CFP: Mobilities and Settler Colonialism

Laura Barraclough's picture
Call for Papers
May 31, 2019
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Geography, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Indigenous Studies

Call for Papers: Mobilities and Settler Colonialism


We seek original, unpublished papers for a special journal issue on the theme of movement and mobility in relationship to settler colonialism. The special issue will be pitched to Mobilities, a leading international journal in mobility studies, in early summer 2019. At this point, we seek initial expressions of interest through the submission of abstracts; full papers will be invited upon the journal’s acceptance of the special issue.


The special issue will examine and theorize the significance of movement and mobility in the production and contestation of settler colonial geographies. We invite papers that consider the movements of diverse peoples, non-human actors, and material and non-material things under conditions of settler colonialism. Papers may address any time period or geographic context. We are especially interested in papers that draw explicitly from settler colonial studies, critical indigenous studies, ethnic studies, and mobility studies in their analytical frameworks and methodologies.


There is now a robust and rapidly growing scholarship on settler colonialism in diverse global contexts. Much of this scholarship considers the forces through which a settler society is spatially and culturally produced – for example, techniques of indigenous displacement; ideologies and practices of property; and narratives that try to justify settlers’ presence on contested land. Critical indigenous scholars, meanwhile, have documented and honored ongoing indigenous presence despite settler violence, not only through political and economic means such as land reclamation but also through vernacular landscapes and the infusion of indigeneity into everyday spatial practice. Concurrently, ethnic studies scholarship on enslaved peoples, labor migrants, and refugees has developed conceptual apparati for considering the role of racialized peoples - those that Jodi Byrd has called “arrivants” -- in the ongoing constitution and refutation of settler societies.


Questions of movement are central to all of these processes, yet engagement between mobility studies, settler colonial studies, ethnic studies, and indigenous studies has been limited. Recent scholarship in a diverse range of fields examines the settler state’s subsidization and celebration of settler mobility; restrictions on and, alternatively, compulsory movements of indigenous people; and the hyper-management of the regional mobilities of imported labor migrants and refugees. Other work in fields such as environmental studies, geography, museum studies and public history analyzes the (often coerced) movement of non-human animals, material goods, and environmental flows. Witness, for example, the contemporary repatriation of Native spiritual and cultural items from museums to tribal nations or analyses of how the building/removal of dams has implicated multiple displacements and ecological subjugations. At the same time, settler mobilities have not always succeeded. Rather, they have been met by subversive mobilities, such as resistant acts along colonial trails, claims for the right to mobility by non-white migrants recruited for their labor, refusal by plants and animals to abide the militarized boundaries of the settler state, and the unfolding ontologies of movement and spatiality which mark current Native life.


This special issue proposes to bring these analyses more fully into conversation through empirical examinations that consider movement and mobility as central animating logics in the production and contestation of settler colonialism. Collectively, the papers will ask: What are the relationships between mobility, race, and indigeneity, in settler colonial societies? How are the movements of people, animals, commodities, ideas, and practices related to the ongoing making and unmaking of settler societies? How are these various movements narrated and contested in the cultural products and practices of settler states, of those implicated by settlement? What possibilities for decolonization and the full exercise of sovereignty, cultural revitalization, and racial justice might exist if we take past, present, and future mobilities as our starting point?


Please submit a working title, a 200-word abstract, and 5 to 7 keywords to by Friday, May 31, 2019. Also please submit a short author biography (100 words max) as well as your full CV. Authors will be notified by June 15 if their abstract has been selected for inclusion in the initial proposal to the journal; deadlines for the submission of full manuscripts will be determined shortly after the special issue is accepted. Full manuscripts will be approximately 8,000-10,000 words, including all tables, references, figure captions, footnotes, and endnotes, and will undergo a full peer-review process. Opportunities may ultimately exist for including digital media content (e.g., a video abstract) with your paper.


The journal issue will be guest-edited by Genevieve Carpio (UCLA), Natchee Blu Barnd (Oregon State University), and Laura Barraclough (Yale University). Questions may be directed to us collectively at this same email address:


Contact Info: 

Genevieve Carpio, Natchee Blu Barnd, and Laura Barraclough at: