Call for Papers: Violence and Indigenous Communities: Confronting the Past, Engaging the Present

Jeff Ostler's picture
Call for Papers
May 12, 2017 to May 13, 2017
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Canadian History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Indigenous Studies

Newberry Colloquium

D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois

May 12-13, 2017


Violence and Indigenous Communities: Confronting the Past, Engaging the Present


Studies of violence against Native peoples have typically focused narrowly on war and massacre.  These narratives often cast Indians as simple and passive victims, become trapped by stale debates about the definition of genocide, and consign violence to the safety of the past.  While recognizing the reality of war and massacre, this symposium invites paper submissions that take new approaches to the study of violence.  We particularly encourage papers that rigorously examine the nature of violence in past and present-day Native communities and explore the intersections of violence with a broad array of themes such as: 

  • Historical memories, legacies, and mythologies of violence
  • Theft and destruction of homelands and environments
  • Appropriation of fine arts and cultural heritage
  • Gendered and sexual assaults on bodies, families, and communities
  • Enslavement and captivity
  • Violence within and among Native communities

We urge our participants to address the resilience and agency of Native peoples in the face of such violence. Our hope is to secure examples and cases that help illustrate the complex nature of violent interactions both within Indigenous communities as well as with mainstream society. 

We hope that this seminar will provide a public, academic forum for new interpretations of past and present events, from a Native perspective, and we plan to publish selected papers in a volume that will be geared toward classroom teaching.  We hope to create an online repository of syllabi for faculty who teach courses in American Indian Studies, U.S. History, World History, and Genocide Studies so that all can draw from these examples when developing or revising similar courses examining violence and Indigenous communities.

Paper abstracts of 200-300 words and a one-page c.v. should be submitted by September 1, 2016 to the D’Arcy McNickle Center, Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.  Abstracts will be reviewed and all participants notified by October 1.  Accepted papers of 7,000-10,000 words should be submitted on or before April 1, 2017 and will be distributed in advance to seminar participants.  They will be presented at a scholarly colloquium on May 12-13, 2017.   Limited travel stipends will be available. Following public presentation, papers will be revised and submitted for publication review on July 1, 2017.

Symposium Coordinating Committee:

Susan Sleeper-Smith, History Department, Michigan State University

Patricia Marroquin Norby, Director, D’Arcy McNickle Center

Jeffrey Ostler, History Department, University of Oregon

Joshua Reid, History and American Indian Studies Departments, University of Washington


Please submit abstracts by September 1, 2016 to: Madeleine Krass


Sponsored by the department of history, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Contact Info: 

Jeff Ostler

Department of History

University of Oregon

Eugene, OR 97403-1288


Eugene, OR 97403-1288

Contact Email: