Wounded Subjects: White Settler Nationals in Toronto G20 Resistance Narratives
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This project engages theories of settler colonialism, biopower, and the state of exception to analyze the operations of rights-based narratives of citizenship in relation to political dissent in Canada. I argue that a normalized state of exception founds the white supremacist, settler colonial state, bringing Canadian citizenship into being as a (white) racialized, (cis)gendered, and (hetero)sexualized construct. By examining “resistance narratives” about the Toronto G20 that emerged in the post-G20 climate, my work argues that, in treating the policing practices employed during the G20 as exceptional and in (re)producing the exaltation of white heterosexual cis-masculine citizens, these narratives normalize and reinforce the daily operations of the exception, which targets Indigenous, racialized, and other “Others” in Canada. Finally, my work critically engages with the space of the Eastern Detention Centre (EDC) as a temporary camp set up to detain G20 arrestees, and with the narrative of “Torontonamo” that emerged to describe and explain the EDC. Reading the EDC in the context of other spatial organizations of the exception in Canada, I argue that the “Torontonamo” narrative reasserts race thinking in relation to the normalized operations of the exception. In so doing, it (re)produces white citizen-subjects as the proper recipients of national and international human rights, while abandoning racialized populations to the space of the camp. Ultimately, my work writes against the hegemonic view of the Toronto G20 as an exceptional event in Canadian history. I contend that G20 policing practices were only a hyper-visible example of the normalized operations of the exception within settler colonialism.