We acknowledge that we live and work on unceded Indigenous territories and we thank the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations for their hospitality.
Leslie Robertson is an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. She joined BC Studies as editor in July 2016. Broadly, Leslie’s research examines the circulation of forms of social knowledge (public histories, academic theories and representations, colonial legends, medical discourses), in sensitive political and cultural contexts (settler colonialism, medical crises, resource extraction, tourism development).
Primary ethnographic projects include research on: indigenous and settler historiographies; colonial regimes of difference, spectacle and narrative; and political histories of resistance in settler nations. As well, Leslie explores forms of power and representation in the context of urban marginalization (drug use, sex work, health, and violence). She has conducted ethnographic, ethno-historical and applied research and coordinated a number of regional oral history projects with members of settler communities and First Nations in Western Canada. She is interested in community-based research, community-generated methodologies, and collaborative forms of ethnographic writing.
Her recent research focuses on the afterlife of historical colonialism, how people from diverse cultural and social locations inhabit their histories, the imaginative resources they draw upon to speak about them, and the role of anthropology in translating and interpreting them. This includes attention to social projects linked to First Nations’ goals of self-determination: the re-inhabitance of histories and territories, naming practices, traditional food activism, and cultural impact research. Leslie has developed a critical interest in community-generated and collaborative methodologies.
She is a senior fellow in the Successful Societies research group, funded by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. This group is engaged in a long-term, interdisciplinary study of inequality, its causes and implications.
She recently completed a collaborative book manuscript, co-written with a Sliammon Elder and her grand-daughter. The book is a first-person, "told-to" narrative of Sliammon teachings and her own life experiences. Paige is now engaged with the next phrase of this SSHRC-funded project which, in partnership with a Mellon Foundation-funded UBC Press project, entails the development of a digital, multi-media companion book intended for use as curriculum in elementary and high schools.
She is simultaneously working on a study of two late-twentieth-century relocations of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation on Vancouver Island. This work considers the impact of these moves on the physical and social health of the community, and provides a window onto the twentieth-century transformations that have characterized many Indigenous peoples along the coast and throughout British Columbia. An essay based on this research appeared in the April 2018 issue of Comparative Studies in Society and History.