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Schooled by Scrolling the Trans Mountain Pipeline? Tracing (Anti)colonial Public Pedagogy on Instagram

  • Author / Creator
    Karsgaard, Carrie
  • In opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline, overlapping networks of concerned citizens, Indigenous land protectors, and environmental activists have used Instagram to document pipeline construction, policing, and land degradation; teach using infographics; and express solidarity through artwork and re-shared posts. These expressions constitute a form of “public pedagogy,” where social media takes on an educative force, influencing publics whether or not they set foot in the classroom. Working with digital methods, visual methodologies, and close reading practices, this dissertation draws on Instagram’s large-scale data to trace and analyze how publics reinforce and resist settler colonialism as they engage with the Trans Mountain pipeline controversy online.

    While much public pedagogy research focuses on the hegemonic functioning of culture, a study of the Trans Mountain issue provides a crucial analysis of social media’s anti-colonial possibilities. Instagram’s public pedagogy intersects in a social and ecological issue within and against the economies and cultures of digital media, racist and colonial representational regimes, and the broader ecology of relations under the settler state. Public pedagogy on Instagram indeed reveals a complex intermingling of user and platform agency in a pedagogy that takes on a connected, aesthetic, and situated force, according to the networked, image-based, and locative affordances available on the platform. While some visions and enactments are profoundly decolonial, mainstream colonial norms are unevenly reinforced, contested, subverted, and bypassed on a platform driven by corporate agendas and situated within colonial-capitalist processes. Considering the complexity of attending to these nuances from an anti-colonial perspective, this dissertation introduces an anti-colonial methodology for archiving, visualizing, and interpreting large-scale digital data in accountable ways that undermine colonial hierarchies and categorizations inherent to data structuring and use.

    This large-scale examination of the Trans Mountain issue public pedagogy contributes visions for Indigenous land protection and an anti-colonial approach to environmental justice emerging from participant publics, holding implications for more formal justice-based climate and environmental education, and opening spaces of possibility – along with the persistent restrictions – in working towards altered relations.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-wqk2-h862
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.