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Adjudicating Culture, Politicizing Law:
Legal Strategies for Black and Indigenous Land Rights Struggles in the Americas

The University of Texas at Austin
April 28–29

Session Themes

  1. Indigenous and Black claims compared. What can we learn by comparing the struggles of similarly positioned Afro-descendant and indigenous peoples in relation to the existing array of international instruments? How are conflicts between Afro-descendant and indigenous peoples framed and adjudicated? Can people(s) make full recourse to culture-based claims from a subject position of blackness?
  2. Gendered processes and consequences. What gendered premises tend to be present in language of Black and indigenous claims for land and resource rights? What gendered consequences follow, both in the process of struggle and in the aftermath of the formal achievement of rights? To what extent do the political ideologies and practice of these struggles move beyond the collective-individual conundrum central to liberalism, and to what extent do they remain captive to this framing of the problem?
  3. Communities versus environmental prerogatives. What roles do environmental organizations, and the interests they protect, tend to play in Black and indigenous land struggles? Is it possible to reconcile claimed universalist notions of the commons with culture-specific claims, which might reject both universality and Western property regimes? What conditions have made it possible for Black and indigenous communities to develop sound alliances based on common interests?