John Borrows, University of Minnesota Law School

Physical Philosophy: Mobility and Indigenous Peoples

Mon, 02/07/2011
4:30 PM, Library Lounge, Bendheim Center for Finance
Event Category: 

Please join us for a LAPA Seminar with John Borrows, for a discussion of "Physical Philosophy: Mobility and Indigenous Peoples."  His commentator will be Anna Stilz.

An electronic copy of Professor Borrows's paper is available upon email request (, or you may pick up a hard copy during regular business hours in 416A Robertson Hall.

As always, the LAPA format asks that seminar participants familiarize themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator will open the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion. The author then has the right of first response before we open to the floor for questions. The seminar will end with a brief reception in the Library Lounge at the Bendheim Center
for Finance
, giving everyone a chance to mingle and meet.

Professor Borrows writes, "Indigenous peoples have always been philosophically and physically mobile, and this is the case today. Unfortunately, state law and policy often manipulates or ignores Indigenous mobility because such practices contest the limits of contemporary political thought relating to Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples are denied space in contemporary political life if they move too frequently. Conversely, if they move too little freedom can also be diminished. This result impedes advancement in other matters of crucial importance. This paper will explore the implications of Indigenous mobility for law and policy in Canada and the United States."

John Borrows is a leading scholar and teacher in indigenous, constitutional, and environmental law. He has written and spoken on such issues as aboriginal legal rights and traditions, treaties and land claims, and religion and the law. A member of Ontario’s Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and Anishinabe, he has worked with and for Indigenous peoples in many countries. Among his most recent publications are Aboriginal Legal Issues: Cases, Materials & Commentary; Canadian Constitutional Law (with Joel Bakan, Sugit Choudrhy, et al); and Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law. Professor Borrows joined the Law School from the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, where he was a professor and Law Foundation Chair in Aboriginal Justice since 2001. He also has been a visiting professor at Brigham Young University, Dalhousie Law School, the University of Waikato Law School in New Zealand, the University of New South Wales in Australia, and Arizona State University, where he was acting executive director of the Indian Legal Program.

Anna Stilz is assistant professor of politics at Princeton University. She is a political theorist whose research interests include: the history of political thought (particularly the 17th-18th centuries); nationalism; political obligation, authority, and state legitimacy; rights to territory; and theories of collective agency. Stilz's first book, Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State was published by Princeton University Press in 2009. She has also published articles in Ethics (forthcoming), History of European Ideas, International Theory, Journal of Political Philosophy, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and Policy and Society. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Stilz earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Prior to coming to Princeton, she was a faculty member at Columbia University for two years, and a postdoctoral fellow at Freie Universität Berlin for a year before that.