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About

I am currently a 6th year PhD candidate in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), at the University of Toronto, Canada. My thesis is titled "Decolonizing our Technologies of Knowing: Publishing for the Indigenous Good in the Digital Era" and is supervised by Dr. Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, along with doctoral committee members Eve Tuck and Scott Morgenson. It engages the fields of sociology, settler colonialism & digital humanities, examining the ways in which Indigenous publishers articulate the possibilities and challenges of digital publishing technologies for furthering decolonization and Indigenous sovereignty. For 2013-2015 I was awarded the Canadian Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship for this work. In the two years since the SSHRC fellowship's completion (2015/2016 & 2016/2017), I have been awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) for this work.

I also hold a Masters in Education (M.Ed) in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, a Master's certificate in Comparative, International & Development Education - both from the University of Toronto - and a Bachelors of Arts (B.A) in English from the University of Victoria.

I currently live and work with my family as a zhaganash/settler in Tkaronto/Toronto, in Dish with One Spoon Treaty territory, and I am continually learning more about what it means to work for decolonization as a settler on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee lands.

In 2011 I co-founded - and continue to be the Editor of - one of the premier journals for critical Indigenous and decolonization studies, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. It is an interdisciplinary, Open Access journal that brings together discussions of Indigenous knowledges and decolonization from around the globe, and innovates and expands the ways in which academic knowledge might be made accessible to broader communities. Decolonization is a collaborative project committed to centring decolonization work grounded in community, activism, and engagement beyond the academy - work produced by a diverse group of scholars and activists from around the globe. The journal has, in a short time, gathered a world-class group of diverse and innovative scholars as members of various Editorial Boards, as well as an engaged and dedicated audience that includes academics, activists, community members, and artists.

Decolonization has published nine journal issues over three and a half years, along with over a hundred other online essays, stories, and reviews on our companion WordPress site. Decolonization continues to grow and develop, informed by a deep commitment to the political work of decolonization and to publishing in ways that are both responsive but also innovating and pushing the boundaries of what scholarly publishing can be and do. In 2013 I was interviewed about the journal; you can listen to that interview here.

I believe in building community, in doing the work of creating and sustaining relationships, and working responsively and accountably the the knowledges, the people, and the places that I engage. My work is intentionally collaborative, and is enriched by the many people I've had the honor to work and build with. This ethos of collaboration, community and co-creation is central to my work and, I believe, to decolonization.

Explore the rest of the site to find out more!

 

 

Publications

 

Talks

My Recent and Upcoming Speaking Engagements

 

Readings

Ideas I'm Working With

"Different social practices demand that information appear in different forms if that information is to produce a legitimate form of knowledge."

Elizabeth Povinelli (2012)

"How you fight determines who you will be when the battle is over."

Taiaiake Alfred (2009)

"Surviving as a Native person in any colonial situation is a strange mix of refusal, creation, and assertion."

Haunani-Kay Trask (1999)

"An ethic of incommensurability...stands in contrast to aims of reconciliation....Reconciliation is about rescuing settler normalcy, about rescuing a settler future. Reconciliation is concerned with questions of what will decolonization look like? What will happen after abolition? What will be the consequence of decolonization for the settler? Incommensurability acknowledges that these questions need not, and perhaps cannot, be answered in order for decolonization to exist as a framework.

...Decolonization is not obliged to answer those questions - decolonization is not obligated to settlers, or settler futurity. Decolonization is accountable to Indigenous sovereignty and futurity."

Eve Tuck & K. Wayne Yang (2012)

"While discursive categories are clearly central sites of contestation, they must be grounded in and informed by the material politics of everyday life, especially the daily life struggles for survival of...those written out of history."

Chandra Mohanty (2003)

"The idea that technology is neutral is itself not neutral."

Jerry Mander (1991)

"The Indian is a ghost in the system, an errant or virus that disrupts the virtual flows by stopping them, or revealing them to be what they are and will have been all along: colonialist."

Jodi Byrd (2011)

"We [Indigenous people] resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don't want power over white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear. That's revolution."

Russel Means (1980)

"The decolonization of our technologies of knowledge...insists on the necessity of transforming not only the use and the product of the technology but also the discursive context that defines what "is" epistemic technology."

Freya Schiwy (2009)

Decolonize Your Mind2

Blog

Most Recent Post

Tectonic Shift(s)

BY Eric Ritskes / Poetry / 0 COMMENTS

I've always written poetry. Most of it has been bad, some of it might have been good. Most of it I've had no idea if it was 'bad' or 'good'.

I've never published any poetry. This might have something to do with that I've no idea if my poetry is 'bad' or 'good'. Despite an undergraduate degree in English literature, in which I took a number of classes specifically about poetry, I'm not really sure I can tell good poetry or bad poetry.

So, this might be bad.

But this last year has seen a reinvigoration of poetry writing in my life. I'm not sure what sparked it, if it's a continuation of past poetry writing practices, or if it is the result of some 'spark' at all. But, I have decided to share some of it.

This is not the best poem I've written. Mostly I know that because I have no idea how to evaluate what my best poem would look like. But, it is a poem. It is the first poem I wrote in this period of 'reinvigoration', and sometimes what is first is the truest expression of what you want to accomplish, of what you hope to do. Sometimes it is only a first draft of what only long hours and long discarded drafts can accomplish. Either way, this is my poem.

 

Tectonic Shift(s)

A shift in landscape reposes questions of relations:

How do you hang on when the world is leaning?

It is an imperative, for times that have long passed into the future,

For working new plots of land.

Local movements in cities, apartment blocks,

Moving mountains, train tracks glacially tenured.

What is the appropriate action,

When you know that there are two sides to every coin?

 

Is this a deviation from the generalized state of security, or

Standard Operating Procedure?

 

Can we formulate practical proposals that are not

Stillborn from the mouths,

Absent of the necessary blood and sweat and tears and rebel yells?

Why do things get worse with each revelation,

Each roiling rotation,

Each revolution?

 

They prowl, they categorize, they build where we burn

And all the while we dream nascent dreams of the past.

Some claim immunity while others claim impunity.

 

Can you count the pain? Can you balance the white sheets

Draped over prone bodies and heads?

Spectacle of the splinter, driving it in - oh so - deep.

Transformation of naïve innocence

In order to bear witness,

To say their names, ages, sisters, and their sins.

 

It all seems so insane yet so calculated, so fluid yet so proper.

What do you hang on to when the world is leaning

In sanctimonious excess

And you don’t know your own hands, your own head

And compromise is the only position your body knows?

 

The impunity of the inarticulable violence that stalks our dreams,

That lifts each foot each step, away, yet still touching, holding on

Movement without a hope, spinning tops waiting to fall.

Ignoring the face of this place,

Which smells oily and law-like in its shame,

We dream gaps into being so that we,

Never filling but always falling,

Might run into them.

 

More Recent Posts

 

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