When is colonialism a genocide? The case of Indigenous women and girls in Canada

Activists seeking justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) march down Toronto streets, 22 March 2018.

Lori Lee Oates

Canada’s treatment of Indigenous persons by white settlers and contemporary government institutions are issues that have increasingly come to the forefront of late. They are at the heart of questions around how we should govern in the modern world. These institutions were not built by Indigenous persons, and Canadians are increasingly recognizing that our government has often contributed to the poor health, safety, and economic outcomes experienced by Indigenous persons.

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) inquiry in Canada recently sparked a debate over whether Indigenous persons in the country have suffered, and continue to suffer, from genocide. The inquiry came about in response to years of lobbying by Indigenous women, and was the fulfillment of a campaign promise on the part of the Trudeau government. The final report was released on 3 June, entitled Reclaiming Power and Place. Continue reading “When is colonialism a genocide? The case of Indigenous women and girls in Canada”

How Empires Globalized New Age Religion

yoga

Lori Lee Oates
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @LoriLeeOates

In 2015, the print and online Yoga Journal celebrated its 40th anniversary. It currently claims a readership of 2.1 million people and receives more than 5 million online page views per month. Lululemon, the famous retailer of women’s yoga wear, has started opening stores for men. The Maharishi Foundation website reports that it has established Transcendental Meditation Centres in 108 countries across the globe. Some of the best selling books of recent decades have focused on themes and practices traditionally found in Eastern Religion. Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now (1997) has been translated into 33 languages and is estimated to have sold 3 million copies. The book is described as a New Age reworking of Zen. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love (2006) spent 187 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List and sent women across the globe running toward the ashrams of India. Clearly, alternative religion is big business in the twenty-first century.

This global mass consumption of alternative religion has long been regarded as a manifestation of the increasing commercialization of, well, everything since the 1980s. It is true that religion, like everything else, has reached new heights of sales in the age of mass marketing. French scholar Frédéric Lenoir has provocatively argued in Les Métamorphoses de Dieu (2004) that secular societies are more religious than at any previous time in history. However, what is less frequently spoken of is the role that imperialism played in the expansion of interest in Eastern religions in the West. Continue reading “How Empires Globalized New Age Religion”

8. Living in the Age of the Storyteller: Global History and the Politics of Narrative

Editor’s Note: In the weeks leading up to the new year, please help us celebrate 2015 at the Imperial & Global Forum by checking out the past year’s 10 most popular posts.

8. Living in the Age of the Storyteller: Global History and the Politics of Narrative

globe-books

Lori Lee Oates
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @LoriLeeOates

In late June, I had the honour of hearing Professor David A. Bell speak at the Society for the Study of French History conference at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. The theme of the conference wasTurning Points in French History and he spoke on the period between 1715 to 1815. Professor Bell went on to discuss ‘the global turn’. He noted that a significant percentage of current history Ph.D. students are using global analysis as the main methodology for their thesis. He then discussed the limits of this methodology, particularly as a largely structural analysis. He argued that the methodologies of ‘the linguistic turn’ might actually be more helpful to us in analyzing the process of why change continues after these same global structures break down. Linguistic analysis largely views language as a structure that is culturally inherited and something that limits our ability to comprehend society beyond those concepts that are available to us in our immediate environment. [continue reading]

Living in the Age of the Storyteller: Global History and the Politics of Narrative

globe-books

Lori Lee Oates
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @LoriLeeOates

In late June, I had the honour of hearing Professor David A. Bell speak at the Society for the Study of French History conference at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. The theme of the conference was Turning Points in French History and he spoke on the period between 1715 to 1815. Professor Bell went on to discuss ‘the global turn’. He noted that a significant percentage of current history Ph.D. students are using global analysis as the main methodology for their thesis. He then discussed the limits of this methodology, particularly as a largely structural analysis. He argued that the methodologies of ‘the linguistic turn’ might actually be more helpful to us in analyzing the process of why change continues after these same global structures break down. Linguistic analysis largely views language as a structure that is culturally inherited and something that limits our ability to comprehend society beyond those concepts that are available to us in our immediate environment.

As one of many Ph.D. students who have turned toward using global and imperial methodology, I was intrigued. Professor Bell’s talk also reminded me of sitting in an Ex Historia seminar on global and imperial history in 2013 and posing the question of whether this was just another passing academic fad. Like others I had been advised to do a thesis that is an analysis of the effects of globalization and the inherent influence of imperialism on that process. In many ways this is a good approach as a number of new academic positions are being created in the field of global and imperial history on both sides of the Atlantic. However, given the academic hype regarding globalization in recent years, I had honestly been wondering for some time when somebody was going to start questioning the efficacy of the methodology. Continue reading “Living in the Age of the Storyteller: Global History and the Politics of Narrative”

CFP: ‘The Local and the Global’, University of Exeter, 7 March 2015

Lori Lee Oates
History Department, University of Exeter

globe celeste

The Local and the Global

ASMCF- SSFH PG Study Day, University of Exeter

Saturday March 7th 2015

Call For Papers

Keynote Speaker: Dr Claire Eldridge (Southampton)

Planned Professional Development Sessions: archival research; social media for academia; publishing journal articles; the Viva; and from PhD to monograph.

Deadline for Submissions: 9 January 2015

‘Tout le Monde à Paris’, proclaimed a poster for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. The world on your doorstep; the global meets the local through a cultural conduit. A century later, and with the World Wide Web in your pocket, the global has never been more connected to the local. Conceptually these terms are antonymous: the local is specific, on a small scale, and often suggests civic or regional affiliations to a place; the global is universal, world-wide, and lacks definitive spatial rooting. Yet considering the local and the global as opposites may belie the potential impact that they can have upon one another.  Continue reading “CFP: ‘The Local and the Global’, University of Exeter, 7 March 2015”