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This presentation reflects on how Indigenous women call on and embody the erotic, as theorized by Black feminist writer Audre Lorde, to cultivate and sustain urban Indigeneity, in settler colonial cities like Surrey, BC. In “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” Lorde situates the erotic as a political and spiritual worldmaking force, radiating from “the assertion of the lifeforce of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, and our lives” (Lorde, 1973). I connect Lorde’s use of the erotic to Dorries (2023) call for Indigenous urbanism to “be understood as a heuristic for uncovering possibilities and modes of being that exceed the possibilities for Indigenous life that are typically prescribed by settler colonial urbanism” (110). This analytic considers how Indigeneity is mobilized to both contest and create ‘the urban’, situating the dialectic tensions between these terms as a generative place from which to reimagine local spatialities. Drawing on personal experiences as an Indigenous woman living and working in Surrey, this paper contributes to the emerging discourse about Indigenous urbanism as an analytic attending to the ways in which Indigenous urban spaces are being made and (re)made.
Dorries, H. (2023). Indigenous Urbanism as an Analytic: Towards Indigenous Urban Theory. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 47(1). 110-118. DOI:10.1111/1468-2427.13129
Lorde, A. (1973) Sister Outsider
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