Indigeneity in the courtroom: Law, culture, and the production of difference in North American courts
Hamilton, Jennifer Anne
Faubion, James D.
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation considers how culturalist arguments are being deployed and interpreted in legal cases involving indigenous peoples in both Canada and the United States. Focusing specifically on three court cases, it asks how a certain kind of difference, indigeneity, is produced in both legal and extra-legal spheres. Rather than having a specific referent that is indigenous cultural practice and epistemology, indigeneity references the idea that indigenous difference is produced in particular contexts, in response to a variety of sociopolitical forces. The dissertation closely examines these three recent cases involving indigenous peoples, one from the U.S. and two from Canada. In each of these cases, the courts deploy the idiom of indigenous difference, indigeneity , in purportedly novel and unexpected ways. The dissertation argues that despite their superficial novelty, these cases are not especially anomalous; they are, in fact, part of continuing processes which rely on reductive multiculturalist discourses of indigeneity to continue to manage and even deny the existence of a colonial past and a postcolonial present.
American studies; Cultural anthropology; Canadian studies; Law; Anthropology