Alex Trimble Young Th e word “settler” tends to carry with it connotations both bu- colic and nostalgic. Even certain dictionary de nitions ar fi e at pains to remove it from the colonial circumstances in which it is most often employed. Th e Oxford Living Dictionary off ers a defi nition and sample sentences that exemplify the willful act of erasure at the heart of everyday understandings of the word: A person who settles in an area, typically one with no or few pre- vious inhabitants. “the settlers had come to America to look for land” “Jewish settlers” Th e fi eld of settler colonial studies has worked to undo the erasure performed by this defi nition by theorizing settler colonialism as a distinct structure of imperial domination defi ned by a genocidal project aimed primarily at seizing Native territory rather than ex- ploiting Native labor. Settler colonialism, in the United States and other settler societies around the globe, is a structure that must be dismantled in the present, rather than an event that can be con- signed to the historical past (Wolfe, “Settler Colonialism” 388). For settler colonial studies, “settler” names both the perpetrators and the benefi
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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