The article explores contemporary debates regarding the representation of Indigenous resistance in the field of settler colonial studies by putting the work of Australian theorist Patrick Wolfe into conversation with the political allegories articulated in two contemporary Western films. Its first section, tracing what Wolfe called his “pharmacological indebtedness” to Gayatri Spivak, considers the methodological problems for settler colonial studies that have emerged from Wolfe’s critique of the settler intellectual’s representation of Indigenous resistance. The second section suggests an alternative direction for transnational settler colonial studies by undertaking a comparative reading of two films—Hell or High Water (2016) written by US settler filmmaker Taylor Sheridan, and Goldstone (2016) written and directed by Indigenous Australian (Gamilaroi) director Ivan Sen. Both films collapse the detective genre with settler colonialism’s most recognizable representational genre: the Western. In so doing, they articulate narratives about the ongoing crimes of settler colonialism that offer novel perspectives on the question of what is knowable—and by whom—under settler colonialism’s structure of violence.

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