Rowland Keshena Robinson

Assistant Professor

Areas of Specialization

  • Native American and Native Canadian Politics
  • Native Identity
  • Decolonization
  • Settler Colonialism
  • Critical Native, Structuralist, Postmodern, Marxist, & Decolonial Theory


BA in Anthropology (2010 Waterloo) | MA in Public Issues Anthropology (2011 Waterloo) | PhD in Sociology (2020 Waterloo)

Rowland Keshena Robinson (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. A member of the Menominee Nation of Wisconsin, he has lived and worked on the lands of the Menominee’s close kin the Anishinaabeg, as well as the Rotinonshón:ni, in what is now known as southern Ontario since 2005.

Raised on the island of Bermuda by his Menominee mother and Anglo-Bermudian father, he moved to Canada in 2005 to pursue undergraduate studies initially in the natural sciences before transitioning to the humanistic and social scientific disciplines. Following a period of time off after his MA he returned to Canada in 2014 to study for, and eventually receive, a PhD in sociology. His dissertation, entitled Settler Colonialism + Native Ghosts: An Autoethnographic Account of the Imaginarium of Late Capitalist/Colonialist Storytelling, pursued an indigenous, decolonial, and anthropological account of the formation, function, and circulation of Nativeness within the philosophical, racial, lego-political, semiotic, and narrative regimes of United States and Canadian settler colonialism.

Following the completion of his PhD he has worked on publications, including a chapter entitled “Diaspora, Settler Colonial Borders, and Indigenous Internationalism” in the forthcoming Wilfrid Laurier University Press Volume The Other Border (edited by Jasmin Habib and Jane Desmond). He also has in-progress co-authored projects with Dr Jasmin Habib of the Department of Political Science (“When There is No Outside: Writing Palestinian & Native North American Autoethnography”) and Brian Schram of the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies (“Haunted Revolutionaries: Aesthetic Politics and Ruptural Violence in the Post-Truth Era”). He is also presently working on a number of sole-authored pieces, including, but not limited to “Unmasking the Real of Recognition: Treaties and Rights as an Ideological Complex,” “Heidegger and Marx: Antisemitism, Coloniality, and the Grounds of Critique,” and “Escaping Settler Time: Native Cultural Production in the Era of Late Colonialism.” He has also written on the topic of fascism and anti-fascism in contemporary political discourse and activism, and the relationship of both to colonialism, settler colonialism, and decolonization.

Prior to joining the Department of Political Science full-time in the Summer of 2022 Rowland had previously worked as a sessional in the department, as well as in Global Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel University College, and Social Development Studies at Renison University College. He also taught in Indigenous Studies at St. Paul’s University College and served as the Coordinator of the Indigenous Studies Minor Program.


Within the disciplines that Rowland has been trained and worked (anthropology, sociology, political science, and indigenous studies) his interests are diverse and not always congruous or overlapping. Most immediately his work, as it developed out of his recent doctoral studies, concerns itself with the question of Native identity and the question of “Nativeness.” Within this his work considers questions ranging from formal state and legal definitions of Nativeness and Native self-conceptions of such, as well as more abstract concerns, such as the form and function of Native cultural production, what it means to be “authentically” Native, the ontological status of Nativeness within North America, the function of Nativeness as sign within systems of meaning-making, and the role of the conspicuous consumption of Nativeness (as identity, as cultural product, as ethical moment) within settler-colonial ideological and narrative circulations.

Beyond this, but still working within the same broad topic, his work also touches on, and is concerned with, questions of sovereignty and law, dispossession and territoriality, race and racialization, and the political economy of settler colonialism.

More generally, he also maintains long-standing interests in Marxist and postmodern/poststructuralist theory, and decolonial thought as it has emerged in recent decades from Latin America, the West Indies, Africa and the African Diaspora, and Native North America.

Office: HH 354
Phone: x41515