UW Graduate School

Kim TallBear

Kim TallBearJessie and John Danz Lecturer

  • Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment and Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta

April 24, 2019  |   7:30 p.m.
Kane Hall, room 120

Why is Sex a “Thing”? Making Good Relations for a Decolonial World

Settler-colonial states like the US and Canada developed based on theories of what is “natural” and the practice of faith in private property. Both concepts were and continue to be violent toward Indigenous peoples, people of African descent, women, children, the differently abled, queer people, and others. Nature and property are key to how settler society conceptualizes and manages sexuality.

Kim TallBear, also known as the Critical Polyamorist, explains how the very notion of sexuality, like the idea of nature, makes webs of relations into objects to be controlled. She draws on Indigenous ideas to offer alternative ideas for disaggregating this thing we call sex into practices of being in “good relation.” Ironically, a more sex-liberated society is a society in which we create more consensual and better “sex” without necessarily calling it sex at all.

About Kim TallBear

Kim TallBear is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta. She is also a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellow. She is the author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science. Dr. TallBear founded the Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society research group at the University of Alberta, which works with scholars across Canada and globally to foreground Indigenous governance of science and technology projects. Building on lessons learned about how settler states engage in biological colonialism, Dr. TallBear also studies the colonization of Indigenous sexuality. She combines anthropological approaches with community-based research, arts-based research, and performance. She co-produces the Edmonton decolonial sexy storytelling show, Tipi Confessions, modeled on the popular Austin, Texas show, Bedpost Confessions. Tipi Confessions has appeared in cities across Canada Shows are planned for the US and New Zealand. Dr. TallBear is a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. Follow her work and that of her research groups at www.IndigenousSTS.com and www.tipiconfessions.com. She also blogs at www.criticalpolyamorist.com. You can follow her on Twitter @KimTallBear and @CriticalPoly.

Sponsoring Departments

  • UW Graduate School
  • Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Comparative History of Ideas