Giving / Taking Notice
This essay—drawing from and extending my previous work on settler colonialism and perception—takes up the practice of listening positionality as a form of noticing our noticing. I argue that one aspect of decolonization involves calling attention to the ways in which we notice not just settler colonialism events as instances of historical and contemporary injustices against Indigenous people, but how settler colonialism’s structures pervade everyday life and the more extraordinary realm of the arts. Our ways of noticing settler colonial structures are guided by and foreclosed upon by our positionality, in our experience of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Critical listening positionality, in this context, means developing an awareness of how we hear structures of settler colonialism and then letting that awareness lead toward practices of sensing otherwise. In order to test out how one might improvise with listening positionality, the essay offers an example of my own listening to the recording “Round Dance” by Cree-Mennonite cellist Cris Derksen on their album Orchestral Powwow.
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