'Compulsory monogamy' a result of 'colonialism,' says UChicago speaker

She asserts that society's disposal toward monogamy is a result of colonialism.

A visiting professor at the University of Chicago spoke on “compulsory monogamy.”

A University of Alberta professor spoke at the University of Chicago on Feb. 10 and blamed colonialism for society's embrace of “compulsory monogamy.’ 

Kim TallBear, an associate professor of Native Studies, gave a lecture entitled, “Settler Love is Breaking My Heart” which detailed her theory that societal preference for monogamy is a result of “settler-colonialism.” 

According to the Chicago Maroon, Tallbear dedicated her lecture to “the many humans suffering [from] profound loneliness within their monogamous relationships, or due to other deprivation stemming from a compulsory monogamy structure.”

In her lecture, TallBear relayed that she had faced the monogamous struggles as she herself was married, calling her own experience of being married one of “squeezing myself into the box of a normative marriage” as the “hardest thing I have done.” 

TallBear continued, saying that although she and her husband had ended their intimate relationship, they were still legally married. She cited their marital status as proof of the advantages of state-sanctioned marriage.

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TallBear said, “Perhaps we also stay legally married because, within the settler-colonial system, state-sanctioned marriage, whether secular or ceremonial, provides benefits that make it easier to sustain kinship networks.” TallBear went on to assert that such benefits should be “untethered” from a legal, monogamous marriage. 

Besides being an associate professor, TallBear has a blog called "The Critical Polyamorist," which examines different aspects of “ethical non-monogamy.” Her site includes topics such as “Christianity and Polyamory,” “Colonialism and Polyamory,” “Family and Polyamory,” and “Professionalism and Polyamory.”

TallBear’s most recent podcast, posted on her site from 2019, is entitled, “Decolonizing Sex.” She also wrote an article in 2019 for Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, entitled, “Caretaking Relations, Not American Dreaming,” which rejects “eurocentric hierarchies of life.” 

“It is key to surround yourself with community that will not shame you. Find the community that helps you be who/where you want to be. It’s easier for your community to change you then for you to go it alone. SELF actualization is settler individualist logic.” TallBear tweeted earlier this month.

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Just days before, the professor predicted the end of the United States, saying “...To be clear, I don’t think US empire will survive. But as it declines and desperate Americans get more fearful, they get louder like during the Indian wars to eliminate, displace & become us.” 

In response to the subject matter presented by TallBear to America’s young adults,  Concerned Women for America reiterated to Campus Reform its belief in the need to continue the “defense of family.” 

“God made marriage between a man and a woman and that is the foundation for monogamy, what we call marriage,” the group added.

Campus Reform has reported on campuses bringing other polyamorous speakers/events onto campus, including the Catholic institution DePaul University. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @carolinefshaver