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Pluriversalizing prayer: epistemologies of resistance to extractivism (book chapter, eds. Marcos Scauso and Gabriella Colello, forthcoming)

Abstract: Despite the use of prayer in resistance efforts to environmental injustices and ongoing settler occupation of Indigenous lands, prayer has received limited attention from relational and pluriversal scholarship. Scholarship on relational ontologies is useful here, as the act of praying necessitates the engagement of pluralism across worlds. This chapter draws from autoethnographic fieldwork in Manitoba, Canada, and prayers for human-environmental reciprocity, to explore the ways in which prayer can be used as both an act of surrender and resistance to the epistemologies of hierarchical neoliberal knowledge economies which seek, or perhaps even claim to, know all. Prayer, for interlocutors, in contrast, begins with an act of surrender and a reimagination of the bounds of the neoliberal Self in relation to the Sacred, land, and community. While Christianity has been utilized (and continues to be utilized by some) as a tool for settler-colonial land theft through various modes of physical and epistemic violence, pluriversal scholarship will benefit from further exploration into the ways in which prayer is used through an emancipatory framework by interlocutors to build relationships across difference and to reimagine settler relationships with land. Continuing to ignore the importance of prayer in resistance efforts to environmental harms as entrenched in legacies of settler-colonialism, in addition to reifying the neoliberal subject as singular and devoid of other-worldly relations, can serve as a tool of epistemic violence.

Photo: Aguanga, California. Fall 2020

by: me!

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"Wedding of the Classes at Mississippi State College for Women," Merge, vol. 2, Mississippi University for Women: spring 2018.

Photo: Depiction of the Junior-Freshman Wedding, shared via Facebook by The Mississippi University for Women's Beulah Culbertson Archives and Special Collections, Fant Library

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