Building on black and indigenous feminist scholarship, this essay examines the mutually constitutive processes of racial gendered violence and colonial dispossession undergirding Guyanese statecraft. Through an analysis of the colonial construction of the racial-sexual bodies of Amerindian and Afro-and Indo-creole women, it argues that these imbricated violences may better be understood through a feminist analytic and praxis of relational difference. A departure point that brings the scaffold histories and legacies of colonialism, dispossession, slavery, and indentureship into stark relief, relational difference troubles the overdetermined rhetoric of impending racial disturbance and chaos that haunt the political landscape. Tracing the specificity of indigenous and black dispossession and antiblackness as integral to Guyanese nation formation and the Caribbean more broadly, it ultimately calls for an expansive Caribbean feminist politics that reckons with indigenous political subjectivities and creates awareness of black belonging beyond statist framings toward mutual liberation.
Forging Relational Difference: Racial Gendered Violence and Dispossession in Guyana
Shanya Cordis, who is black/Warau and Lokono, is an assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology at Spelman College. She works at the intersections of indigenous and black studies, examining black and indigenous political subjectivities and social movements, gendered violence, and critical feminist geographies. Her book-in-progress, tentatively titled “Unsettling Geographies: Antiblackness, Gendered Violence, and Indigenous Dispossession in Guyana,” is a feminist ethnography of indigenous land dispossession, antiblackness, and gendered racial violence in Guyana.
Shanya Cordis; Forging Relational Difference: Racial Gendered Violence and Dispossession in Guyana. Small Axe 1 November 2019; 23 (3 (60)): 18–33. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-7912298
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