Monday, March 13, 2017

Johnson on Cultural Representations of an Inuit Child Abandoment Case

Rebecca Johnson, University of Victoria Faculty of Law, has posted Justice and the Colonial Collision: Reflections on Stories of Intercultural Encounter in Law, Literature, Culture and Film, which appeared in No Foundations: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice 9 (2012): 68-96:
In this paper, I explore the Canadian national imagination of Justice and Indigenous-Settler relations through an exploration of the case R v. Kikkik, a high profile trial from the 50s involving an Inuit woman accused of both murder and child abandonment. In particular, I ask what might be learned about both colonization and justice through exploring how this tale was told through 4 genres: the trial transcripts; a narrative account in a best-selling book; three Inuit sculptures; and a documentary film. Set alongside each other, these different texts make visible the many challenges for the legal imagination as it seeks to do justice at the encounter of settler and indigenous legal orders. Each genre of story, with its enabling and limiting conditions, provides us with a different field of vision. Taking inspiration from James Clifford’s work on juxtaposition (Clifford 1988, 10), the recasting and repositioning of those stories alongside each other can better help us understand how, in the space of intercultural encounter, we are both caught in and implicated in the stories of the other.

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