CfP (conference): Transitions in Matrilineal and Matricultural Systems: exploring changes in women’s power

Linnéa Rowlatt's picture
February 17, 2023 to March 17, 2023
Ontario, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies, Anthropology, Political History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, Sexuality Studies

Call for Oral Presentations

CASCA / AAA Joint Conference, 15 – 19 November 2023

Toronto, Canada

Session title: Transitions in Matrilineal and Matricultural Systems: exploring changes in women’s power

Modality: In-person

Chair: Linnéa Rowlatt (Network on Culture)

Deadline for Submission: Friday, 17 March 2023

Transitions in Matrilineal and Matricultural Systems: exploring changes in women’s power looks at transitions in the cultural systems which empower women, also known as matricultures. That is, we seek to examine the changing situations, dynamics, and possibilities in matricultural systems, from the communities who are strengthening or losing their matriculture to matricultural communities who are re-opening themselves to reclamations and re-definitions of gender, territory, and language. For instance, while Indigenous communities in Canada are reclaiming historically-accurate concepts of matriarchal power and what these mean for decolonizing their society, scholars in Nigeria are revealing a history of Ibo women’s rites of passage which were lost during Christianization. Mosuo women face profound colonial challenges from the federal government of China, sadly eroding their matriculture. Where a strong matriculture marks openness to a variety of sexualities, the tradition of two-spirit people is returning to a vibrant cultural presence, and some linguistic communities are examining their language for indicators of precolonial matricultural social structures.

We seek presentations which explore changes in matricultural systems around the world. Their increasing vibrancy or repression may be expressed through, among other things, more varieties or stricter limitations on social roles available for women, multiplying personal or sexual identities condoned or condemned, and newly-accepted or newly-forbidden definitions of womanhood. Some cultures even deny women the possibility of growth as a cultured human, while others place women at the core of cultural development (sometimes in partnership with men, sometimes alone). In these latter societies, women are culturally-accepted holders of power – whether social or cultural, or both - and the society can be understood as having a flourishing matriculture. We are looking for submissions which explore transitions in the experiences and/or expressions of women’s cultural systems: in other words, woman-centric cultural systems which are in transition today.

Topics may include and are not limited to the following:

  • political gains by women in matrilineal kinship systems

  • links between the role of women in matrilineal societies and women’s political authority

  • urban transformations in women’s household authority

  • strategies used by women in a strictly patriarchal society to find their humanity and, therefore, construct the rudiments of matriculture

  • colonial efforts to erode contemporary or historical matricultures

  • linguistic or other cultural endeavours which strengthen matricultures

  • trajectory of matrilineality when moved to an urban setting and/or a state society

  • traces of transition of matriculture in artwork (any media)

  • impact of patriarchal religion on matricultural societies

  • new religious movements which centralize feminine deities or supernatural entities

For further information about the conference, here is the AAA/CASCA 2023 webpage (; note that some pages of the website are currently under construction.

Please note: AAA/CASCA membership or conference registration is not required at time of submission. However, all participants must have or create profiles in the AAA Community Hub (AAA's membership and registration database: in order to be listed on submissions. All individuals accepted onto the program will be required to become a member of either CASCA or AAA (or secure a waiver) and pay registration by Friday, September 8 by 11:59 PM Eastern.

To submit a proposal: To join this session of oral, in-person presentations, forward an expression of interest and an abstract of 50 - 250 words to coordinator Linnéa Rowlatt at Submission of the session as a whole will be made by the coordinator (there is no need for individual submissions).

Please note that, to our regret, MatNet is unable to offer funding for conference participation. There may be funds available through the American Anthropological Association.

Deadline for submissions: Friday, 17 March 2023

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, specifically, 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.

For more information about MatNet, visit our webpage at

Contact Info: 

Linnéa Rowlatt (Network on Culture)