In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Other Intimacies: Black Studies Notes on Native/Indigenous Studies
  • Chad Infante (bio), Sandra Harvey (bio), Kelly Limes Taylor (bio), and Tiffany King (bio)

In 2015, we began assembling a dialogue among Black identified scholars committed to research focusing on Black diasporan people about how Black Studies might approach Native and Indigenous Studies. Tiffany Lethabo King reached out to Shona Jackson, Melanie Newton, Faye Yarborough, Tiya Miles, Chad Infante, Shanya Cordis, Sandra Harvey, and Kelly Limes Taylor to think about how to have this conversation.1 A few of us were able to sustain conversations over email about convening at the American Studies Association (ASA) and Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) conferences. Over email and in digital space, we made suggestions about scholars to include, thought about questions that needed to be posed, and set goals for how to sustain a long-term conversation and build a community of scholars.

In 2019, Shanya Cordis, Sandra Harvey, Chad Infante, Shona Jackson, Tiffany King, and Kelly Limes-Taylor submitted a panel to ASA’s 2019 conference in Hawaii. After a series of emails, we named our roundtable “Other Intimacies: Black Studies Notes on Native/Indigenous Studies.” We thank Sandra Harvey for framing our thinking about the kinds of relationships and conversations we desired to have with Native and Indigenous studies as a kind of “other intimacy.” After careful drafting and redrafting (we are so grateful to Shona Jackson) we submitted the following proposal:

Recent attention to the ways that anti-Blackness, Indigenous genocide, and settler colonialism shape and inform one another have given rise to generative scholarship, conversations, and political work at the critical juncture of Black and Native/Indigenous Studies. This robust exchange has happened at the same time that settler colonial studies, as a discourse and field, has become the lingua franca in the academy for talking about social relations under the violent conditions of extermination, settlement, displacement, and migration. In reflecting on the unique ways that Black Studies has historically grappled with and continues to engage questions of Indigeneity, sovereignty, settlement, and nation alongside its sustained attention to diaspora, the roundtable participants address the ways in which settler colonial studies has opened up and closed off avenues between Indigenous and Black Studies, both of which have “grammars” that are often overshadowed by it. The participants on this panel discuss ‘what can be learned’ if the specific ways that Black Studies—a geographically, theoretically and politically diverse practice—has engaged and is engaging Native/Indigenous Studies is taken seriously. The panelists seek to engage Black Studies at both its points of entanglement with Native/Indigenous studies, and its points of closure.2

During the roundtable, the panel sought to reflect on the following questions:

  1. 1. What particular genealogies, methodologies, traditions/practices, and scholars within Black Studies have been generative for engaging theoretical and conceptual concerns within Native/Indigenous Studies?

  2. 2. What are some limitations to the aforementioned approaches?

  3. 3. How has settler colonialism as a theoretical framework shaped discussion between Black Studies and Native/Indigenous Studies? What are the possibilities and limitations of this point of departure?

  4. 4. What can theories of sovereignty that have emerged in Black Studies contribute to a mutual conversation/movement for decolonization and abolition?

  5. 5. How have Black Studies’ conceptualizations and critiques of the “nation” and the “state” been in conversation with Native/Indigenous theorists’?

  6. 6. What might be opened up in Black Studies when we focus attention on the notion and histories of indigeneity as much as we do or in conjunction with the theme of diaspora?

  7. 7. How do Black Studies and Native Studies attend to each other with care? For example, how do we honor Black and Indigenous people particularly when focusing on violence and Black and Indigenous people’s bodies?

  8. 8. How do we move forward/keep momentum?

We proposed, adjusted, and revised questions as a group. Some of the questions emerged from the intellectual labor and scholarly investments of specific participants. For instance, questions four and six, which inquire about Black theories of sovereignty and a refocus of attention from diaspora to indigeneity, were posed by Sandra Harvey. Harvey responds to these questions in elegant and prodding ways that...

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