fbpx Bureaucratizing Settler Colonialism: Race, Labor, and the Origins of the Bureau of Reclamation | Harvard Kennedy School
This event has passed

Date and Location

April 18, 2022
12:15 PM - 1:30 PM EST



​Abstract: This presentation examines
global imperial processes in the spaces of the “local”  to critically analyze US Bureau of Reclamation policy. As a mammoth government agency charged with “reclaiming” and “rehabilitating” landscapes coded as the “waste lands of the American West”
at the turn of the 20th century, the Bureau ushered in a new regime of continental capitalist enclosure modeled explicitly from imperial modernization campaigns abroad. To tell the history of the Bureau, I focus on a single Reclamation project
located in the northwest corner of California, called Tule Lake: the historical site of the Modoc War, a Depression-Era Civilian Conservation Corp Camp, a World War II Japanese American Internment Camp, a short-term Bracero Labor Camp, and, ultimately, a postwar Homesteading Project open exclusively to veterans.  Through a survey of the site’s uses between 1903 and 1990, I center the landscape
as its own material witness—a palimpsest of overlapping  imperial hauntings—in order to isolate, and then define, the overlapping social imaginaries that fueled settler-colonial projects well into the late 20th century.  Unlike most state-centered histories
of Reclamation that privilege the optics of the national over that of the local, I offer instead an analysis of the ways imperialist and settler colonial ideologies are materialized at the scale of the everyday, and inscribed on laboring bodies and laboring landscapes, alike.

Zoom Registration Link:  https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYqc-qupzMsH9RolLX6qRxB76EBVgyx0xvw

Speakers and Presenters

Nicole Sintetos, Brown, Harvard STS


Additional Organizers

​Harvard STS, WCFIA