Am Marktplatz 2
Johanna Lederer holds an MA in North American Studies from the University of Bonn and a BA in Multilingual Communication (English and French) from the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne. She is a member of the Association for Canadian Studies in German-speaking Countries.
Her research on representations of Indigenous activism in Canadian media has earned her the Jürgen and Freia Saße Award which brought her to Toronto for a research stay.
Her dissertation project with the working title “Making Place for Indigineity: Imaginative Practices in Speculative Fiction and Activism” focuses on the role of Indigenous futurism in the reimagining of Canada as a dynamic place by way of decentering settler epistemologies and asserting Indigenous presence and agency.
Making Place for Indigeneity: Imaginative Practices in Speculative Fiction and Art
Indigenous struggles have often narrowly been viewed as resistance to colonialism instead of being acknowledged as complex practices of placemaking. I explore Indigenous literary and artistic imaginations as decolonizing and Indigenizing placemaking practices in a Turtle Island context. These narrative and artistic practices include remembering places, remapping and renaming places and creating Indigenous futures in Canadian urban spaces. Referencing theories by Mishuana Goeman (Tonawanda Band of Seneca), Derek Gregory, and Dylan Robinson (Stó:lō/Skwah), I argue that these placemaking practices assert Indigenous presence and futures in both material and fictional places. While Indigenous futurisms (as theorized by Anishinaabe author and scholar Grace Dillon) expand our understanding of what constitutes storytelling, all of these practices can be understood as storytelling, bringing forward Indigenous narratives and epistemologies. They contest the imaginative geography of Canada being a benevolent multicultural nation-state and its manifestations, e.g. colonial statues, patriotic celebrations, and museums. I will discuss how Indigenous futurisms in e.g. novels, short stories, and comics but also museums thus destabilize Canadian settler colonial claims to diversity and the settler colonial infrastructure. Colonialism is frequently described as a societal structure that cannot be reduced to specific events. I will argue that colonialism and decolonization should be understood through – often mediated – practices, focusing not so much on time, but making place.