Other Materialisms: Black and Indigenous Scholars on Science, Technology and the Environment

Thursday, Oct 11, 2018 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

691 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Location is ADA accessible

Other Materialisms: Black and Indigenous Scholars on Science, Technology and the Environment


Toward Indigenous Materialisms: Alaska, Glacier, and Invitation
Jen Smith, Ethnic Studies

Letting the Land Speak: Race and Genetic Reconciliation through Land Gifts in Cameroon
Victoria M. Massie, Anthropology

The Principles of Living in Harmony: Mexica-Anahuaca Approaches to Embodied Knowledge, Pedagogy and Healing
Marcelo Garzo Montalvo, Ethnic Studies

As New Materialisms continues to gain traction as an intellectual fashion across multiple disciplines, we would like to host a conversation that stages an intervention into this theoretical space; in particular from Black and Indigenous critiques and perspectives. We bring into question the newness of New Materialisms and take as our point of departure the problems we have encountered as we engage this literature as critical Indigenous scholars and scholars of color. While our work at times may be implicitly in conversation with New Materialisms, we will focus on the content of our own research projects as examples of critical work that emerges from Ethnic Studies, Native American/Indigenous Studies and postcolonial Anthropology. In this way, the panel will unpack questions of materiality, history, time/space, and epistemology as they emerge in our projects regarding decolonial sciences, intergenerational trauma and healing, the co-production of land and race in Alaska, and the politics of genetic testing and identity.


Jen Smith (Eyak, Alaska Native) is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Ethnic Studies. Jen’s dissertation “Indeterminate Natures: Making Land, Race, and Indigeneity in Alaska,” examines the production of ambiguity in Alaska and the Arctic. She traces key historical and modern articulations of land, race, and indigeneity as the terms are co-constituted and remade as “indeterminate” through multiple material, institutional, and cultural practices that shape landscapes and inform indigenous politics in Alaska and the Arctic.

Victoria M. Massie is a writer and Ph.D. Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology with a designated emphasis in Science and Technology Studies at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation, “Assembling Genetic Ancestry: Race, Return, and the Materiality of Home in Cameroon” explores contemporary understandings of race and the politics of belonging as DNA ancestry is mobilized to forge diasporic ties in Cameroon. Her work has been supported through the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, as well as awards from the UC Center for New Racial Studies, UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship, and the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. She was also awarded lifetime membership to the West African Research Association in 2015. Additionally, Massie is an essayist and editor whose work has been featured on The InterceptVoxComplex Magazine, and Catapult.

Marcelo Garzo Montalvo (Mapuche-Anahuaca, Chilenx) is a transnational cultural activist, musician, ceremonial dancer, educator and PhD Candidate in Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. His art, research and activism focuses on decolonization and inter-generational, inter-cultural healing.

Facebook event page

Thursday Forum Series

Faculty and graduate students are welcome to submit proposals to present at the CRG Thursday Forum Series. Proposals to present as an individual or a panel are invited each semester.

about proposal deadlines, download proposal forms, and check out the latest upcoming forums.