The Conspiracy of NDN Joy: Essays on Violence, Care, and Possibility

  • Author / Creator
    Belcourt, Billy-Ray, E
  • The essays herein add up to an examination of the ways in which Indigenous peoples in Canada desire something outside of the terror of the present and the afterlife of the long twentieth century. By way of the modalities of memoir and cultural criticism, I A) seek to lay bare how the cruelties of structures reverberate inside a singular life and B) probe the limits and uses of art and literature as performances of liberatory politics, which is to say I use as material for theorization both my lived experience and the works of contemporary Indigenous cultural practitioners about the coloniality of the world. The main thesis is that joy is an at once momentous and minimalist facet of Indigenous embodiment that rebels against and builds alternatives to the zones of unfreedom that comprise the domain of everyday life. To make this argument, I take up a number of instances of social violence to demonstrate that in the end we are never overdetermined by them, that we locate ourselves inside an affective and aesthetic commons unmoored from suffering and brimming with possibility. Methodologically, I operationalize what poet Ocean Vuong has called a “restlessness of form”: the use of a plurality of literary modes and styles when one’s subject matter is as enormous as a country and as intractable as history. I conclude on the note that though our lives as queer and/or Indigenous peoples are mired by death of all kinds we are called on by one another to build a new world in the image of our radical art.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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