Relational Poverty Network and Profs. Sarah Elwood & Vicky Lawson featured in UW Today!

Two University of Washington geography professors are leading an effort with what might be considered a staggeringly ambitious goal — to reframe how poverty is perceived and studied around the world.

Victoria Lawson and Sarah Elwood are the co-founders of the UW-based Relational Poverty Network, a coalition of academic institutions and organizations around the United States and as far away as Europe, Asia and Africa. The network seeks to recast perceptions of poverty from something impacting others — what Lawson terms “this shiny object or person called the poor” — to a condition created by a complex web of societal relationships involving power and privilege.

It’s a sharp departure, they say, from the traditional view of poverty in the United States as resulting from people’s own decisions, rather than the effect of economic forces and structural inequality.

“There’s a tendency to blame the poor for their poverty,” Lawson said. “That’s the individualist explanation. There’s a lot of judgment.”

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Friday, May 22: Colloquium by our own Michelle Daigle

michelleMino-Bimaadiziwin: Food Sovereignty in Resurgent Indigenous Landscapes
Michelle Daigle
Omushkegowuk Cree, Constance Lake First Nation
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Washington

This presentation reframes the way sovereignty has been conceptualized within food sovereignty scholarship and activism by focusing on place-based Indigenous ontologies, laws and everyday lived practices in Anishinaabe communities in the Treaty 3 territory in Ontario. Specifically, I rethink food “sovereignty” through Anishinaabe laws on self-determination, expressed as “mino-bimaadiziwin” or “living the good life”. I argue that Indigenous food sovereignty is a form of anti-colonial politics resisting against colonial legacies and contemporary forms of colonialism reproduced through capitalist resource exploitation and industry-sponsored forms of state-making and development. At the same time, Indigenous food sovereignty is a form of social,cultural and political resurgence whereby Indigenous people are reclaiming their ancestral territories and regenerating their land-based practices. Through these embodied geographies of Indigenous resurgence, food sovereignty is understood not as a right to control and access over a territory defined by state-colonial imaginaries of space and time but a responsibility to their kin, the land.

Friday, May 22nd, 2015. 3:30—5:00 PM. Smith 304 Reception to follow: Smith 411 (AKA Student Lounge)