Territorialization, science and the colonial state: the case of Highway 55 in Minnesota
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Citation:Joel Wainwright and Morgan Robertson, "Territorialization, science and the colonial state: the case of Highway 55 in Minnesota," Cultural Geographies 10, no. 2 (2003): 196-217. doi:10.1191/1474474003eu269oa
This paper examines a recent conflict over the rerouting of Highway 55 in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. During a three-year struggle over the project, a group of indigenous people argued that the space where the highway would pass was sacred and of historical importance. We analyse a Cultural Resource Assessment prepared by a team of scientists that responded to these claims and cleared the way for the reroute. Our reading, which draws from the literatures of postcolonial studies and sociology of science, examines the way scientific claims are made to evaluate the sacredness of the site. We find that science works to produce the effect of state territorialization - or the iterative making of the space of the state - by placing ecological phenomena and indigenous testimony 'within' a non-sacred Minnesotan space.
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