Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Tobin, Theresa

Second Advisor

Rivera-Berruz, Stephanie

Third Advisor

Melamed, Jodi


I examine the problem of how settler colonial countries such as Canada have defined what places are as well as how their meaning and importance is both generated and maintained. It is my thesis that settler understandings of place, specifically the way emotion and affect have served to reify settled place, are a foundational part of the structure of the settler colonial state and of the settler self. I track the ways in which settled senses of attachment to place are a mechanism of settler colonialism bent on elimination and disspossesion. That is, affective and emotional elements give fundamental structure to those senses of belonging and attachment from within a colonial structure and are themselves often occluded by forms of settled ignorance to the function of place-making. Further, this dissertation employs an ameliorative conceptual analysis of settler affects, specifically focusing on developing an account of the role of what I am calling emplaced affects play in the maintenance of the settler colonial state and on-going land theft from Indigenous peoples. I show that emotional responses to challenges of settler emplacement are not benign but political sites that exemplify both settler ignorance and settler privilege. The problem this research traces is thus not a definition of what place is, but, rather, how settler emotional attachments to place function politically to both structure place and ‘placed-identities.’ I argue that settler place-attachments are thus a crucial prong of the settler colonial system thus speaking to a lacuna in the philosophical literature on the function of affect in the maintenance of settler colonialism in Canada. The latter chapters of the dissertation examine two affective responses to challenges these place-attachments. Settled place-making and myths, once challenged, can result in affective responses such as settler fear and shame. I argue that these emotional tending-to of Canadian identity and land are evidence of the emotional mechanisms through which settler populations keep settler identity and place operational. The dissertation closes by thinking about the political and emotional commitments required by settler peoples who wish to disengage in both in the project of settler place-making and the affective re-making of settled identity ultimately arguing to begin to form the end of settler futures in the form of settler abolitionism.



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