Beenash Jafri, Dickinson College | Newberry

Beenash Jafri, Dickinson College

Friday, April 5, 2019

3 to 5pm

Gender and Sexuality Seminar

Reframing Suicide: Queer Diasporic and Indigenous Imaginaries

What can narratives of suicide tell us about diasporic and Indigenous relationships to the white settler state? This paper places queer scholarship on futurity in conversation with critical ethnic studies scholarship on relationality to examine trans/femme/bisexual South Asian Canadian filmmaker Vivek Shraya’s short film, I want to kill myself (2017), and queer Cree/Metis filmmaker Adam Garnet Jones’ feature film, Fire Song 2015). Both films challenge the spectacularity of suicide, effectively situating suicide on a continuum of “slow death.” However, the films also stage distinct relationships between suicide, community, and the state that emerge from diasporic and Native positionalities within a white settler society. Whereas Shraya’s diasporic struggle with suicide is alleviated by forging community within settler spaces, Fire Song counters pathologizing depictions of reserve communities by emphasizing the revivification of Indigenous practices and their refusal of settler logics.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Scholarly Seminars papers are pre-circulated. For a copy of the paper, email Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.