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The Trans/National Terrain of Anishinaabe Law and Diplomacy

  • Author(s): Bauerkemper, Joseph
  • Stark, Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik
  • et al.
Abstract

The extensive and enduring commitments to nationhood within Native American Studies have unsurprisingly engendered in the field extensive and enduring resistance to transnational theoretical and methodological frameworks. This is largely because scholarly transnationalism fundamentally seeks to unmoor intellectual work from national(ist) affiliations. This, of course, directly contradicts the commitments to nationhood within Native Studies. Yet even while conventional transnational modes of critical inquiry present trajectories and objectives that threaten to undermine the core commitments of Native American Studies, the judicious use of particular aspects of conventional transnationalism and the development of innovative conceptions of transnationalism can serve the field.

While conventional transnationalism seeks to decenter the nation in any form—and therein maintains a strict opposition between nationalism and transnationalism—the mode of indigenous transnationalism that Bauerkemper and Stark propose decenters the settler-state while recentering Native nationhood. Maintaining Native American Studies’ commitments to nationhood, this mode of inquiry intentionally and self-consciously underscores the boundaries that distinguish Native nations as discrete polities. Through an analysis of Anishinaabe law and diplomacy, this mode of inquiry serves to lay the groundwork for recognizing the transnational flows of intellectual, cultural, economic, social, and political traditions between and across the boundaries of distinct yet often—though not always—allied and mutually amenable Native nations.

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