Thursday, February 29, 2024 – The Morgan Lecture

(Event rescheduled from 11/14/23)

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This event is in-person only. It will not be livestreamed or recorded.

Morgan Lecture

Savage States: Settler Governance in an Age of Sorrow

Audra Simpson, Columbia University

How is the past imagined to be settled? What are the conditions that make for this imagining, this fantasy or rather, demand of a new beginning? In this lecture, Professor Audra Simpson will consider the making of ‘new time’ in light of histories of wrongdoing – residential and boarding schools and the dispossession that is tied to this in recent history – 1990 to the near present in Canada. This is a time of apology, and a time in which Native people and their claims to territory are whittled to the status of claimant in time with the fantasy of their disappearance from a modern and critical present. How has settler governance adjusted itself in line with global trends and rights paradigms away from overt violence to softer and kinder, caring modes of governance? This lecture will ask not only in what world we imagine time to stop, but will also take up the ways in which those that survived the time stoppage stand in critical relationship to dispossession and settler governance apprehend, analyze and act upon this project of affective governance. Here an oral and textual history of the notion of “reconciliation” is constructed and analyzed with recourse to Indigenous criticism of this affective and political project of repair. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Morgan Lecture Fund and co-sponsored by the Center for the Futures of Native Peoples.

Topic overview written by Layla Ilarraza ’26

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Audra Simpson is a professor of anthropology at Columbia University. She researches and writes about Indigenous and settler society, politics, and history. She is the author of Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (Duke University Press, 2014), winner of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s Best First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies Prize, the Laura Romero Prize from the American Studies Association as well as the Sharon Stephens Prize from the American Ethnological Society (2015). She is co-editor of Theorizing Native Studies (Duke University Press, 2014). She has articles in South Atlantic Quarterly, Postcolonial Studies, Theory & Event, Cultural Anthropology, American Quarterly, Junctures, Law and Contemporary Problems and Wicazo Sa Review. In 2010 she won Columbia University’s School for General Studies “Excellence in Teaching Award.” In 2020 she won the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching. She is a Kahnawà:ke Mohawk.

Morgan Lectureship

The Morgan Lectureship was endowed by the board of trustees in 1992, in grateful appreciation for the distinguished service of James Henry Morgan of the Class of 1878, professor of Greek, dean, and president of the College. The lectureship brings to campus a scholar in residence to meet informally with individuals and class groups and to deliver the Morgan Lecture on topics in the social sciences and humanities. Scholars have included Jorge Luis Borges, Francis Fukuyama, Michael Ignatieff, Samantha Power, Art Spiegelman, Sandra Steingraber, Kay Redfield Jamison, Patricia Hill Collins, Winona LaDuke, Lila Abu-Lughod, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Anthony Appiah.