Call for Presentations: Matricultures and Warfare

Linnéa Rowlatt's picture

Call for Presentations

CASCA virtual conference 12-15 May 2021


The view that ‘War is a game for men’ has been declaimed with loud voices – yet the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk) people, widely acknowledged as the most fierce warriors of eastern North America, are a matriculture whose Clan Mothers nominate, install, and remove male Chiefs. The Haida, once known as the sea wolves of the Pacific Coast, are matrilineal, where personal identity is defined through one’s mother. The matriarchal Minangkabau of Indonesia militarily resisted Dutch colonization for almost fifteen years and, over a century later, launched a guerilla-based civil war against the Sukarno government. Scythian warriors of the Ancient period were women as well as men, since horse-riding largely negates the advantages of upper body strength. Clearly, these matricultural societies have not been strangers to war and violence, whether defensive or offensive, and many more examples could be provided.

What are the strategies, means, and types of warfare in which a matricultural society might engage? Among matricultural societies, who makes the social, cultural, and political decisions to engage in warfare, whether defensive or offensive? What have been the consequences of war for matricultures, including the enhancement or diminishment of status for women?

Taking matriculture as a cultural system in the classical Geertzian sense of the term, this panel explores the institutions and customs of warfare in matricultural societies, including societies where women go to war themselves, exercise military authority over men, or exercise the political authority to declare war (and end it). We seek to avoid the simplifications of gender stereotyping and take it as a given that some cultures have a weakly defined matricultural system, while others, who have strong matricultural systems, express this strength in several ways – one of which is through designating women as decision-makers for violent conflict or as active participants.

We invite presentations which present, analyze, or contextualize the historical or present-day military campaigns of matricultures and the social institutions which conduct them. We are interested in questions such as: What is the role for women in war when the the society at war has a flourishing matricultural system? More, how do women contribute to the processes of war? In what matricultures do women have the authority to declare war, or the freedom to become warriors if they so chose?

Possible presentations may include but are not limited to:

  • women warriors and/or women’s warrior societies, historical or contemporary

  • political authority as exercised by women in matricultures

  • social institutions of matricultures where women exercise military power

  • the role of women in strategies of engaging and/or disengaging with external conflicts

  • the status of men and their relationships to women in martial matricultures

Abstract submissions are invited of 250 words maximum.

Convenor: Linnéa Rowlatt (Network on Culture)

Submission deadline: 27 January 2021

Abstract submissions should be sent to Linnéa Rowlatt (


About the Global Matricultures Research Network (MatNet)

The Global Matricultures Research Network (MatNet) is a project of the International Network for Training, Education, and Research in Culture (Network on Culture) and, specifially, is an international network for research based on Marie-Françoise Guédon’s concept of matriculture. That is, as a cultural system in the classical Geertzian sense within which the experiences and expressions of women are primary.

Similar to other cultural systems such as art, religion, or mathematics, employing the heuristic of matriculture allows for, among other things: cross-cultural comparisons; fresh insights into the social roles of women, men, children, and the entire community of humans, animals, and the environment; or renewed understandings of historically mis-labelled cultures. With Guédon’s work in mind, then, and based on Geertzian principles, the concept of matriculture is both a model of reality by rendering the structure of matricultures apprehensible and a model for reality, where psychological relationships are organized under its guidance. MatNet encourages and supports research which explores, evaluates, re-evaluates, and interprets global cultures from this perspective.

For more information about MatNet, visit our webpage at