaces, I contribute to a rich literature in feminist anthropology that considers ways of knowing the world and how power shapes our categories or domains of thinking. With its focus on the production of prospects, my project contributes to an emergent field in anthropology that critically examines potentiality through exploring the ways in which potential is used to reproduce capitalist and settler-colonial relationships.