Conference CfP: Mass Violence and its Lasting Impact on Indigenous Peoples

Badema Pitic Discussion
 Call for PapersInternational Conference
 Mass Violence and Its Lasting Impact on Indigenous Peoples -
The Case of the Americas and Australia/Pacific Region

 October 12-14, 2020 (Monday – Wednesday)University of Southern California, Los Angeles


The organizers of the international conference “Mass Violence and Its Lasting Impact on Indigenous Peoples - The Case of the Americas and Australia/Pacific Region” invite scholars and knowledge holders to submit proposals for papers, panels, posters, and alternative forms of presentation related to the theme of the conference. 

The conference, which is co-sponsored by the Indigenous Knowledge Institute of the University of Melbourne (Australia), will be hosted by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and take place at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, which sits on the traditional land of the Tongva/Gabrieliño People. The conference will commence on October 12, 2020, Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  

The conference will provide a forum for leading and emerging scholars and knowledge holders from around the world to present groundbreaking research on the topics of genocide against Indigenous peoples (especially in North America, Latin America, and Australia/Pacific Region), the long-lasting impacts of mass violence on those communities, and their resistance, agency, and initiatives to effect change. The objective of the conference is to foster an international, interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue on these subjects, across a variety of historical, cultural, and geographic contexts. By convening international experts, preferably from Indigenous peoples, the conference will stimulate discovery and debate about the common dynamics, patterns, and features of colonial/postcolonial violence and its aftermath, as well as the specificities and unique factors that shaped the manifestations and effects of and reactions to that violence in each community. It also aims to shed light on lesser-known and under-researched instances and aspects of genocidal violence against Indigenous peoples. Contributions taking comparative approaches between violence against different Indigenous nations, tribes and communities, and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cases are also encouraged.

The conference will focus on cases of genocidal violence and its aftermath in contexts as diverse as genocide and mass violence against the Maya in Guatemala; Native Americans in the United States; Indigenous peoples in Canada; Aboriginal peoples in Australia; Maori in New Zealand, and others.

The organizers invite proposals on a range of subjects, including (but not limited to): 

1) Challenges to the traditional concept and definition of genocide, in light of the recognition of colonial genocides, and distinctions between genocide, war, mass violence and colonial expansion. 

2) Dimensions and impacts of cultural genocide, such as destruction of languages and cultural and religious practices; boarding and residential schools for Indigenous children; other measures of forced assimilation of children into non-Indigenous communities (such as the “sixties scoop” in Canada and Australia’s Stolen Generations); forced relocations of communities; the forced transfer of human remains, sacred cultural objects and artifacts to museums, research institutions and universities, and others. 

3) Intersections between colonial violence, gender and race. 

4) Long-lasting, trans-generational impacts of colonial violence, such as personal and collective trauma and manifestations of systemic and institutional racism against Indigenous peoples (restricted access to healthcare, education, and other resources; mass incarceration and high suicide rates; environmental racism and ecological destruction; gender-based violence, including the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 2SLGBTQQIA, and others). 

5) Legal dimensions of past and contemporary Indigenous land claims and treaties between Indigenous nations and colonial states.

6) Forms of individual and collective resistance against mass violence and its lasting impact, including petitions, public protest and art.

7) Indigenous-centered pedagogies, healing practices, cultural expressions, storytelling, and testimony as ways of combating or addressing the legacies of colonial violence and systemic racism.

8) Return of land and other resources and the repatriation of human remains, sacred/cultural objects and artifacts from museums, research institutions, private collections and universities. 

9) Issues around cultural, political, and economic Indigenous resurgence, self-empowerment, and sovereignty.

Proposal submissions can be for fully constituted panels, individual papers, and posters. The organizers also encourage proposals for alternative forms and methods of presentation. 

panel proposal should consist of three papers and a respondent, or four papers and a moderator. It also should include a panel title, a brief description of the full session (up to 150 words), abstracts for each paper (up to 300 words each), and short biographical notes for each presenter (up to 150 words each). 

An individual paper proposal should include a title, an abstract (up to 300 words), and a short biographical note (up to 150 words). Those papers will be coordinated into panels by conference organizers. 

poster (or an alternative form of presentation) proposal should include a title, an abstract (up to 300 words), and a short biographical note for each participant (up to 150 words each).

The mandate of the conference stems from the recommendations of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The organizers particularly encourage and support the participation of Indigenous scholars, knowledge holders, and other members of communities that have been affected by colonial violence. 

In addition to keynote presentations and scholarly panels, the conference schedule will include cultural programming, such as film screenings, music and dance performances. 

The conference will be live-streamed, so that scholars and community members around the world can watch and participate via social media. Recordings of the conference will be available to watch online afterwards.

Submission deadline: January 15, 2020

To support presentations at the conference, funding for travel and accommodation is available upon request for selected scholars, knowledge holders, and members of affected communities who might not otherwise be able to attend (including junior scholars and scholars without university affiliation or from universities with inadequate resources).

Conference organizers: Lorena Fontaine (University of Winnipeg, Canada), Dorota Glowacka (University of King's College, Halifax, Canada), Wolf Gruner, (USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Los Angeles), Irma A. Velásquez Nimatuj (Guatemala/Stanford University), and Lyndon Ormond-Parker (University of Melbourne, Australia), who will serve as head of the conference’s subcommittee on repatriation. Conference organizers will be assisted by an advisory committee to be composed of Indigenous experts in the field.

Proposals should be submitted to All applicants will be informed of the decision regarding their participation in the conference by April 15, 2020. 

For further information, please contact:

The conference's organizing committee is currently identifying strategic partners to contribute to funding, supporting, and promoting the conference. Interested parties are invited to contact the Center at