"Ask the Colonial Ghosts": Intimate Histories, Harmful Complicities, and the Search for an Accountable Relationship with the Past
Lewis, Johanna Madeleine
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I take episodes from my life and my familys past as sites through which to explore connections between individual lives and larger structures, between the ways we tell our stories and the ways that histories are constructed, between colonial pasts and colonial presents. By researching and contextualizing the lives of my ancestors who homesteaded in Saskatchewan and those who participated in the British Raj, I analyze the lived practice of particular colonial structures and racial logics, and the consequences of our relationships with these histories. I then explore my contemporary participation in settler colonial seizure and amnesia, and my connection and responsibility to the Indigenous peoples who have lived (and continue to live) in relation with this land we now call Toronto. Grounded in a decolonial analysis, I aim to challenge both the erasure of unpalatable histories and the denial that these histories have any bearing on our world today.