Speaker: Natalie Seif, PhD Student, School of Languages and Cultures

Natalie is a PhD student in the School of Languages and Cultures. Her Honours thesis was a decolonial reading of Spanish-English translanguaging in Junot Díaz’ novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007). Her broader research interests include Spanish and Latin American literature, decolonial thought, bilingualism, and diaspora. Her current research employs decolonial thought in exploring non-fiction depictions of southern Chile’s Indigenous Kawésqar culture.

Topic: Exploring shifting depictions of Kawésqar society in twentieth and twenty-first century writings: Towards a decolonial approach

The Kawésqar people are a traditionally seafaring Indigenous group from western Patagonia in Chile. While there is generally a considerable amount of research on Patagonia and topics associated with its Indigenous peoples, there remains a relative lack of attention lent to the Kawésqar people and more specifically, their depictions across history. Few books dedicated to Kawésqar culture exist, but of these, most offer a wealth of information on, and analysis of, different facets of traditional life.

In this seminar, I present on my thesis topic post-Confirmation. My project is an inquiry into the representations contained in twentieth and twenty-first century non-fiction texts about Kawésqar society. The Spanish-language corpus comprises two anthropological studies (Spanish texts translated from French and German), and three ethnographies that incorporate Kawésqar story collections. It is anticipated that analysis will reveal the ways in which the structures of coloniality and decoloniality can be read in the books, and how this reflects a shift in representation across a period stretching from the early to mid-twentieth century up to the early twenty-first century. In other words, my decolonial readings stand to articulate how the authors and contributors—over the course of a century—conceive of and define the Kawésqar worldview, and, by extension, what this communicates about the lines of thinking at the core of their own worldviews.

The seminar will be held in-person in room 32-312 however there is also the option to login via Zoom, ID number 83579432569.

About Studies in Culture Seminar Series

Through the scholarly analysis of many different kinds of cultural products, texts and phenomena, Studies in Culture brings together researchers who seek to understand how the world is understood differently by people coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Researchers in this cluster work on literature, film, music, theatre, the visual arts, intangible heritage, testimonies and historical narratives.

Research in Studies in Culture within the School centres around four broad sub-themes of Heritage, memory and trauma studies; Intellectual and cultural history; Literature; and Film and visual cultures.

To view more on the research and interests of the Studies in Culture cluster, please click here.


Gordon Greenwood Building #32