CFP: The Indigenous Nineteenth Century

The Indigenous Nineteenth Century

 4-5 June 2024, University of Kent


Professor Chris Andersen (Métis, University of Alberta), Professor David Stirrup (University of York) and Métis community members: ‘”On the trail of Alexander Isbister: 19th Century Métis Nationhood in Motion”

The Victorian Diversities Research Network, in collaboration with the Centre for Indigenous and Settler Colonial Studies (CISCS) are pleased to announce a two-day AHRC-funded symposium: ‘The Indigenous Nineteenth Century.’ With the aim of producing new, interdisciplinary scholarship, anti-colonial research methodologies and critical interventions that re-indigenise the nineteenth-century archive and scholarly approaches to it, this two-day, hybrid symposium is accompanied by two publication opportunities: a special issue of the journal Transmotion and an edited collection to be published by Palgrave. The work of indigenising the nineteenth-century colonial archive is well under way, and this symposium aims to bring together scholars, writers, artists, curators and educators in literary studies, Indigenous studies, museum studies, library studies, and historical research areas to discuss the pleasures and problematics of (re)indigenising the colonial archive.

The historical archives of imperial and colonial settlement are founded on what Mohawk scholar Audra Simpson has theorised as a foundational mis-recognition, a philosophical refusal to see Indigenous peoples’ cultures and lifeways outside of pre-conceived Eurocentric frameworks. The violence these archives do to First Nations people is ongoing. Literature and the creative arts can offer a space to interrogate the racialised-archive and its role in forming national, colonial and imperial identities. However, as Narungga woman, poet and scholar Natalie Harkin has highlighted, the wounds created by the epistemic violence of the archive still bleed. It is this problematic that this symposium proposes to investigate. The organisers therefore welcome 20 minute research papers, position papers and creative/critical interventions on the following themes:

1) Alternative archives: nineteenth-century Indigenous cultural production including treaties, petitions, letters, life writing, travel writing, novels and poetry, song culture, storytelling, material culture.

2)Colonisation and knowledge production: colonial archives and the challenges of recovering Indigenous voices from within them. Decolonial approaches to colonial archives, methodologies for addressing gaps and absences in the archive, settler-Indigenous collaborations, Indigenous language loss and revitalisation.

3)Creative-critical forms of historical writing that unsettle linear narratives and disrupt hegemonic perspectives. These can include life writing; historical novels; ‘critical fabulation’ (Hartman) and speculative history; histories of Indigenous political formations and resistance movements.

4)Contemporary literary and artistic responses by Indigenous cultural producers that seek to remix, rewrite and reconstitute colonial history and artifacts.

5)Indigenising cultural institutions: curatorial practices, representation and decolonial museology.

Abstracts of 300 words and bios of 150 words for 20 minute papers or panels of 3-4 speakers should be submitted to . Creative and critical interventions that are outside the scope of the traditional research paper are very welcome. These might include ‘in conversation’ sessions, readings, performances and other types of practice-based intervention. If you can only attend online, please say so in your submission. Online sessions will be held on June 5thAll submissions should be made by 15 March 2024. Participants will be notified by the organisers of their acceptance and the outcome of any bursary applications by 28 March 2024.

In order to facilitate scholarly collaboration and cross-disciplinary conversation, we would like to invite as many people as possible to join us in Kent. To this end, we can offer six travel grants to ECR, precarious and Indigenous scholars travelling from within the UK and outside of the UK. The three UK based grants are worth up to £200 each and the three international grants are worth up to £1000 each. If you would like to be considered for one of these, please include a short expression of interest with your abstract submission. Priority will be given to those without access to institutional funding or coming from outside Europe.

This post has been re-published by permission from the
BAVS Postgraduates Blog
. Please see the original post at