Settler Nationalisms


In collaboration with Reuben Jentink, I presented on compost as multispecies method at Mikinaakominis/TransCanadas: Literature, Justice, Relation on Sonnet L’Abbé’s “Earth Memory” panel. Our compost manifesto was published in Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry, vol. 1, no. 3. In “Composting Settler Nationalisms,” we work toward a list of provisional theoretical sensibilities to guide our knowing-together with nonhuman others as non-Indigenous theorists on Indigenous lands. We briefly retell the history of colonial expansion as a matter of waste-making, and reframe Canadian-colonial occupation as a project of recycling: reproducing only beings and knowings that are deemed useful to nation-building. Eventually, and with the help of Indigenous science and feminist science studies, we cultivate a performative understanding of compost as a mode of multispecies storying that provokes accountability. Throughout, we hang on to the idea that nonhumans might have their own stories, or at least storied lifeways that generatively contribute to keeping on together in a place. We trace out crucial crossings between multispecies ethnography and Indigenous sovereignties by demonstrating how compost as a mode of attunement to nonhuman stories can be done in both theory- and art-making.


Literature, Justice, Relation
Earth Memory
May 24—27, 2017
University of Toronto


Mathew Arthur and Reuben Jentink, “Composting Settler Nationalisms,” in Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry vol. 1, no. 3 (2018),