On hope and resignation: conflicting visions of settler colonial studies and its future as a field
2020, 2020 The Institute of Postcolonial Studies. This article addresses the question: does (or should) settler colonial studies have a future as a unified or distinct 'field'? It does so via a consideration of two vigorous, but largely disconnected, areas of uptake and critique: American Studies and Indigenous Studies in North America; and within Australian historical scholarship. I argue that connecting these debates reveals the great diversity of a field that is often represented as decidedly singular-and typically equated with the individual scholarship of Patrick Wolfe. This characterisation elides the wealth of Indigenous studies scholarship that has constituted the field. J. Kēhaulani Kauanui's contention that settler colonial studies must simultaneously engage Indigenous studies to produce meaningful scholarship is thus a central focus. I particularly explore implications for my own scholarly areas of Indigenous and colonial history and emerging commentary advocating a return to history as a way out of impasses that currently confront the field. Given the competing visions of what settler colonial studies is or should be, ultimately I argue that the field may either disintegrate in the pursuit of singularity, or flourish in the embrace of its abundance and in the recognition of its limits and ethical obligations.