Beyond the Violence of Colonial Civility: The Art of Raven Davis


Haiven, Max. 2017. “Beyond the Violence of Colonial Civility: The Art of Raven Davis.” In The Art of Civil Action, edited by Pascal Gielen and Philip Dietachmair, 115–36. Amsterdam: Valiz.


“At issue here is the way the legacies of genocidal settler-colonialism leads to a cultural politics in which ‘civility’, ‘civilization’, and ‘civil society’ continue to function as keywords of power. Particularly, they are keywords by which the project of the state, which has now wedded a logic of settler-colonial extractive capitalism to one of multicultural neoliberalism, built racialized and racializing allegiances with citizens and civil society.23 The myth of Canadian ‘civility’, the patrimony of a European ‘civilization’ and the alleged freedom of liberal ‘civil society’ all work to erase not only the decidedly uncivil and violent history and present of Canadian settler-colonialism, but a history and present of racial- ized exploitation and oppression of non-white people as well. It also serves to smuggle these violent Canadian traditions into the present under the blanket of a set of unimpeachable euphemisms. These terms create an often invisibilized matrix of cultural power that normalizes the economic, social and cultural reality of a nation still very much organized around settler-colonialism and racialized oppression and exploitation.”