Biting the Hand that Feeds You: Theories of change in the settler state and its universities

Dr. Eve Tuck

There are many ways that those working inside universities account for how this work can be in service of communities and social justice. Scholars talk about opportunities to leverage university resources on behalf of communities, and other moves to frame university-based labor in relationship to justice. This presentation considers the settler colonial roots of the academy, and wonders aloud about the futurities it can entertain. Which parts of the higher education project are too invested in settler colonialism to be rescued? Which parts of academic labor might be refused in order to generate new possibilities? What might it mean to bite the university that feeds us? This presentation engages these questions in slow and nuanced ways—not to reject universities and field building out of hand, but to consider which universities and which fields might connect most meaningfully to decolonial theories of change.