Moving Bodies: Sovereignty, Science, and Indigenous Ontology in the Poetry of Heid Erdrich
Contributor(s)Goeman, Mishuana R
KeywordsNative American studies
Philosophy of science
Ethics of Interrelation
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AbstractIndigenous peoples throughout the world have a difficult, tenuous, and troubled relationship with science. Despite positivist commitments to scientific value-neutrality, empirically produced knowledge about the social and natural world is inherently political and politicized, and indelibly linked to statecraft, empire, and colonization. Yet, contrary to popular misconceptions, indigenous approaches to science are not exclusively oppositional, though invasive and non-consensual scientific research practices certainly warrant opposition from indigenous communities. This thesis applies interdisciplinary methods from science and technology studies, critical legal studies, and literary analysis to demonstrate how contemporary Ojibwe poet Heid Erdrich uses poetry to illuminate the complicated cultural, ethical, legal, and political nodes connecting science and contemporary indigenous lives. Through close readings of several of Erdrich's poems, the following chapters demonstrate how Erdrich challenges mainstream legal and scientific discourses by activating and appropriating scientifically-conversant metaphors to create emergent narratives of indigenous mobility, identity, and generational continuity.