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The focus of surveillance studies has generally been on the modern, bureaucratic state. And yet the history of patriarchal and colonialist surveillance in this continent is much longer. The traditional account of surveillance studies tends to occlude the manner in which the settler state is foundationally built on surveillance. Because surveillance studies focuses on the modern, bureaucratic state, it has failed to account for the gendered colonial history of surveillance. Consequently, the strategies for addressing surveillance do not question the state itself but rather seek to modify the extent and manner in which the state surveils. In this chapter, the author explores how a feminist surveillance studies’ focus on gendered colonial violence reshapes the field by bringing into view that which cannot be seen—the surveillance strategies that have effected indigenous disappearance in order to establish the settler state itself. In particular, the author argues that a focus on gendered settler colonialism foregrounds how surveillance is not simply about “seeing” but about “not seeing” the settler state.

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