Power and Progress on the Prairie
Colloquium | October 22 | 4-5:30 p.m. | Shorb House, Latinx Research Center
Tom Biolsi, Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley
This talk will be based on Prof. Biolsis recently published book, Power and Progress on the Prairie, which traces the history of modernization, improvement, or progress on Rosebud Reservation. The central question of the book is how ideas about making things better were invented and applied to the peopleboth Indian and whiteand the land. The cases examined include plans to civilize Indians and modernize farmers; to rationally manage agricultural production and land-use; to mitigate environmental problems; to rationalize plans for nuclear war to increase the likelihood of national survival; and to extend voting rights to Lakota people. Each of these plans or programs is an example of what Biolsi calls governing. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault on governmentality, the book aims to understand how problems requiring correction came into public focus, or were actively made by experts with remedies or solutions in search of problems to fix.