ANTH Colloquia: Dr. Bernard Perley, ‘Having Reservations: Ethnographing Consequential Insecurities

Where: Anthropology & Sociology Building (ANSO 6303, NW Marine Drive), Room 134

When: Thursday September 14, 12.30 – 2.00 pm followed by a light lunch

Having Reservations: Ethnographing Consequential Insecurities

Can ethnography contribute to social justice? Ethnography as comic relief offers a graphic possibility. In an essay on Indian humor Vine Deloria Jr. wrote, “The more desperate the problem, the more humor is directed to describe it.” Settler-colonialism and Indigeneity, as forms of structural violence, are some of the desperate problems my personal series of comics Having Reservations attempts to sketch out. Renowned graphic artist Will Eisner described comics as sequential art; a medium of graphic storytelling whereby a reader must suspend comprehension of a comic until the entire sequence of frames has been completely read and interpreted. Having Reservations uses sequential art to create critical narratives that highlight the conundrums of structural violence endured in the everyday lives of Indigenous peoples in colonized ancestral lands. The comics foreground conflicts and insecurities between settler societal “norms” and Indigenous community “resistance”. My intent is not humor to ridicule but humor to heal. Ethnography as sequential art invites us to laugh together at the absurdities in settler-Indigenous relations and to work collaboratively toward mutual healing.